Clyde H. Chisum
ODESSA — Clyde H. Chisum, age 80, of Odessa, went home to be with the
Lord on July 16, 2004.
Clyde was born on June 2, 1924, in Texas City, Texas, to Claude C. and
Mavyce Belle Chisum, their firstborn son, or “Sonny” as his mother
Prior to his first birthday, the Chisum family moved to Non, Okla., the
place Clyde called home. After graduation from Gerty High School in
Oklahoma, Clyde joined the U.S. Air Force and served his country from
1942-1945 during World War II. He was a glider mechanic stationed in
England and France.
As a lover of learning, Clyde began his college education at the
University of Oklahoma. He earned his B.A. Degree in Geology from
Oklahoma City University. He returned to OU and obtained his Master’s
Degree in Education. He was a lifelong Sooner. He did further graduate
work in education through the University of Texas and Northern Illinois
An avid and competent educator, Clyde’s professional career began as a
high school science teacher in Oklahoma City. He moved to Odessa in 1953
as a geology instructor at Odessa College. He was active in bringing the
science of geology to elementary school students in Odessa and took
semester filed trips with his college students to Big Bend National
Park. During his 18-year stay at OC, Clyde served as Evening College
Dean and as College Dean. He was named as the third President of Odessa
College in February of 1970. Many knew him as Dean Chisum, or simply
After his tenure at Odessa College, Clyde married his wife Reba and her
two children on Oct. 8, 1971, and moved to Naperville, Ill., to assume
an Assistant Dean position at Triton College in River Grove, Ill. He
retired as Dean of University Transfer Studies at Triton on Feb. 1,
As a large man and a transplanted Texan in Illinois, Clyde relished the
role as “the Big Texan” or “the John Wayne of Triton.” He often
gave presentations to local civic and educational groups about the
history of the Chisholm Trail, and the cattle legacy of John Chisum in
New Mexico. Clyde loved to tell stories.
The Chisums returned to Odessa in 1982 and spent their “retirement”
years buying, remodeling and renting small houses on the West Side of
Odessa. Clyde’s second passion after education was construction and
working with his hands. His hobbies included golf, traveling, flying,
John Wayne movies and Sooner football. He held a private pilot’s
license and flew throughout North America. His motorhome travels took
him and Reba through all of the lower 48 states, Canada, and Alaska —
his favorite being Alaska. Later in Clyde’s life, they regularly met
up with friends for short stays in the motorhome at Fort Davis State
Clyde was a member of the First Christian Church in Odessa. In years
past, he served in the Civitan Club, Lions Club and was on the
Presidential Museum Board.
Clyde is survived by his wife of 32 years, Reba, and her two children
Stephen Jumper and his wife, Kristi, of Midland, Texas; Stephanie Olssen
and her husband, Eric, of Gainesville, Texas; along with six
grandchildren, Christopher, Kevin, Jessica, Brian, Kaitlin and Austin;
two brothers, Milford “Bud” Chisum of Yukon, Okla., and Milton
“Bud” Chisum and wife June of House Springs, Mo.; and many nieces
and nephews, who all knew him as “Uncle Sonny.”
He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Cladie Johnson.
Arrangements are under the direction of Sunset Funeral Home.
Funeral Services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, July 19, 2004, at the
First Christian Church with the Rev. Diana Garrett officiating.
Interment will follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Pallbearers are Christopher Brennan, Kevin Jumper, Brian Jumper, Austin
Jumper, Eric Olssen and Bobby Bowen.
The family suggests that any memorials be sent to First Christian
Church, Odessa College Foundation Memorial Fund or Hospice House
After a 10-year battle with cancer, a battle he fought with courage,
strength, and dignity, Clyde leaves us with, “I have fought the good
fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. Finally there is
laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous
Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all
who have loved his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8.
A visitation will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at Sunset Memorial