The discussions in Muriel Salmon’s Texas history class often veered away from the Alamo, San Jacinto and Goliad, but that didn’t mean the students weren’t learning.
The late Mr. Salmon was pretty easy to steer off topic, but his stories were epic. Before the Internet, he was Bullard’s encyclopedia. There was nothing he didn’t know, and students took his word as if they had read it from the Britannica encyclopedia itself.
Salmon, 81, died Monday, leaving behind a long legacy of life lessons.
“We kids thought we were so smart, creating banks of random questions to ask during class to avoid learning any ‘history,’ but what we did not understand was that Mr. Salmon was decisive in his delivery of answers in lieu of worksheets, his stories replacing historical films, his advice instead of reading passages,” 2001 Bullard graduate Kate Kennan said in a Facebook post.
Salmon spent 53 years in education, 40 of those at Bullard ISD. Over the years, he served as a teacher, coach, principal, school bus driver and driver’s education instructor. He taught in the district from 1957 to 1967, before doing a 10-year stint at New Summerfield ISD and then returning to Bullard to teach from 1979 to 2009.
He taught generations of families and sibling groups.
“There is much to be said for spending your entire life in one community, investing, reinvesting, fighting the good fight and leaving a legacy of love and good works,” 1995 Bullard graduate Brooks Morton said on Facebook.
Everyone knew, though few saw, that he lost one of his toes to a lawn mower, and he knew all there was about Texas venomous snakes.
He easily taught half of the town’s adult population how to drive, calmly reminding students to watch their speed as they drove 20 mph in the school’s parking lot.
Cody Ellis, a Bullard graduate, said Mr. Salmon was his bus driver and the first person he met in the district.
“I’ve never seen a more compassionate man for each person that stepped onto our bus that year,” Ellis said on Facebook. “He didn’t even get mad at me when my paper airplane landed on his head while driving. Words can’t express what this man means to the community of Bullard and all the students he impacted throughout the years of teaching and coaching.”
More than an educator, Salmon was a man of faith. He was a man who lived his faith.
He was active in First Baptist Church and later Bullard Southern Baptist, where he served as a deacon.
He was a devoted family man. His wife, Joy, was another fixture in the Bullard school system as a secretary and clerical assistant at the high school. After her retirement, she often was in classrooms as a substitute teacher. The couple married in 1961 and had three children, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
In 2010, after Joy’s death, the couple was placed on the district’s “Wall of Honor,” which honors people who made a large impact on Bullard and its youth.
The town lost one of its historians and a great mentor, but several said they were glad to know he is reunited with his love.
“I smile, because I know today is the day you are back in Mrs. Salmon’s arms again, and I get choked up when I think of all the great memories we all have of you,” Ellis said on Facebook.
Salmon’s family could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
Visitation with family will be 1 to 2 p.m. Thursday at Southern Baptist Church, 716 N. Houston St. in Bullard. Funeral services will begin at 2 p.m. at the church with Rev. Donnie Barron officiating.