Richard Killgore honored as Champion of Character for "Generosity."

Emoly Walters, Richard Killgore, and Pam Merrill

A Heart of Love

The Character Council of Edmond presented Richard Killgore as Champion of Character for Generosity before the Edmond City Council during February’s meeting. Colleague and friend Pam Merrill said when she nominated Mr. Killgore, “Through his life-long involvement in faith-based programs and public education, Richard has served as a role model and inspiration to thousands of young adults and young educators.”

Mr. Killgore said, “I’ve always believed that, The only true gift is a portion of thyself.” referring to a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. “I find I am a happier person doing something for someone else than I am doing the same thing for myself.”  He found ways to give of himself by volunteering through his church and the public schools.

Mr. Killgore grew up in the Oklahoma City area and attended Northwest Classen High School and then went to Northwestern University. He taught for forty-two years in the Oklahoma City Public Schools. Twenty-five of those years he taught at John Marshall. He also taught at See Worth Academy Charter School, where his wife, Lou Ann, still teaches.

He credited his family for nurturing generosity in his life through their examples. His maternal grandmother served as a Red Cross director in Oklahoma. He remembers her receiving calls from people seeking her help with their needs. It didn’t matter the time of day or night she was willing to help.

He said, “There is no doubt the way that my mom and dad treated each other and the way they treated my brother and I … they were just generous.” They gave to their church, but they also saw ways they could help others in everyday life. Even when finances were tight, he said it wasn’t unusual to hear them ask, “What can I do to help you?”

Mr. Killgore said another side of generosity is the ability to receive from others. One period of time, his parents had one automobile. When his dad had the car, his mom and the two boys would depend on others when they needed transportation. He learned to receive the help of others by observing his parent’s example.

Sometimes people who are generous find it difficult to balance their time giving to others with family life. Mr. Killgore didn’t see a conflict. Both he and his wife both volunteered a lot. While their children were growing up, volunteering was a family affair. When teaching at John Marshall, Killgore was involved with Young Life and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). The family went on ski trips with the FCA kids. While Killgore coached wrestling at Northwest, his sons also wrestled. As his family influenced him with their generosity, he and his wife were examples to their children.

Ms. Merrill shared Killgore’s oldest son’s Facebook post from last Father’s Day, “I had the blessed childhood of watching my hero from the sidelines. He taught me the perseverance that breeds success, the fearlessness that bears courage, and the humility that a true leader possesses. From his wit or his love for serving others, he taught me to be a better man and to love God.”

After retiring Mr. Killgore participated in Northwest’s Alumni Association, looking for ways to benefit the school financially. They raised funds to make it possible to provide a nice auditorium and bring in theatrical acts. They use the revenue from the performances to provide scholarships. Upcoming events include the Masters of Soul, March 25th and Arlo Guthrie, May 16th.

Through the Young Living Alliance volunteers look for scholarship money to help the kids at Northwest Classen attend summer camps.  The summer camps are expensive and most of the kids wouldn’t be able to attend without help. Last summer, Mr. Killgore and six others rode their bicycles from Santa Monica, CA to Yorktown, VA to raise money for a scholarship endowment. Their goal was to reach a million dollars so that scholarships are funded each year without having to go look for it.

Mr. Killgore also volunteers at Whitefield, a boy’s home. The kids all receive bikes when they go to Whitefield. Mr. Killgore and other volunteers teach them how to ride and maintain their bicycles. During the winter, they teach them kayaking. At the end of the sessions they do something special to show off their skills. Last year they took the boys to the Stinchcomb River and they paddled for seven or eight miles.

Through another group called, Rally4Schools, he and others work with Christian organizations to connect kids attending public schools with mentors from the community. They encourage groups to adopt a team and provide help anyway they can.  As Mr. Killgore puts it, their intention is “to rally for the kids and schools.”

Mr. Killgore wondered why Ms. Merrill chose him to nominate for generosity. In her words, “Richard is a humble man whose actions speak louder than words. His quiet and unassuming leadership is seen in every aspect of his life, both personal and public.”  

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