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A Biography of W.R. “Bill” McClure

William Ralph McClure or W.R. “Bill” McClure as he was often known, was born on August 28, 1903 in Shreveport, Louisiana. His father was Ralph William McClure(1879 to 1950), who was a Katy Railroad Freight Clerk. His father served on the Troop One Committee from 7-1-1919 until 6-30-1921.

The family moved to Wichita Falls in late 1910 or early 1911 and first lived at 1405 17th street. They later moved to 2105 Joline Street.

In his early years, he was called Will. He joined Boy Scouts on April 10, 1917 in Troop 7 (sponsored by First Methodist Church) at the age of 13 as a Tenderfoot. He earned Second Class rank on May 17, 1917 and First Class rank on July 21, 1917. He received both Life and Star ranks on August 26, 1917, and qualified for the Eagle rank on September 7, 1921 just past his eighteenth birthday.

20140812092021_00001His twenty-one merit badges for Eagle rank are as follows: Athletics, Bird Study, Camping, Civics, Cooking, Craftsmanship, Fireman-ship, First Aid, First Aid to Animals, Handicraft, Personal Health, Pioneering, Public Health, Safety, Scholarship, Carpentry, Pathfinding, Lifesaving, Swimming, Electricity, and Poultry Raising.

He served as Asst. Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader, Scribe, and Senior Patrol Leader. His Life and Star Award cards are signed by James E. West. He was honored as having sold the largest number of war bonds during World War I in a scouting contest.

He was the first Eagle Scout between Dallas and Amarillo, and the first Eagle in the Wichita Area Council, which was formed in 1920. After earning his Eagle, he was named Scoutmaster of Troop 7. Troop 7 would evolve into Troop 2 at First Methodist Church. In 1924, he was a part of an all-Eagle Scout Patrol in Troop 2 consisting of Tommy Durkin, Vernon McDaniel, Hub Cheshire, Ed Peterson, Eugene Napier, George Napier, Marvin Pierce, and Bill McClure.

Mr. McClure was one of 112 graduates from Wichita Falls High School on May 20, 1922. He and Harold Naylor, The Council’s second Eagle Scout, were granted a four year college scholarship by the University of Texas because they were Eagle Scouts.

He was commissioned an Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 2 on October 1, 1921, and became Scoutmaster of Troop 2 sponsored by First Methodist Church during 1931. He became Scoutmaster of Troop 1 sponsored by Floral Height Methodist Church on July 1, 1933 and served there until November 30, 1961, a period of 28 ½ years, during which time 69 scouts earned their Eagle rank.

His son, Ralph Hamiltion McClure, was born April 10, 1933 and now lives in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ralph earned his Eagle Award January 15, 1947 and added a Bronze Palm and a Gold Palm. He also earned the God and Country Award, went to Philmont Scout Ranch, and attended the 1964 National Jamboree at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

On September 5, 1933, Bill completed “Principles of Scoutmastership”, and on September 18, 1933 at the Memorial Auditorium, Bill McClure and Kenneth Erwin received the Scoutmaster’s Key.

The Council Banquet of January 27, 1943 was chaired by President J. N. Sherrill. Bill McClure and Frank Byrd were presented the Silver Beaver Award, the highest award presented a scouting volunteer. The presenters were J. H. Allison and Dr. A. F. Leach, both longtime scouters from Troop 1.

“Mr. Mac”, as he was affectionately known, was the Advertising Production Manager for the Times Publishing Co. and retired there in 1950. After that he was an advertising Account Executive for KWFT radio.

Mr. McClure died in Wichita Falls on August 21, 1982, one week shy of his 79th birthday.

 

 

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