Obituaries from 2009
Gerald D. “Jerry” Bright, 94, died March 2, 2009, at the Stanton (KY) Nursing Home. He was born March 27, 1914, in Akron, OH, to Henry Proctor Bright and Minnie Shoup Bright. The 1938 graduate of Kentucky Christian University (known then as Grayson Normal Institute) also attended Butler University School of Religion, Indianapolis, IN. In 1938 he began his first full-time ministry with the Church of Christ in East Liberty, OH, during which time he met his wife, Mabel, of Bluffton, OH. They married June 15, 1941, and he continued as minister there until 1944. They served churches in Ohio, Indiana, and Arizona. Mabel died in 1971. He later married Helen Graham and they spent nearly 35 years together serving Christ in various ways. He served three years as dean of students at Kentucky Christian University, and also ministered with churches in Winslow, Buckeye, and Tolleson, AZ. The couple also went on four short-term mission endeavors. The couple retired in Prescott, AZ, in the mid-1980s, but stayed active with the Christian church there and served as volunteers with Camp Christian. They later lived in Findlay, OH, returned to Prescott, and then moved to Florida. Helen died in 2006, and Gerald moved to live with his daughter in Kentucky. In addition to his first two wives, he was preceded in death by one brother, Robert. He is survived by one sister, Betty Jean Sanders of Westminster, CA; one son, Charles Timothy, a missionary in Ghana, West Africa; one daughter, Donna S. Bowden, a minister’s wife in Stanton, KY; four stepchildren; nine grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and many stepgrandchildren and step-great-granchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to Ghana Christian University College or Kentucky Christian University.
Edna M. Buckner Carlson, 78, died June 14, 2009, at Wabash Christian Retirement Center in Carmi, IL. She was born April 2, 1931, in Muskegon, MI, to Francis and Zelta (Brooks) Buckner. On April 15, 1949, she married Elton E. Carlson in Muskegon. They recently celebrated the 60th anniversaries of their wedding and serving in the Christian ministry together. In addition to her widower, she is survived by two daughters, Naomi Nash of Albion, IL, and Rebecca Dean of Olney, IL; five sons, David of Lansing, MI, Steven of Holt, MI, Daniel and Philip, both of Olney, IL, and Timothy of Johnson City, TN; 13 grandchildren; four stepgrandchildren; two great-grandchildren; two stepgreat-grandchildren; and one brother, Dohn of Muskegon. She was preceded in death by one brother, Harold; one sister, Mildred Bishop; and twin children, Martha and Mark. She was a member of the Griffin (IN) Christian Church where her husband continues to serve as minister. Services were conducted at the Christian Church of Sumner (IL) with burial at Liberty Township Cemetery, Manton, MI.
Elton E. Carlson, 81, died Dec. 7, 2009, at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, IN. He was born Aug. 5, 1928, in Lakeview, MI, to Oscar Benjamin Carlson and Ruth Emma Wilcox. He attended Johnson Bible College, Knoxville, TN, and Great Lakes Christian College, Lansing, MI. On April 15, 1949, he married Edna Buckner in Muskegon, MI. They were married 60 years before her death in 2009. In March 2009, he began his 62nd year in ministry while serving with Griffin (IN) Christian Church. He also had served congregations in Michigan, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. He is survived by two daughters, Naomi Nash of Albion, IL, and Rebecca Dean of Olney, IL; five sons, David of Lansing, MI, Steven of Holt, MI, Daniel and Philip, both of Olney, and Timothy of Johnson City, TN; 13 grandchildren; four stepgrandchildren; two great-grandchildren; two step-great-grandchildren; one brother, Raymond of Birch Run, MI; and one sister, Leona Wilson of Mason, MI. In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by two sisters, Marion Washe and Frances Morrow, and twin children, Martha and Mark. Funeral services were conducted Dec. 11 at the Christian Church of Sumner (IL), Darrell Hinkle officiating, with burial at Liberty Township Cemetery in Manton, MI. Memorials may be made to the Christian Church of Sumner, Johnson Bible College, Knoxville, TN, or Great Lakes Christian College, Lansing, MI.
Hiram E. Cassel, 74, died March 15, 2009, at Mercy Regional Hospital, Manhattan, KS. He was born Nov. 26, 1934, in El Reno, OK, the son of Millard Clark and Bessie (Bratton) Cassel. He spent his childhood in Yukon, OK. He graduated from Midwest Christian College, Oklahoma City, OK, and Fort Hayes State University, Hayes, OK. He married Marcy Dubois on Aug. 5, 1956, in Oklahoma City, OK. He served as a minister in Ripley, Driftwood, and Burlington, OK, Wellington, TX, and Oakley, KS. He also served as vice president of student affairs and professor of ministries at Manhattan (KS) Christian College. Among his many honors, he was a distinguished alumnus of Ozark Christian College, Joplin, MO (Midwest and Ozark colleges merged in 1985), and an honorary alumnus of Manhattan (KS) Christian College. He also received the Faithful Servant Award at Manhattan Christian College during the Energizing Smaller Churches Network Conference in March 2007. He preached in every Christian church in Kansas and spoke throughout the United States. Upon retiring, he became associate minister of evangelism at University Christian Church, Manhattan, KS, and continued as a partner in Cassel Rentals. He was preceded in death by two brothers, Frederick and Simon, and an infant sister. In addition to his widow, Marcy, he is survived by three children, Chris of Atlanta, GA, Ceaven Evans of Manhattan, and Curtis of Manhattan; eight grandchildren; and three great-granddaughters. Memorial gifts may be made to Manhattan Christian College or University Christian Church, Manhattan, KS.
