The Reverend Ernest Clinton Maddon
Ernest Clinton Maddon was born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma on February 27, 1947 to Norman and Dorothy Maddon, who predeceased him. He spent much of his childhood summers helping at his Grandpa Fowler's General Store in Pharoah, Oklahoma. Ernie always had fond memories of Mr. Buck Salice, a sharecropper who was like a beloved uncle. Mr. Buck taught him to ride horses and was his first introduction to a person of color. Ernie had many amazing interests even in his young age. Ernie played in a band during high school, an Oklahoma version of The Kingston Trio called "Ernie, Ray, and Phil." Ernie was their banjo player as well as vocalist.
He was an incredibly accurate six-shooter marksman and won many fast draw and long rifle competitions with his good friend Coleman Harris. He served in the Army during the Vietnam war from 1967-68. He met Paula in Psychology class at Central State college, standing out in his cowboy boots and shirt. Their first date was memorable at Dairy Queen, where he grabbed his lasso out of the trunk of his car and twirled it for her, doing tricks. Ernie and Paula were married on December 21, 1968. Paula and Ernie loved to sail as a hobby and owned two sail boats.
He loved working for Don Bobzien at the Clothing District in Oklahoma City, his first job out of college. When they had spare moments, Ernie learned to kick a half dollar over the telephone line in the parking lot and catch it in his shirt pocket. They would also take turns scaring the bookkeeper by popping out behind a corner. Ernie supplemented income as a talented photographer for a local professional wedding photographer in Oklahoma City. Through his friendship with Ogden Cantrell, he became friends with many police officers and Ernie became a volunteer auxiliary officer serving the Bethany, Oklahoma community.
Although raised in the Southern Baptist church, he and Paula began searching for a church that was more inline with their religious beliefs. This led them to the Episcopal Cathedral of Oklahoma City. They met a curate, Wallis Ohl and his wife Sheila, who became life-long friends to them. Wallis became a strong influence in Ernie's life. Both Paula and Ernie were confirmed in the church in 1975. Wallis introduced him to a couple of other priests who shared a love for bluegrass music. They joined together and created a bluegrass group called "Hickory Wind" but also jokingly referred to themselves as "Three Saints and A Sinner". They played in various Episcopal Churches in Oklahoma and in Kansas. Ernie was a naturally talented, self-taught musician. He played the banjo, guitar, mandolin, Irish penny whistle, Irish bodhran drum, and loved to sing.
He worked in pharmaceutical sales while Paula stayed home with their two young children, Corrie and Mark. He was quite successful in the field, but felt called to ministry. In 1986 the family was involved in a car accident that changed their lives forever. This solidified his call to ministry, as one who shows up to help others, just as "the church, family, and friends showed up for us." In 1991, the family packed up and left Bethany, Oklahoma to move to Austin, Texas for Ernie to attend seminary. He graduated in 1994 from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest (Seminary of the Southwest) and returned to Oklahoma on the way to Bartlesville, OK for a curacy. However, this was interrupted in the very best way. The Rev. Arlen Fowler, rector of St. Philip's in Ardmore, OK reminded Bishop Moody that Ernie had been "promised to Ardmore." So, Ernie became the curate and later rector of St. Philip's upon Arlen's retirement. Ernie had a passion for educating Episcopalians in their faith through using the church's teaching series as a very popular adult Sunday School. Shirley Hatfield, the parish administrator, and gifted organist served as a wonderful mentor to him during his years as rector at St. Philip's. He was called to serve on many diocesan committees, served on the Board of the Seminary of the Southwest and made far reaching friendships. He was a dynamic, gifted, naturally hilarious person, who cared for many. He loved fly fishing and skeet shooting with friends. Additionally, he loved to ride motorcycles with his deacon, his chosen "brother", and best friend in the world, the Rev. James "Jim" Young, whenever they got the chance. Ernie even gave parishioners a ride on his motorcycle once in a while, including 80 year old Wanda Couch, who was his senior warden when he was called to St. Philip's.
Never one to shy away from difficult subjects, Ernie guided the church to look beyond their current circumstances, to create a long-lasting legacy with the church endowment fund. He performed countless baptisms, confirmations, marriages, funerals, and was known as a father and priestly figure to so many. He rarely took a Sunday off from celebrating the Eucharist. He loved his friends at the Gun Shop dearly.
He and Paula moved to Keller, Texas to be near their grandchildren, Clay and Olivia and were very involved at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Keller, Texas where they made many wonderful friends. Paula noticed that Ernie was developing something more than forgetfulness. A specialist confirmed that Ernie was experiencing symptoms that would later be confirmed as Alzheimer's.
Ernie was a big influence on his children's lives. His daughter Corrie became an Episcopal priest and his son Mark has served as an Episcopal church musician in Oregon. In 2018, Ernie and Paula moved back to Ardmore, OK with the encouragement of their friends. His beloved ferocious miniature schnauzer, Max, the Wonder Dog, was a constant companion for Ernie. After Paula's stroke on September 11, 2020, he accompanied Corrie to Abilene, Texas and he lived at Lyndale Memory Care until his death on February 2, 2020. His devoted caregivers and the staff there loved Ernie and the way he would often offer blessings for them. They were very sad at his passing and all took time to say their goodbyes to him, praying for him the following day during their staff meeting.
Ernie would like everyone who reads these words, to remember this, his charge to his flock at the end of every worship service at St. Philip's:
Remember YOU are the church. When you leave this place, do not forget to do good, to remember the sick, give to the poor, comfort the dying, and most of all my brothers and sisters LOVE ONE ANOTHER. And the blessing of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you always.
Memorials may be made to St. Philip's Episcopal Church, St. Jude's, and the Alzheimer's Association. The Burial of the Dead: Rite II service will be held on Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 10:00 am at St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Ardmore. The in-person service is for family and invited guests only. All others can watch a live-stream of the service at: http://stphilipsardmore.org/streaming-worship.html. Please contact the church office for more information at 580-226-2191.
Published on February 07, 2021