December 30, 2002
Former Oklahoma Baptist University interim president, provost, and professor William E. Neptune died unexpectedly in his Eufaula home early Monday morning, Dec. 30. He was 74.
A memorial service for Dr. Neptune will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 6, at the First Baptist Church of Shawnee, 10th and Union, downtown. A graveside service will follow at Resthaven Memorial Park.
Neptune served in a number of roles at OBU from 1952-80, including provost, vice president of academic affairs, dean of liberal arts and professor of chemistry. He was selected to serve as interim president of the university in the 1976-77 school year.
Neptune said that he always preferred to refer to himself as a teacher.
"I am a teacher," Neptune said in a 1995 interview. "I took a step down when I became a dean, another step down when I became a vice president and another when I became interim vice president. When I became a professor at OBU, that was the pinnacle of my career."
"Dr. Neptune invested his professional career in helping people," said OBU President Mark Brister. "He was instrumental in crafting a unique curriculum that has helped OBU gain national attention for academic quality. The measure of his commitment was further demonstrated by his on-going work with in-service guidance programs for students preparing for ministry careers. As we look back on the path our university has taken, we owe deep thanks to Dr. Neptune for his vision and dedication."
After leaving Bison Hill, Neptune served as a consultant for the Southern Baptist Convention's Home (North American) Mission Board. Prior to coming to OBU he was a research associate with the University of Oklahoma. He also served as an examiner and executive board member for the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and as an examiner for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
The OBU Alumni Association presented Neptune a Profile in Excellence Award in 1995.
"Bill Neptune was an outstanding educator and a visionary academic leader," said former OBU executive vice president John Parrish. "He was a strong advocate for high academic quality in the Christian college context. We will miss his sense of humor, enthusiasm and great love of OBU and the OBU family."
A native of Lawton, Neptune graduated from Lawton High School in 1946 and earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry and mathematics from OBU in 1950. He received his master's degree in 1952 and his Ph.D. degree in 1954, both in chemistry and physics and both from the University of Oklahoma.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Lu (Ligon) Neptune, a 1950 OBU graduate; and daughters Jennifer Woods, a 1980 OBU graduate, and Stephanie Scrutchins, a 1982 OBU graduate.