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Dr. Ralph O. David


Dr. Ralph O. David of Pittsburg, Kansas passed away after a brief illness on June 4, 2023, at the age of 90, with his two daughters by his side.

The youngest of three children, Ralph was born in Rural Fort Scott, KS on November 30, 1932, to Helen Roberts David and Charles David. He attended the first seven years of his education in a one-room schoolhouse outside of Fort Scott, later graduating from Fort Scott High School in 1950. He worked at Western Insurance Company until joining the Army in 1953 during the Korean War. He served for two years before he was honorably discharged and returned home to Fort Scott. He started attending Fort Scott Community College on the GI Bill and then went on to get his bachelor's and master's degrees at Kansas State Teachers College (now Pittsburg State University). He began his career teaching history and sociology at Chanute High School and Junior College in 1959. He joined the faculty of Pittsburg State University in 1965 and taught in the social science department for thirty-four years until his retirement in May of 1999. During his teaching career at PSU, he earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Arkansas. He kept long-lasting friendships with many colleagues and former students. He was married to Mariann Staton from 1966 to 1995. From that marriage, they had two daughters, Jennifer and Rebecca David. He also became a stepfather and helped raise Ed and Kurt Brinkmeyer. He later married Madrienne Herlocker in February of 1997. They were married for ten years, and even after their divorce, they stayed close friends and companions. 

Dr. David loved teaching, but loved being a father and grandfather even more. He was a loving and supportive father, and was very active in his daughters' lives as they were growing up, whether it be coaching their softball teams, helping with homework, always on call to fix their cars, or helping them move. He was the go-to for everything. He always had time to listen and would find a solution to every problem. He was a proud grandfather "Papa," and would be seen at every band concert, choir performance, and theater production his grandkids were in. He never missed a single Grandparents Day at school. When the children were younger, he was often on the floor playing with them. He made funny cartoon books that they always looked forward to receiving. He enjoyed spending time with family, working on his yard, following current events, and dining out. Ralph could be seen several times a week at the Mall Deli. He also loved Pitt State sports. He could be seen at every home Pitt State football game with his daughter Jenny, and he rarely missed a Pitt State women's basketball game. He will be greatly missed by many.

He is survived by his two daughters, Jennifer Ortolani (James) of Pittsburg, KS, and Rebecca Wills (Corey) of Topeka, KS; his sister Lucille Goltra of Fort Scott, KS; his grandchildren: Andrew Ortolani, Josh Ortolani, Ashlyn Wills, Ben Wills, Alisha O'Toole, Jill Brinkmeyer, Sierra Schupbach, and Skyler Schupbach; his extended family: Kurt Brinkmeyer (Linda), and Kevan Schupbach (Mindi), and many nieces and nephews that were very special to him.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Maxine Brown Foote, and former wife, Madrienne Herlocker.

Visitation will be held Thursday, June 8, 2023, from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Brenner Mortuary in Pittsburg. The funeral service will be on Friday, June 9, 2023, at 11:30 am at the Brenner Mortuary, Pittsburg, KS. Burial will take place at 1:30 pm at the Fort Scott National Cemetery. Memorial donations can be made to the Pittsburg State University Foundation. Arrangements are under the direction of the Brenner Mortuary, 114 E 4th Street, Pittsburg, KS.