Dr. Edwin E. Vineyard, a giant of Oklahoma higher education and a longtime contributor to The Oklahoma Observer, died at his Enid, OK home last night after a lengthy illness. He was 86.
The self-styled Militant Moderate was an intellectual of uncommon common sense, whose thoughtful essays on government and politics shone brightly in a digital age dominated by vitriolic prose, sophomoric argument and demagoguery.
Vineyard was appointed the 11th president of Northern Oklahoma College in 1965, serving for 25 years during which he is credited with revitalizing the Tonkawa-based school.
He earned his doctorate from Oklahoma State University in 1955, and was a faculty member and administrator at Oklahoma Panhandle State University and Southwestern Oklahoma State University before returning to OSU in 1961 as professor of education and director of graduate studies in the College of Education.
Vineyard authored two textbooks and numerous scholarly articles. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 1994.
His final Observer essay – Save Us From The Fools – was posted July 28, 2011 at http://www.okobserver.net/2011/07/28/save-us-from-the-fools/. It also will be reprinted in the Oct. 10 Observer.
When he submitted it, Dr. Vineyard warned us he was not feeling well, adding doctors had been unable to pinpoint the problem. But he was compelled to write, he said, by the debate over the debt ceiling that threatened irreparable harm to the nation he loved – and served in uniform.
“This is difficult to write,” he noted. “We feel completely inadequate verbally in expressing our utter disdain and disgust for those extremist Republicans who have rendered dysfunctional our great experiment with democracy, one that managed to govern through some awfully bad historic times and emerged for them to render impotent if not destroy now.
“These politically insane people have driven the country to exhaustion with their bickering, their rudeness, and the fiscal ideas and products of wantonly warped minds. They put nothing into true perspective, but they fit all things into their own warp of significance.
“The nation faces ruin while they fiddle. The nation also faces international disgrace and dishonor, while they merrily dance around the pole with their colored ribbons and their own music. Of course, they do not understand dishonor and disgrace of not paying the bills.
“Some of us served and suffered through long and bitter wars to preserve the honor of this nation. We resent having that national honor dumped as silage under cleft hoofs with bovine minds.”
Among Dr. Vineyard’s survivors are his wife, Imogene [shown together in the above photo, answering phones at an Oklahoma Educational Television Authority pledge drive], his son Ed, and a legion of loyal Observer readers who relied on his insightful essays to make sense of an increasingly complex world.
More details will be posted later.
UPDATE AT 11:00 P.M. OCT 4, 2012
The Enid News-Eagle reports there will be no public funeral for Dr. Vineyard – just a family only burial at Red Oak Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Northern Oklahoma College Foundation in care of the Edwin E. Vineyard Scholarship.
UPDATE AT 11:15 P.M. OCT 4, 2012
A public viewing is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 6 at Waldrop Funeral Home in Wilburton, OK from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.