Oliver Isom, 80, Derby, passed away July 17, 2014
Oliver W. “Ollie” Isom, 80, of Derby and formerly of El Dorado, passed away on Thursday, July 17, 2014 in Derby.
Family will receive relatives and friends from 4-8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 23, at Carlson Funeral Home, El Dorado. Celebration of his life will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 24, 2014, at First Baptist Church in El Dorado. Interment will take place at 3 p.m. that afternoon in Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Bentley, Kan.
Ollie was born on Dec. 8, 1933 in Lebanon, Kan., the son of Clare and Mabelle (Manely) Isom. He graduated from Lebanon High School in 1952 and was a member of the 1950 undefeated Lebanon High School football team. He went on and graduated from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan., receiving his bachelor’s degree in History in 1956 and his Masters in 1959, also in History.
He was united in marriage to Gaylene Owens on Aug. 18, 1956 in Bentley, Kan. They first made their home in Menlo, Kan., where Ollie taught at Menlo High School from 1956-1960, then teaching History at Hastings High School in Hastings, Neb. from 1960 to 1966. He received the State of Nebraska Social Studies Teacher of the Year in 1964. In 1966 he and Gay moved to El Dorado, where he became a professor at Butler Community College from 1966 to 1996. While at BCC he taught American History and Western Civilization; developed the Economics program; was the Chair of Social Science Department for several years; and received the Master Teacher of the year in 1990.
While teaching at the high schools and college, Ollie was involved in the sports programs. At Menlo HS he was involved in all sports; in Hastings he coached Jr. High football and basketball. During this time as coach he had undefeated 8th and 9th grade basketball teams. He also coached high school basketball and track. He also stayed active in the sports program at BBC becoming the football assistant coach in 1966. In the fall of 1967 he started the cross country program, where he had 8 top ten finishes including the 1970 National Championship; 15 All-Americans, then started the women’s cross country team in 1980. Ollie retired from coaching cross country in 1982. His track career included being assistant coach from 1968-1983; head coach for one year and had over 100 All-Americans in indoor and outdoor track.
If you were involved with track then you more than likely saw Ollie on the track or the field, as he officiated the Kansas State Track meet for 40 years; was a track starter for 20 years and was inducted into the NJCAA Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame in 1984. He also enjoyed being part of the church choir and the Life Enrichment group, traveling, gardening and delivering Meals on Wheels.
He is survived by: his son, Mark Isom and wife Sandra of Inman, Kan.; his daughter, Melicia Yette and husband Chris of Derby; brother, Arden Isom of Ogallala, Neb.; grandchildren, Megan and husband David, Savannah and husband William, Kaley, Nathan and Daniel; great grandsons, Ryder Wedmen and Hudson Frazier.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 53 years, Gay on Oct. 7, 2009 and sister, Winifred McConnell.
Memorials have been established with First Baptist Church or the Gay and Ollie Isom Butler Track/Cross Country Scholarship Foundation. These may be left with Carlson Funeral Home which is in charge of the arrangements. Condolences for the family may be sent to www.carlsoncolonial.com.