Joe William Cobb, 86, died May 11, 2009, at the Veterans Home in Oxford, MS. He was born Nov. 17, 1922, in Lee County, MS, where he lived until answering the call to Christian ministry in 1957. He ministered with churches in Adamsville, TN, Stuttgart, AR, and Dyersburg, TN, before returning to his home state to minister with the Verona (MS) Christian Church from 1988 to 1998, when a stroke cut short his ministry. He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Helen Bryant Cobb, and one sister, Nora. He is survived by one daughter, Karen Frazier, and two sons, Dennis and Daniel. Services were conducted May 13 at the Verona (MS) Christian Church. Burial was at Lee Memorial Park in Verona.
Elizabeth “Betty” Dinwiddie, 77, of Eldon, MO, died July 4, 2009, at her home. She was born on Oct. 18, 1931, in Yankton, SD, to the late Ed and Hiliaria (Brandt) Wieneman. On April 30, 1951, she married Loyd V. Dinwiddie in Harrison, AR; he preceded her in death in1993. She is survived by one daughter, Connie Garrison of Fulton, MO; four sons, Jim Kennedy of Eldon, MO, David Kennedy of Rocky Mount, MO, Bud Dinwiddie of Eldon, and Bill Dinwiddie of Garner, NC; 17 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; and one brother, Richard “Dick” Wieneman. She was a member of the Ninth Street Christian Church, Eldon, MO.
Sue Ann (Lemons) Gahr, 76, of Lincoln, IL, died July 22, 2009, after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Everett Lemons of Springfield, IL. She and her husband, George, graduated from Lincoln Christian College and were married on Oct. 9, 1954. The couple served Fairview Christian Church, Festus, MO, and Northwest Christian Church, Decatur, IL, where she played the piano and helped in the church office. They moved to Lincoln in 1966 and worked with The Christian Village and Christian Homes Inc. until retirement. In addition to her widower, George, she is survived by two daughters, Patti Becker of Lincoln and Rebecca Davidson of Rainier, WA; two sons, George and Bruce, both of Lincoln; and four grandchildren.
John Raymond Green, 49, of Clay Center, NE, died Nov. 19, 2009, at his home. He was born Oct. 17, 1960, to William and Mary Green in Danville, IL. He attended high school at Covington (IN) High School, received his undergraduate degree at Nebraska Christian College, Papillion, and his graduate degree at Cincinnati (OH) Bible College. He married Cheryl Ruttman on May 30, 1981. He was senior minister at Clay Center Christian Church, serving for 23 years. He also served churches in Anthon, IA, and West Lebanon, IN. His skills went far beyond preaching. He was actively involved in both the Clay Center and Hastings community theaters. He loved to garden, cook, take photographs, work with wood, help with the high school shop class, and spend time with his family. He was president of the Pibel Bible Camp board, and spent many years serving with the Nebraska and the Iowa/Nebraska Christian conventions. He is survived by his widow, Cheryl, and daughter, Charity, both of Clay Center; one son, Adam of Tyro, KS; mother, Mary Green of Covington, IN; and one brother, Randy of Covington. He was preceded in death by one sister, Cindy Gaudino. Services were conducted Nov. 25 at Clay Center Christian Church with pastors David Bycroft and Dick Brown officiating. Burial was at Nelson Cemetery.
Bernice Lytle Greene, 85, of Bel Air, MD, died Sept. 19, 2009, at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air. She was born in Barberton, OH, to Francis Armstrong Lytle and Florence Catherine Jones Lytle, and grew up in Akron, OH. In 1944 she married Robert B. Greene, and served in ministry with him to Christian churches in Indianapolis, IN, Fork, MD, Akron, OH, Williamsport, PA, and Naperville, IL. She served as office manager for Christian Missionary Fellowship and European Evangelistic Society. She retired from Eastman Kodak Co. in 1988 after 17 years. After retirement the couple served congregations in Tunbridge Wells, England, and Harford County, MD. The member of Mountain Christian Church, Joppa, MD, was active throughout her life in church and community music as a singer, pianist, and choir director. She was preceded in death by one brother, Edison Warren Lytle. She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Robert; one daughter, Linda of Milton, FL; one son, Stephen of Bel Air; and three grandchildren. Services were Sept. 23 at Mountain Christian Church, Charles Cook and Jeff Owens officiating. Burial was at Mountain Cemetery.
Lawrence David Hallum, 89, died March 7, 2009, in Siloam Springs, AR. He was born Jan. 4, 1920, in Clarksville, AR. He married Nora Ellen Rountree on May 25, 1940. He became a Christian in 1947 and enrolled at Midwest Christian College, Oklahoma City, OK, in 1948. In 1961 the Hallums left a successful ministry at Forest Hill Christian Church in Oklahoma City to take the helm of Cookson Hills Christian Ministries, Kansas, OK, serving there until 2008. In 1987, Ozark Christian College of Joplin, MO (which consolidated with MCC in 1985), presented the Seth Wilson Outstanding Alumnus Award to Mr. Hallum “for outstanding achievement as director and developer of Cookson Hills Christian School, and for humble service as father, husband and preacher of the Gospel.” The Hallums had three children, Patricia, Awynne, and David, along with numerous foster children. He was preceded in death by one daughter, Patricia, and one son, David.
