Tribute for Mary Ruth McCulley | Schooler Funeral Home
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Mary Ruth McCulley

September 17, 1920 ~ October 27, 2018 (age 98)

Mary Ruth McCulley, 98 of Amarillo died October 27, 2018.

Memorial services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at First Baptist Church Chapel. Arrangements are by Schooler Funeral Home.  

Mary Ruth McCulley was born in Van Alstyne, Texas. She lived in Oklahoma most of her younger years, receiving the B.A. degree in English and Music from Southwestern Oklahoma State College. Her teaching career began in the public schools of Clinton and El Reno before moving to Norman to enter the University of Oklahoma, completing the B.M. and M.M.E. degrees. She moved to Amarillo in 1953. Shortly thereafter she was appointed Organist of Polk Street United Methodist Church while teaching Organ at Amarillo College and the keyboard studios of Jenkins Music Company.

In 1955 McCulley was invited to open an Organ division in the Music Department of West Texas State College and in the following year began full-time work with the addition of Music Education courses. The next years provided opportunities for post-graduate studies at Colorado University, Westminster Choir College and Dallas Baptist University overseas research and travel.

McCulley served as the first sponsor of Alpha Nu Chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon, chartered in 1960, continuing in that position until 1980. Later she was featured in the fraternity’s official journal, The Triangle as The Pride of Mu Phi Epsilon.

Campus responsibilities included two terms on the University Organized Research Committee, Teacher Education and Faculty Excellence Committees, director of theses, named as consultant for Holt and Rinehart’s EXPLORING MUSIC series and the Juilliard Repertory Project. She was a recipient of a grant to research Music for the Slow Learner.

During her time at WTAMU five pipe organs were added to the Music Department, the last two being in Northen’s teaching studio and concert hall. She was given the rank of Associate Professor in 1980 and opted for part-time teaching in 1984 until retirement in 1989. In 1992 she was named Professor Emeritus and in 1994 – Organist Emeritus by Polk Street United Methodist Church.

McCulley was named Teacher of the Year by Amarillo Music Teachers Association in 1984 and has received nominations for Golden Nail Award. Professional affiliations have included American Guild of Organists, Mu Phi Epsilon, Pi Kappa Lambda, Texas Association of College Teachers, and Kappa Delta Pi.

In early 2011 the WTAMU Department of Music presented the annual Faculty Grand Recital at Polk Street United Methodist Church. The event was given in honor of McCulley and established a Keyboard Scholarship in her name.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Rev. and Mrs. J.W. McCulley of Canyon, TX, her two brothers, Murray McCulley, Anaheim, CA and Dr. Andrew McCulley, Floydada, TX; spouses of the brothers, Geneva McCulley, Thousand Oaks, CA, Jane McCulley, Floydada, TX, and her niece Elaine Lang, Ft. Collins, CO. She is survived by her nephews Robert McCulley and his wife Donna of Hemet, CA, David McCulley and his wife Connie of Lubbock, TX, nephew-in-law Jon Lang, Lee’s Summit, MO, and nieces Nan Shirley and Laura McCulley, both of Dublin, OH.

Family will receive friends 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 30th at Schooler Funeral Home.

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