(Becker-Rabon Funeral Home) Memorial service for Ronnie G. Hartline, 76, Lawton, will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, May 7, 2015, in Cameron Baptist Church with the Rev. Mike Teel, pastor, officiating.
Mr. Hartline was a very well-known athlete, teacher, coach and friend to many in the community.
He died in the comfort of his home with family on Monday, May 4, his 76th birthday.
Burial will be in Highland Cemetery under direction of Becker-Rabon Funeral Home.
Born May 4, 1939, at Fort Sill, to Tommy and Juanita Hartline, Ronnie grew up in the Lawton community. He attended Lincoln Elementary, Central Junior High, and graduated from Lawton High School in 1957. His honors were many and very well-deserved in his three years with Lawton High. Under the coaching of Bob Bodenhamer, he became one of the best running backs to come out of Lawton High, and was invited to the Oklahoma All State, the Texas/Oklahoma Oil Bowl, and the All-America game in Memphis, Tenn. He was selected as the Most Valuable player in all three games. This accomplishment has yet to be achieved by any other Lawton graduate.
Following high school, Ronnie was recruited by Bud Wilkerson to attend Oklahoma University along with four other teammates from the 1957 team. After appearing in a number of bowl games and being selected co-captain of the 1960 Sooners, he was drafted by the Dallas Texans of the
American Football League, and eventually became the 4th overall draft pick to the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. After eight weeks with the Lions, he was commissioned through the ROTC program at OU and was stationed in Ashofinberg, Germany, where he played football for the Fifth Corp, and earned the honor of being voted All-Army. On leaving the Army, he continued in the Army Reserve until his retirement with the rank of lieutenant colonel. During his time he finished his education requirements at Southwestern College in Weatherford.
Ronnie began his long, successful coaching and teaching career at Lawton High School, his beloved Alma Mater. After a 4-year stint with Lawton high as the running backs coach, he became the first head coach for MacArthur High School when it opened its doors in 1969 until he retired in 1992. He started with a young, first-year team and quickly began setting records and traditions that will hold for a long time. Ronnie finished his 24-year-career with MacArthur High with a record of 169 104, in which he led the team to five City Championships, two State Runner-Up appearances (the first appearance in only his third year as head coach), and appeared in the playoffs 14 of 24 years, the semi finals six years, and coached 16 All -State players. He was a great mentor for many young men throughout his life. He was known as a stern coach with high standards and expectations for his players. After retiring from Lawton Public Schools, he could be found on the golf course, mowing lawns or with a paint brush in his hand. Many senior citizens called upon him for his handyman abilities because he was always willing to give them a helping hand when others would not. He stayed up to date on Lawton's happenings at all the morning coffee drinker's spots, where he always seemed to hold the floor.
More recently, Ronnie was inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Hall of Fame in 2014. The greatest honor a coach can receive is to be named "Coach of the Year." Ronnie Hartline was given the honor of being named the outstanding coach of the 1971-72 year in the state of Oklahoma. When asked how he felt about being elected Coach of the Year, he said, "It would not have been possible without the great desire of the team, and the help of three outstanding assistant coaches." He also commented, "I would rather have seen another guy from our team chosen as All-District instead of me being chosen Coach of the Year."
He will truly be missed by family, classmates, teammates, former student athletes, and school staff and administrators. He loved to travel, sightsee, golf or just go on a quick road trip.
He is survived by his wife, Letha Hartline, of the home; a daughter and son-in-law, Laurie and Jeff Applekamp, Tulsa; a son and daughter-in-law, Patrick and Susan Hartline, Hilliard, Ohio; a stepdaughter and her husband, Cathy and Rick Wells, Lawton; a stepson and his wife, Gary and Jan Coakley, Roseville, Calif.; three grandchildren: Tyler Ott, Tommy Hartline and Scott Hartline; four step grandchildren: Stephen Coakley and wife LaVeta, Lauren Wells, Amanda Coakley and Sean Coakley; two sisters and a brother-in-law: Loretta Hartline and Sharon and Bill Stamps, all of Lawton; a brother, Rick Hartline, Oklahoma City; and several nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews.
Memorial contributions may be made to Cameron Baptist Church, 2621 SW C Avenue, Lawton 73505.
An online guest book and sympathy cards are available at www.beckerfuneral.com.