Charles E. “Charlie” Johnson, 81, of Des Moines, IA, died Feb. 23, 2009, from complications of renal failure. He was born March 31, 1927, at Greenview, IL, and was a 1950 graduate of Lincoln (IL) Christian College (then known as Lincoln Bible Institute). He held ministries in Loami, Wayne City, Effingham, Springfield, and Rockford, IL, Kouts, IN, and Ankeny, IA. From 1977 to 1992 he served as evangelist-at-large for the Christian Evangelistic Mission of Iowa, establishing new congregations and helping weak and struggling churches. When poor health forced him to slow down, he spent 4.5 years in public relations and marketing for New Risen Son Christian Village in Council Bluffs, IA, followed by six years in seniors ministry with Rising Sun Church of Christ in Des Moines. He and his wife continued to live in the church parsonage until his death. During the 1980s he served as president of the Iowa Christian Convention and the National New Church Conference. He conducted several workshops at the North American Christian Convention and served on the Continuation Committee for the National Missionary Convention. He was a 1987 recipient of the Restoration Award from Lincoln Christian College for his work establishing new churches. He is survived by his widow, Lois; one daughter, Carol Shivers of Bondurant, IA; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by one son, David. A memorial service was conducted Feb. 25 at the Rising Sun Church of Christ, Doug Raymond and Logan Dunham officiating.
Sheila Mae (Fites) Kelley, 65, died Jan. 20, 2009, after a six-year battle with cancer. She was born March 27, 1943, in Hammond, IN, the daughter of Ryval “Pete” Fites and Pauline Fites. She grew up in Bourbon, IN, and was a 1961 graduate of Tippecanoe (IN) High School. She earned master’s degrees in earth and social sciences from Ball State University, Muncie, IN, and library science from Indiana State University, Terre Haute. She was a professor of earth sciences from 1966-68 at Vincennes (IN) University, where she met Ron, her future husband. She was an educator in Indiana and Illinois for 42 years and the medial specialist, librarian, and teacher at Sarasota (FL) Middle School for 26 years, retiring in August 2007. She was “teacher of the year” twice and served as the chairperson of the Sarasota County Media. The Sun-N-Fun Community Church, Sarasota, FL, which she and Ron helped start in 1983, ministers to winter tourists from 30 states and several foreign countries. Her life was dedicated to education, ministry, and missions. She loved to read and was a world traveler, making 20 trips overseas and visiting more than 50 countries while ministering in various churches. She is survived by her husband of 41 years, Dr. Ron of Sarasota; her mother, Pauline Fites of Bourbon, IN; one sister, Margie Seigle of Los Angeles; and one brother, Richard Fites of Bourbon. Her widower, Dr. Ron Kelley, conducted memorial services in Sarasota, FL, and Etna Green, IN. Burial was a Summit Chapel Cemetery, Bourbon, IN.
Robert Kidwell, 79, died Oct. 21, 2009, in Christiana, DE. He was born May 12, 1930, the son of Irvin and Ethel Kidwell, and grew up in Middletown, OH. He entered Bible college in 1949 during his first year of marriage to the former Carol Ann Blackmore. He was a minister of the gospel for the next 59 years. He served churches in Texas, Indiana, Ohio, and Delaware. At the time of his death he was evangelist with Dover’s Capitol City Church of Christ. He was founder of Delmarva Christian Service Camp in Laurel, DE, and enjoyed woodworking, hunting, and golf. In addition to his widow, Carol Ann, he is survived by three sons, Robert of West Elkton, OH, William of Smyrna, DE, and Daniel of Seaford, DE; two daughters, Kimberly Dewar of Frederick, MD, and Elizabeth McClain of Dover, DE; 14 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren. The funeral service was conducted Oct. 24 at the Dover (DE) Church of Christ, with his son William officiating. Interment was at the Lewes Church of Christ. Memorial donations may be made to Delmarva Christian Service Camp, 143 Turner Drive, Dover, DE 19904.
