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Ed Apple won the nomination as the 2020 Founder’s Day King.

Known as a pillar in the City of Duncan, longtime community leader Ed Apple passed away at his home on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, following a long illness. 

Apple, who served as corporation commissioner and Oklahoma Representative, received numerous accolades in his 87 years, as well as the love and respect from community members making up the greater Duncan area.

Apple, alongside his wife Betty and close friend, Jimmy Jones, took home the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Duncan Chamber of Commerce in 2015.

Apple’s accomplishments included becoming a Liberty Bell Award winner, earning a Business Degree from the University of Oklahoma, serving as a Fighter Pilot in the United States Marine Corps, working as a Manager of Haggar Clothing Factory (1966), helping to organize and establish the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation, serving as the Former Chairman of the Stephens County Republican Party, initiating the first Leadership Duncan class, earning Boss of the Year with Duncan Jaycees, earning Man of the Year with Duncan Chamber of Commerce, working as the Oklahoma Corporation Commission Chairman and earning the Lifetime Achievement Award from Duncan Chamber of Commerce. Apple also donated a kidney to a childhood friend who needed a transplant.

Apple, crowned as Founder’s Day King this June following a nomination from Kreg Murphree, was known for being politically-geared.

In a 2008 interview with “Influence - a journal for a generation,” Apple said: “I think we often have the desire to promise more than we should. The best thing an elected official can do is see the current constitutions, statutes and rules in practice are carried out fairly.”

During his 2020 Founder’s Day King crowning ceremony, Apple said he once learned from his neighbor and professor at OU that “before you ever decide what you want to do, stop doing what you don’t want to do.”

Known as a man of “honor and dignity” Apple also told "Influence" “I am as flawed as any other man on the face of this Earth. I have prejudices, I have biases, I have weaknesses. But I do the best with what I’ve got. I wouldn’t change lives with anybody.”

Other qualities of Apple focused around being a family and community oriented man.

As quoted in 2008’s edition of “Influence” Apple said, “Our life has been fulfilled by family, friends and community. I am a gratified and contented person.”

In his Founder’s Day interview this year, Apple again commented on how much he loved Duncan.

“There is not a community in the entire United States that could have offered Betty and me the quality of life and opportunity to be part of a community (like) Duncan, Oklahoma,” Apple said. “The right size, the right kind of character, right kind of leadership, the right kind of acceptance — it has made my life complete.”

After the announcement of Ed Apple’s passing, community members began pouring out love for Apple and his wife, Betty as well as their children Alyson Lynn and Leigh Anne and their grandchildren.

Comments about Apple’s passing included “I don’t think I ever met anybody that loved Duncan, Oklahoma as much as he did,” as well as “Duncan has lost a wonderful citizen and leader.”

Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan, said Apple served as a mentor, counselor and friend to him.

“Ed served in the House of Representatives, ran for Congress and served as Corporation Commissioner,” McEntire said. “He lived a life of service and always seemed to push forward in whatever he was doing.”

McEntire said when he was in high school, he remembered watching Apple exercise daily by running or walking up and down Country Club Road.

“Out of perhaps a little orneriness, I would honk at him almost every morning,” McEntire said. “He would simply push forward and hold up his arm to wave; he never missed a step. That was who Ed was to me — determined and always pushing toward a goal. Ed will be missed. Godspeed, Ed. Our condolences to Betty and the entire Apple family.”

Congressman Tom Cole also mourned the loss of Apple.

“I was saddened to learn of the passing of my good friend and a great Oklahoman, Ed Apple,” Cole said. “Ed was an amazing man — a Marine fighter pilot, a successful businessman, an impressive civic and political leader and a loving husband and family man. 

“I first met Ed in 1986 when I was Republican State Chairman, and he was running for State Representative," Cole said. "Most people thought a Republican couldn’t win solidly Democratic Duncan in that era. But win he did. When he did, he became the only elected Republican south of Moore in the entire state of Oklahoma.

“Ed went on to have an amazing public career," Cole said. "After eight distinguished years in the state House, he nearly won a congressional seat in 1994. In 1995, newly elected Governor Frank Keating appointed Ed to the Corporation Commission. He went on to be elected in his own right. He was an outstanding public servant. I extend my sincerest sympathies to Ed’s loving wife Betty and his wonderful children and grandchildren. Ed will be missed as a leader, a public servant, a friend to all who knew him and a devoted husband, father and grandfather who loved and cherished his family and friends above all else.”

A celebration of Apple’s life is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, at the First United Methodist Church in Duncan. Live streaming of the service is available at http://www.duncanfumc.org/fumc_live

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Longtime community leader Ed Apple passed away at his home on Friday following a long illness. Details for a celebration of his life are incomplete.

This story is developing and The Banner will publish more information as it becomes available.

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