Stillwater News Press


June 24, 2013

Ralph William “Bill” Altman

Ralph William “Bill” Altman, 93, of Stillwater passed away on June 23, 2013, in Guthrie.   

Services have been entrusted to the care of Palmer Marler Funeral Home and a graveside service for family and friends will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday at Fairlawn Cemetery in Stillwater.  Public visitation will be held at the funeral home from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Bill was born on Dec. 25, 1919, in Thomas to Jacob Franklin Pierce and Hattie Idella (Combs) Altman. He grew up and attended school in Thomas, graduating from Thomas High School in 1937. He then continued his education with a doctorate degree from Oklahoma State University. In 1942, he entered into the United State Army Air Corp and proudly served our country as a radio operator and aerial photographer stationed in Italy during World War II.  While in the Army he received the Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Ribbon, World War II Victory Ribbon, Distinguished Unit Badge and the Theater Ribbon with one silver service star and two bronze service stars.  

Upon his honorable discharge from the military, he returned to Oklahoma. In 1949, he married Letha Mae Funkhouser in Hobart.  Together they celebrated 48 years together before Letha’s passing in 1998. Bill was employed for several years as a park ranger in Glacier National Park in Montana. Bill accepted a position at Oklahoma State University in 1958 and retired in 1986 as an extension wildlife specialist with the OSU Forestry Department.  He was a member of the Izaak Walton League, Oklahoma & National Outdoor Writers Association, Stillwater Noon Lions Club and a member of Stillwater Rotary Club. He spent many years teaching 4-H camps and he trained thousands of children how to hunt and fish.  He loved his OSU Cowboys and has been an Oklahoma State football season ticket holder for over 60 years.

Bill was an intelligent man with a wonderful sense of humor.  He was generous, outgoing, and he never met a stranger.  He enjoyed gardening, woodworking and studying his family’s history and genealogy.  He prioritized time with his family and always treated his in-laws like his own children. Most of all, he loved hunting and fishing with his children and grandchildren. Altman was a good man who enjoyed life.  He will be missed by all who knew him, but his legacy of kindness and compassion will live on through the lives of his family and all the students he impacted during his amazing 93 years of life.

Bill is survived by his five sons, David Altman and his wife, Joyce, Bill Altman and his wife, Debbie, Ron Altman and his wife, Cyndi, Steve Altman and his wife, Brigitte, and Mike Altman and his wife, Liz; one daughter, April Prilliman and her husband, Dan; 12 grandchildren, Chris, Jared, Eric, Taylor, Stevie, Ryan, Chelsea, Jesse, Adrienne, Katlynn, Benjamin and Nicholas; one great-grandchild, Keegan and former daughter-in-law Terrie Altman.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Letha Altman; his parents, Jacob and Hattie Altman; two brothers, Ray and Kit Altman and one sister, Allie Altman Rigsby

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Bill’s name to the American Cancer Society or the American Diabetes Association in care of Palmer Marler Funeral home 5106 N Washington, Stillwater, OK 74075

Condolences may be sent to the family via an online guest book at or on facebook at

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