Dale V. Knowles, 93, of Iowa City, IA, died April 25, 2009, at Greenwood Manor, a care center where he had been a resident since January. He was born Aug. 7, 1915, in Hubbard, IA, the son of Victor and Elizabeth Knowles. He was baptized into Christ on Easter 1936 in Webster City, IA, and studied for the ministry at Minnesota Bible College, Rochester, MN, Manhattan (KS) Christian College, and graduated with a BA from Cincinnati (OH) Bible Seminary in 1940. He married Ethel Mae “Dearie” Wickersham-Brown on Dec. 14, 1941. For 43 years they ministered to churches in Danville, IL; North Vernon, IN; Polo, IL; Clay Center, NE; Whiting, IA; Hamburg, IA; Nishnabotna, MO; Goldfield, IA; Mulberry Grove, IL; San Luis Obispo, CA; Morro Bay, CA; and Frytown (Williamstown), IA. He also taught at Boise (ID) Bible College, 1952-54. After his wife died in 1985, he conducted interim ministries at Hamburg, IA; Rock Port, MO; and Bristow, IA. In 1993 the Iowa Christian Convention honored him for “Outstanding Servant-Leadership in Kingdom Work for the State of Iowa.” “Brother Dale,” as he was affectionately known to many, was a kind, gentle, forgiving, dignified, and devoted servant of Christ who had a special love for little children, always taking time to recognize their presence and worth. He was a lover of classical music and literature, and the author of three published volumes of poetry; he often was requested to write special poems for weddings and funerals. His autobiography, One Life of Many, was published in 2005. He is survived by two sons, Victor of Joplin, MO (president of Peace on Earth Ministries), and David of Morristown, TN; three daughters, Becky Tanberg of Iowa City, Muriel Paregien of Kingsport, TN (who serves with Celebration church), and Bonnie McGlumphry of Iowa City (who serves with Parkview church); one brother, Boyd of Coarsegold, CA; 15 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren. Memorial services were conducted April 28 at the Iowa City Church of Christ with Tom Steele, Gary D. Cradic, Jeff Staley, and Richard M. Ellis officiating. Memorial gifts may be made to Peace on Earth Ministries, P.O. Box 275, Joplin, MO 64802.
Robert L. “Uncle Bob” Knox, 83 of Newark, OH, died Jan. 17, 2009, at the Arlington Care Center in Newark. A funeral service celebrating his life was conducted Jan. 24 at the Licking Valley Church of Christ, Newark, with pastor Jeff Bullock officiating. Burial followed at Wilson Cemetery with the Licking County Veteran’s Alliance providing military honors. He was born in Parkersburg, WV, on Feb. 6, 1925, to the late Frank and Ethel (Whitehare) Knox. He graduated from Lincoln (IL) Bible Institute (now Lincoln Christian College). Prior to retirement, he was a supervisor with Licking County Human Services for more than 20 years. He also ministered at the Auburn (IL) Christian Church; Riverton (IL) Christian Church; Camp Point (IL) Christian Church; Second Church of Christ, Newark, OH; Heath (OH) Church of Christ; Licking Valley Church of Christ, Newark; Newark (OH) Church of Christ; Frazeysburg (OH) Church of Christ; and Pleasant Valley Church. He was a member of the Second Church of Christ in Newark; American Legion Post 85, Newark; the Marine Corps League; and VFW Post 1060. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II. He received the honors of Veteran of the Year and the Four Chaplains Award. He also was chaplain for the Newark police and fire departments. Survivors include one son, Robert S. of Terrace Park, OH; three daughters, Sharon Carter of Anaheim, CA, Connie Barcus of Newark, and Vickie Taylor of Corvallis, OR; one brother, Tom of Parkersburg, WV; one sister, Wilda Bower of Parkersburg; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Dorothy (Baumhardt) Knox, whom he married on Dec. 1, 1945, and who died June 11, 2003; seven brothers, Earl, Frank “Dick,” William “Layor,” Paul, Milton, Forrest “Joe,” and Maurice “Skinner”; and one sister, Ethel “Wahnita” Barber. Memorial contributions may be made in memory of Robert and Dorothy Knox to Lincoln Christian College, 100 Campus View Drive, Lincoln, IL 62656 or to Hospice of Central Ohio, 2269 Cherry Valley Road, Newark, OH 43055.
J. David Lang, 80, of Cincinnati, OH, died Jan. 8, 2009. The Lincoln (IL) Christian College and Seminary graduate ministered with churches in Illinois, Tennessee, Indiana, Florida, and Ohio. He was an innovator who first served in youth ministry with Maple Avenue Christian Church, Terre Haute, IN. In the early 1960s he envisioned a new approach to teaching God’s truths to teens, so he produced a new curriculum that is still being used in some circles. He also wrote several books and numerous articles. He served several years as an editor with Standard Publishing, Cincinnati, and directed Standard’s College Ideashops. In the late 1960s he helped organize Challenge Unlimited, and later served as the first campus minister at Illinois State & Wesleyan colleges in Bloomington/Normal, IL. In 1987, David and his wife, June, founded Christian Seniors Fellowship, a ministry to encourage senior adults to use their talents, heart, resources, and experience to work in the kingdom of God. That ministry continued until 2006 when David’s health began to fail. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Dave, minister with LifeSpring Christian Church in Springfield, MO, and Dan, minister with Western Hills Church of Christ, Cincinnati, OH; two daughters, Susan Sprunger, director of music ministries with the United Methodist Church, Fort Wayne, IN, and Judy Dye, Missionary to Caracas, Venezuela; 11 grandchildren (four of whom are missionaries in Venezuela); and five great-grandchildren. A celebration service, led by Dick Alexander and the four Lang children, was conducted Feb. 12 at LifeSpring Christian Church, Cincinnati.
