William G. (Bill) Maddux, 88, passed from this life on Sept. 29, 2012. The heart that had touched, affected and loved so many people beat its last beat.
A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 at 2:00 PM at the First United Methodist Church in Stillwater followed by interment at Sunset Memorial Gardens. Strode Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Visation will be held at Strode Funeral Home Friday, Oct. 5th at 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Bill was born in Fort Smith, Ark., on Aug. 15, 1924 to Dewey Denver and Etta Ellen (Tiffee) Maddux of LeFlore, Okla.
He lived his early years in Oklahoma City, Okla., where his father owned two successful drug stores. A third drug store was ready to open when the depression forced him to sell all three stores and move the family back to LeFlore, Okla., in the backwoods of Southeastern Okla.
Bill spent some of the happiest years of his early life in LeFlore, where he enjoyed hunting and fishing in the beauty of the Kiamichi Mountains. It was there that he developed his love of fishing that would last throughout his life.
In 1941, the family moved to Stillwater, Okla., and Bill graduated with the Stillwater High School Class of ’42. With the outbreak of WWII, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy, where he spent most of the war in the South Pacific aboard the U.S.S. Argonne. He was home on leave, celebrating his birthday on Aug. 15, 1945, when news that the Japanese had surrendered came across the radio.
After receiving his discharge from the Navy, Bill returned to Stillwater and enrolled at OSU. While attending OSU, he met Wanda Lee Ringwald and they married on March 25, 1949.
Bill joined the Stillwater Fire Department in 1950. He always found it amusing that his first shift at the Fire Department was on Halloween night, making for an interesting introduction to the Fire Services. He was appointed Stillwater Fire Chief on Nov. 22, 1963 and served as Fire Chief until his retirement in 1971. Some of his proudest accomplishments as Fire Chief were the construction of the new Headquarters Fire Station on South Main, the purchase of several new trucks, including the city’s first 100 foot ladder truck, being chosen President of the Oklahoma State Firefighters’ Association where he lobbied for the completion of the Oklahoma State Firefighter’s Museum in Oklahoma City, and his appointment to the Governor’s Advisory Board to prevent legislators from tapping the State Firefighters’ Pension Fund.
After his retirement from the Fire Department, Bill was hired as the National Sales Manager for the Modular Ambulance Company, based in Dallas, Texas. He delivered ambulances to television and movie studios on the East and West coasts, where the new ambulances were in demand because they were the first to be large enough to film scenes from inside. While he loved the job, the travel and making new friends all over the country, he felt like he needed to spend more time at home with four children either in or almost ready for college.
Bill returned to Stillwater and went to work at the Lee Co. in their commercial windows and doors division. He always enjoyed learning about new products and interacting with local builders and contractors. He worked at the Lee Co. until he decided that it was time to try a real retirement.
Bill was active in several social/service organizations. He was proud that he had kept a long family tradition of attaining his 32nd Degree in the Masonic Lodge. He was also a 50 year member of the American Legion and an active member of the Stillwater Retired Firefighters’ Association.
Even more than his own activities, he enjoyed assisting in the activities of his four children. As the children grew older, he progressed from Brownies and Cub Scouts to Girl and Boy Scouts, serving in leadership and advisory positions. The knowledge he accumulated growing up in the Kiamichi Mountains proved invaluable in helping both of his sons to attain the rank of Eagle Scout.
While raising four children at home, Bill managed to advise, mentor and otherwise help many friends of his children. Some came from troubled homes, some were abused, and some just needed an adult to help talk through problems. Many of them still call and come by to visit when they are in town.
Bill was declared legally blind in 1984 and even managed to turn that challenge into a positive experience. After years of dealing with the V. A. and several state agencies for the blind, he put that knowledge and experience to use by co-founding, in 2008, The Stillwater Vision Support Group. People who were blind, or going blind, could attend the meetings to learn about equipment, programs and state and national agencies which were available to assist the blind.
Bill and Wanda have enjoyed their retirement years visiting their children and grand-children and taking several trips and cruises with their children, always incorporating Bill’s favorite mode of transportation, the train, whenever possible. Most of their spare time has been spent maintaining the beautiful lawn and flower gardens around their home.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Dewena Powell, and his youngest child, Jane Evalen Maddux.
Bill is survived by his wife of 63 years, Wanda, of Stillwater, son Bill II and wife Merrye Ann of Willis, Texas, son Denver of Lafayette, Colo., and daughter Carol and husband Jack Hall of Arlington, Texas.
He will be greatly missed by his grandchildren: Beegee (William III) Maddux and wife Becca of Arlington, Texas, Geoff Maddux and wife Jaymie of Fort Worth, Texas, Justin Maddux of Denver, Colo., Moriah Maddux of Stillwater, Okla., Grant Maddux of Stillwater, Okla., and Kacee Hall of Dallas, Texas, and his great grandchildren: Kristopher and Samuel Maddux of Fort Worth, Texas, and Kirstin Hancock and Will (William IV) Maddux of Arlington, Texas.
His love and friendship will also be missed by his large extended family and a multitude of friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Charles Anaya Scholarship Fund for the education of deserving children of Stillwater Firefighters.
Donations should be sent to Strode Funeral Home in honor of Bill Maddux.
Condolences may be emailed and an online obituary may be viewed by visiting www.strodefh.com.