December 22, 2006
It’s a simple life. David Pittman goes to work at his pharmacy, fills up to 300 prescriptions, counsels a patient or two about how to take the medications. That’s the routine.
That’s the ministry.
He won’t call himself a minister. He knows very well about ministers. His father and mother were very active in ministry while in college. His aunt and uncle were missionaries captured in Beirut. His cousin, Sandi, was a missionary to Africa. His uncle, Hollis, was a leader in the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Like Pittman, they all attended OBU.
“It wasn’t really a choice to come to OBU,” he said. “That’s where I was going and I’m glad I did.”
He’s not a minister by trade, but a man with a distinct ministry.
“I’m a pharmacist,” he said. “I’m certainly not a minister. But in this business you get a lot of opportunities to help people in pretty stressful situations. That always makes you feel better about your job. Of course, you get a chance to share your faith and pray for people who are in very apprehensive conditions. That’s what I kind of like about it.”
Pittman, ’64, graduated from OBU with a degree in chemistry, coming to OBU out of Shawnee High School. He received his bachelor of science degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 1967. He earned two master’s degrees. The first was in gerontology, from Oklahoma City Community College in 1995. The second was in health service management from LaSalle University in 1997. He completed a doctorate from LaSalle in health service management, in 1997 and in 2004, at the age of 62, he completed his doctorate of pharmacy from SWOSU.
“I was the youngest one in the class,” Pittman said of the final degree. “I called them kids and they were pretty sharp.”
In 1968 he went into business for himself as owner/operator of Sooner Pharmacy in Sulphur.
In addition to his pharmacy, he is serving as a member of the Oklahoma Department for Rehabilitation Services. In that capacity, he makes sure that people with disabilities have access to recovery. He also works through DRS with the schools for the blind and deaf.
But it’s his pharmacy that brings him most into contact with people.
“I still try to make some house calls to people who are elderly or disabled who can’t get out,” Pittman said. “The most rewarding part is actually being able to
OBU is also a vital part of Pittman’s life story.
“I had a good time at OBU,” he said. “I didn’t always make it to Chapel, but there was always someone there in my seat. What I remember most is the fellowship and the good times we had.”
Those friends he made in college are a source of help now.
“In the DRS, I get to meet a lot of very interesting people – several of whom are from OBU. I often see people I went to school with and some of those people are very influential. That helps me do my job better because when I have a problem I know someone I can go to.”
The spiritual environment also encouraged Pittman.
“OBU had a spiritual emphasis on things that prepares you for any kind of professional job, especially dealing with people in need. I’m talking about law, medicine, pharmacy and things like that – not just ministry. I am able to witness to people and let them know a better way to do things and prepare for life.”
The instruction was very important for Pittman as well.
“The learning experience there was so intense but so directed to betterment of our fellow man,” Pittman said. “That was the overarching influence on me. Dr. Rowena Strickland, Dr. Raley and Dr. Scales were all friends of my family and I had some pretty close encounters with those guys. They were all good friends.”
Another strong influence on his life was his father, Charles, who attended OBU and was on the track team.
“Probably the most influential person in my life was my dad,” Pittman said. “Every time the church doors opened we were there. He had some rules that he insisted on strict adherence to. The first was John 3:16. Another was ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ No matter what culture or race, he treated everybody equally and had a good rapport with all people.”
Those are rules and a simple lifestyle routine Pittman tries to live by these days.