Calvin Odell McKerley was born on December 25, 1924, in Miller. Calvin Odell McKerley, known by most as “Mac” or “C.O.,” had his family convinced that heaven was in the foothills of the Kiamichi Mountains in Southeast Oklahoma and the waters of the Blue Hole on Davenport Creek had healing powers. On July 24, 2012, surrounded by his loving family, he passed from this earth at the age of 87. Selfless and dedicated to his family, he worked hard all of his life to see that they were taken care of. He left behind a legacy of love and faith that will sustain his family through this difficult time. Always an “Okie” at heart, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Husbandry at Oklahoma A & M before accepting a position at Marydale Farms in Louisiana. While there, he said he made the best decision of his life. He went to “check out those new teachers” at the Homecoming Dance in Jackson, LA., and met the love of his life and wife of 59 years, Margaret “Chee Chee” Langford. In 1954 he took a job with Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. While working for the Extension Service he earned Master of Science in Marketing and Animal Science from Louisiana State University. He retired from Cooperative Extension in 1987 after serving for 33 years. He was a World War II veteran, a 32nd Degree Mason, Scottish Rite and Shriner. Mac used his seemingly endless desire to work hard to benefit two things he loved, children and horses. Early in his career, he developed the 4-H horse program in Calcasieu Parish, LA., which eventually started the statewide 4-H Club Horse program in Louisiana. In the 1960s, he was named the first Horse Specialist with the U.S. Agriculture Extension service. A few years later he became the first to manage the Southern Regional 4-H Horse Show. He was considered a visionary in the equine industry and dedicated much of his working years to the development of horsemanship youth programs. He is credited with creating the rules and regulations for what became the American Junior Quarter Horse Association (AJQHA.) In 2000, Mac was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Hall of Fame, honoring his many years of service to the industry. He served in various leadership positions for Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association, the Louisiana Quarter Horse Association, the Louisiana Thoroughbred Association, and the Dixie Jubilee. He owned, bred and raised racehorses. His children will never forget the years of advice, support and loyalty he provided. In many ways, his grandchildren thought of him as a modern day hero: rugged masculinity, leadership strength, integrity, and fierce loyalty to family and friends. He had an attitude of, “ why wait till tomorrow if it can be done today”, and was a consistent example of life lived the right way. C.O. will be fondly remembered by his wife, Margaret Langford McKerley; their children: Nannelle “Nonny” Noland of Ragley, Louisiana; Nathaniel McKerley (wife Gina) of Pensacola, Florida; and Margaret “Libby” McKerley of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; their 7 grandchildren: Jerry “T.J.” Noland (wife Kacey)of Houston, Texas; Margaret Landry (fiancée Michael Pernici) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Kate Landry of Baton Rouge , Louisiana; Abigail McKerley of Phoenix, Arizona; Zachary McKerley, Hannah McKerley, and Grace McKerley of Pensacola, Florida; their 2 great grandchildren: Kassidy Gunn and Braden Gunn of Houston, Texas; and siblings Boyce L. Couch (wife Betty) of Antlers; Sidney D. Couch (wife Rosie) of Antlers; Carole C. Martin (husband Dooley) of Antlers; and Sister-in-Law Patsy Couch McClure, Oklahoma City. He was preceded in death by his father, Cleburne McKerley; mother, Thelma N. Couch; step-father, O. L. Couch; and brother, Harold D. Couch. A celebration of his life was held on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 3 p.m. at Baker Presbyterian Church in Baker, LA., with Rev. Charlene Heaton and Rev. Ted Roeling officiating. Visitation preceded the memorial. In lieu of flowers, his family requests donations be sent to the LSU Foundation 4-H Endowment, 102 Efferson Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 ; the American Quarter Horse Association Foundation, PO Box 200, Amarillo, Texas 79168 or Baker Presbyterian Church, 3015 Groom Road, Baker LA, 70714.
Funeral services conducted by Charlet Funeral Home of Clinton & Zachary, Louisiana.