Richard F. Lankford, 84, of Springfield, IL, died May 28, 2009, at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. He was born to Victor and Hazel Lankford on Jan. 28, 1925, in Springfield. He graduated from Springfield High School in 1943. He was enlisted in the United States Navy from 1943-1945 and served as a Navy corpsman in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a veteran of World War II and served in the battles of Guam and Iwo Jima. He married Doris Dean on Sept. 12, 1946, in Springfield. He graduated from Cincinnati (OH) Bible Seminary in 1950, and was ordained into the ministry by West Side Christian Church in Springfield. During a ministry of more than 50 years, he served congregations in Whitewater and Jamestown, OH, Loami, IL, Coweta, OK, Belle and Festus, MO, Whiting, IA, West Allis, WI, and Eagle Lake, MN. He was preceded in death by one brother, Donald, and one sister, Lila Jones. In addition to his widow, Doris, he is survived by two sons, William of Lebanon, IL, and Larry of Belleville, IL; two daughters, Patricia Edwards of La Crosse, WI, and Diane Beeman of Springfield, IL; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Burial was at Farmers Point Cemetery, Salisbury, IL.
John A. Leinbaugh, 73, of Wabash, IN, died Jan. 6, 2009, at a hospital in El Paso, TX, while on a short-term mission trip to Juarez, Mexico. He attended Lincoln (IL) Christian College 1954-59, receiving BA’s in both ministry and music. He married Sandra Sue Harris on June 1, 1958, in Cambridge City, IN. He was ordained into the ministry August 9, 1964, at his home church, Indianola Church of Christ, Columbus, OH. He served churches in Missouri, Kentucky, and Indiana, and also taught at Central Christian College of the Bible, Moberly, MO, in the areas of Christian education, English, and music. While in Moberly, he became involved in ministry at the men’s medium security prison, and began a men’s choir named The Prodigals. He enjoyed teaching and doing physical work at Christian service camps such as White Oak camp in Moberly, Bluegrass camp near Lexington, KY, and Rainbow camp near Converse, IN. He enjoyed singing and playing the piano, and had several songs published in Standard Publishing’s VBS songbook. He also enjoyed mission work, traveling to St. Vincent in the Caribbean several times to teach at the Bible college and do manual labor. At the time of his death, he was on a weeklong trip to Juarez, Mexico, with fellow members of the Bachelor Creek Church of Christ, Wabash. While on this trip, he was rushed to a Texas hospital where he later died. For 20 years, he had been on staff at the Bachelor Creek church—the last 16 years as minister to senior adults. He is survived by his widow, Sandy of Wabash; and three sons, Bob of Crocker, MO, Jim of Fort Wayne, IN, and Dan of Indianapolis, IN, all of whom are involved in full-time ministry. Funeral services were conducted Jan. 12 at Bachelor Creek Church of Christ, with Lloyd Pelfrey and Gareth Reese officiating.
Kenneth Martin, 90, a retired Christian minister who in recent months had been living in Hendersonville, NC, died Oct. 26, 2009, after a brief illness. Funeral services were conducted Oct. 31 in Muskogee, OK, where he was buried beside his beloved wife and partner in ministry, Peggie, who died in 1999. The 1949 graduate of Ozark Bible College served as interim president of the college for one year before embarking on a five-year evangelistic ministry. In 1957, he was called to establish a new congregation in Broken Arrow, OK. He also served Osage Hills Christian Church, Tulsa, OK; West Amarillo (TX) Christian Church; Forest Hills Christian Church, Oklahoma City, OK; First Christian Church, Piggott, AR; Central Christian Church, Fort Smith, AR; and First Christian Church, Adair, OK. In retirement, he was an active member of Central Christian Church, Bryan/College Station, TX, until health issues precipitated a move earlier this year to Hendersonville, NC, to be near his daughter.
Pauline Pethtel Maxey, 88, a longtime missionary to Japan, died Sept. 17, 2009, in Kanoya, Japan. She was born Aug. 2, 1921, in Wind Ridge, PA, to Charles and Verna Pethtel. She entered Cincinnati (OH) Bible Seminary in 1939. While studying there she met Mark G. Maxey, and they were married Dec. 29, 1941. She graduated with a BA degree in 1943, and the couple began full-time Christian service. They ministered with North Vernon (IN) Christian Church until Mark began serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Army. While her husband was stationed in the Philippine Islands, she started a house church in Cincinnati that later became Laurel Homes Christian Church. She joined her husband in Otsu, Japan, in 1947 where she taught Bible classes for Japanese university students. They returned to Japan as missionaries in 1949 and formed Kyushu Christian Mission. In October 1950 they arrived in Kanoya to begin their life’s work. Together they planted churches in Kagoshima prefecture and influenced many people who are serving in churches throughout Japan today. She was a gifted teacher and speaker, and she blessed people from around the world with her hospitality. During the first five years she helped establish Sunday schools in area churches, writing the lessons and holding weekly training programs for the Sunday school teachers. She ministered to the women in the churches and started monthly fujinka (women’s meetings) in all the locations where churches were planted. Throughout her 59 years of service in Japan, she continued to give witness to her deep faith and convictions and was a model Christian wife and mother. In addition to her husband, Mark, she was preceded in death by three sons, Charles, Mason, and Philip. She is survived by five children, Paula Yanagimoto of Duncan, BC, Canada, Walter of Kagoshima, Japan, Gregory of New Richmond, OH, Faith Axton of Moberly, MO, and Hope Uchio of Kagoshima, Japan; 10 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren. Funeral services were conducted Sept. 24 at Kanoya Church of Christ with Hideo Yoshii and Keith Summers officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to Osaka Bible Seminary, P.O. Box 696, San Jose, CA 95106.
