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Charles McIntyre Shares Story of a Lifetime of Helping People

by JUDY ALLEN

Charles "Beaver" McIntyre, 83, grew up around Hugo, Oklahoma. He came from a low-income family, so he worked at a young age to help earn money.

Jobs he had as a youth included working at the Cotton Club west of Hugo as a dishwasher starting when he was in fourth grade.

He cleaned up at the end of the night on weekends.

He said he walked home across the railroad tracks. If boxcars were there, he waited on the cook, Melvin, who checked things out to make sure no one was hiding in the cars.

Charles also picked up aluminum, brass and copper to sell. "I even picked up bones and sold them.

"I worked at Johnny Steel's Dairy and at the Bowling Pin downtown Hugo. We had to set up the pins by hand back then.

"I harvested corn, picked and chopped cotton, baled hay. I worked for 75 cents a day. I got a job working at the PepsiCola Bottling Company for 25 cents an hour and thought I was doing great.

"I always did a lot of reading. At the drugstore I would get a Daily Oklahoman for a nickel and read about sports and the war,"McIntyre said.

After graduating high school, Charles attended Murray State College for two years.

"Then someone put a bug in Oklahoma Presbyterian College President Amy Robinson's ear in 1952 that a poor Indian boy needed an education. So, I was the first male to attend OPC," said McIntyre.

"I didn't readily agree, but she kept encouraging. At first, I took Bible classes there and took my regular classes at Southeastern and the next year other males attended at OPC."

Gwen, Charles; wife, said "He knew he had a scholarship to go to Murray after high school. He came from a poor family who didn't encourage him. He was still at home when it was time to be at school."

Charles laughed, "We were taught to respect our teachers and elders. I was asked by one of my high school teachers why wasn't I at Murray, when the football players are already working out? I responded, 'I am just wanting to get some things done.' You get up there! My teacher told me. I went that next day."

Charles and Gwen have been married 62 years. They met at OPC, and went to a softball game on their first date.

"I liked her smile," said Charles. "There is an old Perry Como song, once you have found her, never let her go."

Charles has fond memories of his time at OPC and SOSU.

"The main cook was Mrs. Trout. I was in football at SOSU and needed more to eat, so the cooks were really good to me. My room at OPC was on the bottom floor next to the cooks."

Charles was drafted into the U.S. Army and after two years went back to OPC.

He remained active in National Guard and Army Reserves.

"Bloomer Sullivan was the Director of the Athletic Department at SOSU while I was at college there. Dave Stevens and Pudgy Bowers were also in the Athletic Department," said Charles.

"I was fortunate to be co-captain of the football team with Bill McClain from Oklahoma City."

Charles realized that he was very blessed to have received the benefits of a college education and football training through the generosity and caring of others.

He was determined to help other youth, so he wanted to teach and coach.

Charles said, "Part of my 50 years in an education career was on the Hopi reservation, although most of my time was on the Navajo reservation.

"I spent time teaching in public schools and also reservation schools.

"One of the people I taught while in Gallup took a position with Thiokol Chemical Company and presented a vocational training sponsored by the BIA and the chemical company.

"One of the career trainings was a Police Training, and the Director of Programs called and asked that I take the position of Manager of the National Indian Police Academy.

"Cadets traveled from all across the United States to attend.

"Each class averaged about 34 students. We learned plaster casting, fingerprinting, how to make arrests, etc."

McIntyre said, "Most of the work was social work. The schools taught the importance of being honest, listening to teachers. It was a lot of public relations.

"I finally came back to Oklahoma at the request of Choctaw Chief Jimmy Belvin to run the Choctaw Nation Housing.

"I ran Housing about eight years. We built our fair share of homes, all over the 10½ counties.

"And there was $3.2 million in a nest egg when I left Housing. After Hollis Roberts became Chief, I went back to New Mexico to teach."

Charles continued, "In the 50 years I was teaching, most of the time I was also coaching.

"The years I played took a toll on me-that may be why my knees have been replaced and why my shoulder gives me trouble."

According to Charles, his favorite place to teach was Gallup High School.

"It is a public school, but is close to the Navajo reservation," said Charles.

"About 60 percent of the students were native. A mix of Zuni, Hopi, Apache and Navajo.

"Another 30 percent were Hispanic. The rest were a mix of Italian and Anglo."

While on active duty at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, every morning, Charles enjoyed being on Flag Duty.

"Four of us would march up to the Post Headquarters and put the flag up the pole on a chain and every afternoon we would bring it down and fold it and put it to rest overnight at the MP Headquarters.

"One time, one of my officers said 'McIntyre, you are handling that flag as if it were a little baby.'"

Charles said the flag was very important to him and deserved to be handled as if it were as precious as a baby.

"I have always believed in community services. At OPC during the holidays we would get together, collect clothes and food and deliver to needy families.

"Always being poor myself, I was always for the little man," said Charles.

"A message I would like to leave for the next generation is 'Be true to yourself and family and your country. Stay hooked-don't deviate from what you strongly believe in,'" said McIntyre.

"One of our schools in the BIA system had a motto, 'make our schools a sacred place for children.'

"I always liked that and it has stuck with me," said Charles.

"Now I spend a lot of time picking up aluminum cans on behalf of my grandson, who is an autistic 5-year-old.

"I sell the cans at the recycling center and the money goes to his education fund. I enjoy making an effort for the youngster," McIntyre said.

When asked if there was anything he would have done differently in his illustrious life, McIntyre stated, "Maybe take more advantage of opportunities and I would have worked harder."

He went on to say, "Everything has been very good. I love the United States of America and the Choctaw Tribe."

History 2018

 
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