Eschewing a chance to carry on a very successful and lucrative family business, Hugo McCord made a decision early in his life that he wanted to be a gospel preacher.
At Freed-Hardeman College, he met his wife, Lois, and together they spent the years of their life building up churches in the southeast and the Washington, D.C., area. Eventually, they moved for Hugo to preach at the Sixth and Dewey Church of Christ in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. They were attracted to Bartlesville because they wanted to help students grow as they attended Central Christian.
Almost immediately, McCord began teaching Bible part-time as student enrollment increased, and eventually he joined James Baird’s administrative team as a vice president. He was effective in winning friends for Oklahoma Christian, but decided that his greatest service would be to complete his doctoral studies so he could teach in the Bible Department full-time. With nearly grown children, he went back to graduate school, where he became a man of extraordinary discipline. Completing his studies, he returned to Oklahoma Christian in 1961 and was one of the principal influences until he retired.
McCord had a strong personality that was marked by warmth and friendliness. He loved students and enjoyed teaching freshmen perhaps more than any other group. In his classes and in the pulpit, he impressed people with his knowledge of the Bible. He memorized long passages and often read from his Greek New Testament as he was holding it upside down.
Some of his most effective sermons were a collection of scriptural passages he had memorized and actually interpreted with dramatic emphasis as he spoke to audiences. For generations, students joked about his beginning every class with “Take out a half-sheet of paper,” and then dictating five very simple questions.
Hugo McCord’s great love for the text of the Bible led him to do a translation of the New Testament that has been useful to serious Bible students in many places. His great love for young people and for helping young people understand the simplicity and power of the Bible made a tremendous difference in the lives of many who attended Oklahoma Christian.