Thelma Elizabeth “Betty” McElroy, 91, died Oct. 17, 2009, at her daughter’s home in Firestone, CO. She was born June 8, 1918, in Toledo, OH, to Louis J. and Eva E. (Gallagher) Billman. At age 12 she accepted the Lord and served him from that time on. She attended Cincinnati (OH) Christian University where she met and married Barton McElroy on June 9, 1939. The couple ministered with White Oak Christian Church, Cincinnati, until being invited to join the work of the Philippine Mission Churches of Christ (PMCC) in Manila. They arrived on the field in 1950 and spent the next 20 years in ministry there. She taught classes in drama, English, and Christian education at Manila Bible Seminary and was “mom” to dozens of young women who were students at MBS and living in the women’s dorm. The couple helped many of them further their education as public school teachers. She helped establish Sunday schools in the Philippine churches. After returning to the United States in 1971, she taught English and literature classes at Ozark Christian College, Joplin, MO, and Manhattan (KS) Christian College. The couple also helped with the founding of Pioneer Bible Translators. She returned to PMCC after her husband’s death in 1991 and spent several more years in ministries of teaching and encouragement. In addition to her husband, Barton, she was preceded in death by one daughter, Barbara Thackston, and one brother, Jim Billman. Survivors include one son, Barton James “Jim” of Lynnwood, WA; two daughters, C. Jeanne Hoffman of Manila, Philippines, and Joni E. Miller of Firestone, CO; one sister, Jeanne Hauser of Fort Myers, FL; 11 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to Philippine Mission Churches of Christ, Central Luzon, P.O. Box 42028, Indianapolis, IN 46242.
David M. McLaughlin, 74, died May 10, 2009, at his home in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was born Nov. 15, 1934, to the late C. Virgil and Beatrice Myers McLaughlin in Willard, OH. He graduated from Willard High School in 1952 and Tri State College (Trine University), Angola, IN, as a civil engineer in 1956. He retired in 2000 from Share Financial Services Inc., and served churches from 1986. He started with Lawyers Title Insurance Co. in Indianapolis. He was a devoted member of East 91st Street Christian Church, Indianapolis. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Mattie; one son, Daniel James; and one sister, Colleen Kime. He was preceded in death by one brother. A memorial service was conducted May 13 at East 91st Street Christian Church. Memorial contributions may be made to the South African Christian Mission, 789 Lester Road, Reading, MI 49274, for which he served as chairman of the board.
Paul Nielsen, 94, died May 21, 2009, in Texas. He was born in rural Minnesota on Oct. 31, 1914, to Ole and Theodosia Nielsen. He graduated from Minnesota Bible College. He married Marcia George in August 1939 and that fall the couple left for Japan to begin 18 years of missionary service. They returned to the United States in late 1940 due to the threat of war. He ministered with a church in Lake Elsinore, CA, during World War II and attended Pacific Christian College, completing all but his thesis for an MDiv. In 1948, he and the family returned to Japan where they served until health concerns forced them to remain stateside after 1968. Paul supply preached, taught missions, and worked at Midwest Christian College, Oklahoma City, OK, before retiring to the northeast Kansas area. His wife, Marcia, preceded him in death in 1993. Paul then moved to Boise Christian Children’s Home in Idaho, doing odd jobs and acting as “grandpa” to the children. Advancing years and Alzheimer’s disease forced him to spend his remaining years with each of his three children. He is survived by one son, Russell of Antioch, CA, and two daughters, Paula Hainline of Corpus Christi, TX, and Martha Enders of Independence, KY; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by two brothers. His ashes were spread over the Pacific Ocean as a tribute to his many journeys.
Ivan Cook Odor, 81, of Mason, OH, died June 19, 2009. He was born July 12, 1928, in Williamstown, KY, to Raymond and Maybelle (Limerick) Odor. His life’s work was the ministry of the gospel, which he passed on to his two sons and one grandson who are also ministers; Kent of Mason, OH, Kevin of Las Vegas, NV, and Micah of Cincinnati, OH. He graduated from Cincinnati Christian University (then Cincinnati Bible Seminary) in 1951. He retired from a weekly preaching ministry in 1997 after serving in the pulpit for 50 years, but continued to be active in pastoral ministry until his death. He and his widow, Doris (Schreiber), were married 58 years and served churches in Kentucky (Elmville, Connersville, Stamping Ground, and Lenoxburg), Tennessee (Elizabethton), Indiana (Markle), Illinois (Rossville), and Michigan (Owosso and Mount Pleasant). His final ministry (27 years) was with First Church of Christ in Mount Pleasant, MI. He assisted in establishing a church youth camp in Kentucky (Northward Christian Assembly) and served at other such camps (Lake James, Hanging Rock, and Rock Lake) in the Midwest. He helped pioneer the faith promise program for mission support among the Christian churches and churches of Christ, serving as a consultant for 35 years. He served for more than 30 years on the board of Polish Christian Ministries (established by Paul Bajko). He also served on the boards to establish Golden Years Homestead in Fort Wayne, IN, and Great Lakes Christian Homes in Holt, MI. At Mount Pleasant he served on the board to establish a Hospice program for central Michigan. He was preceded in death by five brothers, Hubert, Wilbur, Harold, Ralph, and Buford; and three sisters, Imogene Kennedy, Betty Lawrence, and Edith Richardson. In addition to his widow and his two sons and one grandson who serve in ministry, he is survived by one sister, Reva Dell Mefford of Nicholasville, KY; six additional grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Compassionate Care Fund of the Christian Benevolent Association in Mason, OH.
