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February 27, 2004

Dave Muir Sr. was a true gentle man
Dave Muir Sr., who dies last week after some arduous health problems, was what I would call a real gentle man. That's two words, but I would not argue with anybody who chose to use the single word "gentleman" as an adjective. He generally had a courtly, polite manner in his speech and behavior, and he was tolerant of those who disagreed with him. Dave had strong, positive ideas about the democratic form of government, the American way in general and he worked hard to support those who shared his philosophy. Along with all that, he had an even temper and usually produced an easy smile in conversation.

For years Dave had a popular grocery store in a compact area known as Crown Heights on the north side of Oklahoma City. With his wife, Thelma, he acquired a weekend home in rural Noble County. He had a Presbyterian background and he supported the local church's involvement with charitable programs with cartons of vegetables, canned food and fruit from his Oklahoma City store until he retired. Then he moved up this way permanently and soon became a member of the local Presbyterian church. There he served faithfully in various offices but always on the lookout for ways to serve his fellow man, particularly those in developing countries. He was a familiar figure here doing shopping or just making price comparisons in local stores.

Personally, I will always remember a surprise birthday party Thelma had for him one year at their home south of Perry. Leading off was a Kiltie band from Oklahoma City wearing authentic Scottish outfits and playing bagpipes in the yard along with a bass drummer who was a real showman all by himself. Then the natural hospitality of Dave and his wife became very evident, and it was good to meet some of their family members. Dave Jr. was still living in Perry at that time, and I also met a neighbor of the Muirs when they lived in Oklahoma City. His name was Tenal Cooley, and I met him during World War II Army service at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y. Dave knew him as a friendly neighbor.

Dave left us last weekend, but he already had made his mark on this community and he will be missed. Our condolences to Thelma and the family.