David Franklin Pieratt, 79, of Bristol, VA, died May 25, 2009, while visiting in Elkhorn City, KY. He was born in Grayson, KY, on April 29, 1930, to David Tipton and Mabel Crawford Pieratt. In 1950 he married Louella Petre and they had one son, David Mark. Both Louella and David Mark preceded him in death. He graduated from Kentucky Christian College, Grayson, in 1952 with a BA in Bible. He received a BDiv and an MA in Restoration history from Lincoln (IL) Christian Seminary, and a PhD from New Orleans Theological Seminary. He served churches in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas. He held numerous evangelistic meetings and helped to establish two new churches. From 1969–80 he was a teacher and head of the Correspondence School of Ozark Bible College, Joplin, MO. From 1980–86 he served as teacher and academic dean of the El Paso (Texas) School of Missions. He also served as director of the Correspondence School at Bluefield College of Evangelism (formerly of Bluefield, WV, now of Wytheville, VA), and prior to retirement was president of the College of the Scriptures, Louisville, KY. He also served as director of the American Bible Academy of ARM Prison Ministries, Joplin, MO. Since retirement he has served as chancellor of the College of the Scriptures and on the board of Mission Services in Knoxville, TN. He is survived by his widow, Lanella; three stepchildren; four stepgrandchildren; and two sisters. Memorial services were conducted in Elkhorn City, KY, with Jim Ed Belcher and Pat Mooney officiating.
Linda Marie (Gray) Platt, 50, of Nevada, MO, died from complications of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) on Oct. 22, 2009. She was born to Wilbur and Josephine Gray on Aug. 12, 1959, in Pierre, SD. She married William Earl Platt of Wichita, KS, on Aug. 20, 1977, in Rapid City, SD, and they had three children. Her faith and personality were a daily testimony to God and her family. She served as service learning coordinator at Cottey College in Nevada, MO. In addition to her husband of 32 years, Bill, she is survived by three children; Andrew Thomas (“Andy”) of Fairfax, VA; Tabitha Michelle (“Abi”) of Nevada; and Jennifer Julia (“Jae”) of Florissant, MO; her mother; and three siblings, Gary Wayne Gray, Holly Jean Meyer, and Karin Anne Burnes. Services were conducted at First Christian Church, Nevada, MO, on Oct. 27; internment was at Newton Burial Park. Memorial contributions may be made to Good News Productions International, Joplin, MO.
Velma L. Pugh, 94, died Nov. 16, 2009, at Turner (OR) Retirement Homes. She was born April 22, 1915, to Orien and Bertha (Crawford) King of Hardin County, IA. She grew up on a farm with nine brothers and sisters. She attended Minnesota Bible College for a year and taught in rural public schools in Iowa prior to marrying Kermit Pugh, a minister of the gospel, in 1940. They served with several Christian churches in various cities during the next 41 years: first in Big Stone Gap, VA; followed by Oak Park, IL; Olwein, IA; Leisure, IN; Bethany Christian in Anderson, IN; Memorial Christian in Houston, TX; Fleming Garden Christian in Indianapolis, IN; and Syria Christian near Paoli, IN. The couple also planted a congregation in Glenwood, AR. Kermit died in 1981, and she moved to Oregon in 1991 after marrying Herman Kooy, a retired minister. They lived in Cottage Grove, OR, and attended Sixth & Gibbs Church of Christ and Delight Valley Church of Christ, Saginaw, OR. After moving to Turner Retirement Homes they attended Turner Christian Church. She was a dedicated partner is pastoral ministry for 50 years, serving in children’s and music ministries. She was known for her homemaking skills, hospitality, baking, sewing, quilting, and gardening. She is survived by two children with Kermit: David of Mooresville, IN, and Marilyn Culpepper of Harrisburg, OR; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. In addition to her first husband, she was preceded in death by her brothers and sisters. Burial will be with Kermit at Syria Christian Church Cemetery in southern Indiana. Donations in Velma’s memory may be made to Turner Retirement Homes.
Dorothy Jean Ropp, 85, of Owosso, MI, died Oct. 11, 2009, after suffering a stroke. She was born Sept. 10, 1924, in Norwood, MO, to Fred and Bessy Hart. She was raised in the churches of Christ/Christian churches and was a member of the Trailblazer Class at First Church of Christ in Owosso for most of her adult life. She married Harry R. Ropp in Tacoma, WA, in 1946. Upon the death of their son, Harry L. “Buddy” Ropp, in 1978, she and her husband took over his work, Mission to Mormons, and traveled throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico speaking to more than 3,000 churches and Christian colleges educating believers about the non-Christian beliefs of the Mormon church. In addition to her widower, she is survived by three daughters, Rebecca Ropp, Deborah Elaine, and Patricia Whitlock; four grandchildren; and two great-grandsons. In addition to her son, she was preceded in death by one grandson and seven of her eight siblings.
Harold Lester “Les” Shell of Union City, GA, died Feb. 8, 2009. He was born in Jefferson County, IL, in 1924, the son of Bernie and Beatrice Shell. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war, he became manager of Dolan Shoe Store in Mount Vernon, IL. In 1955 he enrolled at Atlanta Christian College, East Point, GA, graduating in 1959 as salutatorian. During his career as a minister he served the following Georgia congregations: Whistleville Christian in Winder, Buffington Road Christian, Riverdale Christian, Jackson Christian, and Lester Road Christian. For a few years he served the Westway Christian Church in Toronto, Canada. He also served as a trustee at Atlanta Christian College. In retirement he volunteered as chaplain with Christian City and Southwest Christian Care in Union City. In 2001, the Georgia Christian Convention presented him the “Honored Servant Award.” He was preceded in death by one son, Larry; one brother, Bob; and one sister, Beulah Fern Sanders. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Doris Rollinson Shell; one foster son, Everett Lassiter of Union City; four grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter. Funeral services were conducted Feb. 12 at Lester Road Christian Church, Fairburn, GA, with ministers David Chapman and Tony Sullivan officiating. Interment followed at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens with Thom Miller and John Vernon officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to the Lester Shell Preaching Scholarship at Atlanta Christian College, 2605 Ben Hill Road, East Point, GA 30315.
Beryl Marie Sloneker, 91, of Shertz, TX, died March 25, 2009, at Northeast Methodist Hospital, San Antonio, TX. She was born Aug. 18, 1917, in Sarles, NC, to Herbert W. and Etta Grace Bassingthwaite. She married Clark Sloneker on Sept. 2, 1943, in San Jose, CA, where they were both students at San Jose (CA) Bible College (now William Jessup University, Rocklin, CA). She served with her preacher husband in ministries in California, Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas. In addition to her husband of 65 years, Clark, she is survived by four children, Lois of Shertz, TX, Claudia Tyler of San Antonio,TX, Mark of Carthage, MO, and Carla Billingsley of Abilene, KS; and two granddaughters. A memorial service was conducted April 1 at New Oaks Christian Church, Cibolo, TX, pastor Tracy Farthing officiating, assisted by visiting pastors Al Houk and Tim Duff; son-in-law Stuart Tyler served as instrumentalist. Memorial contributions may be made to New Oaks Christian Church, 750 Schneider Road, Suite 100, Cibolo, TX 78108.
Josephine M. “Jo” Smith, 85, of Jacksonville, FL, died Jan. 22, 2009. She was born April 16, 1923, in Omaha, NE, but considered Council Bluffs, IA, her hometown. In 1944 she entered, and later graduated from, Johnson Bible College, Knoxville, TN. She married Max E. Smith on June 13, 1948. In addition to Max, to whom she was married 60 years, she is survived by two sons, Timothy and Daniel; one sister, Myra; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. She was a member of Christ’s Church Mandarin in Jacksonville. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, 4266 Sunbeam Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257 or Johnson Bible College, 7900 Johnson Drive, Knoxville, TN 37998-1001. Funeral services were conducted Jan. 25 at Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home, Jacksonville.
O. George Stansberry, 83, died Jan. 6, 2009, in Erlanger, KY. Born in Johnson City, TN, in 1925, he surrendered his life to Christ at age 12 at First Christian Church under the ministry of George Mark Elliot. He graduated from Cincinnati (OH) Bible Seminary in 1947 and then ministered to the Church of Christ in Brookville, IN, for seven years. In 1954, he was called to the full-time evangelistic field. For 44 years he traveled through 49 states, preaching more than 1,200 revivals and witnessing many thousands of lives transformed by God’s power. He was a trustee and chairman of the board of Cincinnati Christian University for 12 years, receiving the “Distinguished Service Award.” In 1994, he was presented the “Honored Servant of God” lifetime achievement award by the North American Christian Convention. In 2004, the Christian Restoration Association presented him the Sword and Trowel Award “in recognition of those who have given their lives to building the kingdom and defending the faith.” He lived a life dedicated to Christian ministry; multitudes of lives have been deeply touched by him. For the past 10 years, as he suffered Parkinson’s disease, he showed courage and abiding trust in Jesus that inspired all around him. He was a devoted family man who recently celebrated 60 years of marriage to his wife, Marge. In addition to his widow, he is survived by three sons, Gary, Greg, and Glenn, and five grandchildren all living in the northern Kentucky area; one daughter, Gloria Johnson, and granddaughter who live in Grand Rapids, MI; and one brother, Bill of Greeneville, TN. Memorial gifts in his name may be made to Cincinnati (OH) Christian University.
David Ray Stevenson, 62, of Gerald, MO, died Oct. 11, 2009, at a family residence in Maryville, IL. He was born in Vincennes, IN, on March 13, 1947, to Bertie and Jean (Gosnell) Stevenson. Most recently, he served as senior minister of Antioch Christian Church, Leslie, MO; New Hope Christian Church, Bridgeport, IL; and Rising Sun Christian Church, Lawrenceville, IL. He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Judy; his mother; two daughters; one son; six grandchildren; four stepsons; nine stepgrandchildren; one brother, Don Kimmel of Panama City Beach, FL; and one sister, Wilma Williams of Dodge City, KS. Funeral services were conducted at New Hope Christian Church, Bridgeport, IL, on Oct. 14 with Garth Whewell, minister of Rising Sun Christian Church, officiating. Burial was at Cresthaven Memorial Park Cemetery.
MaryEtta Strong, 98, of Joplin, MO, died July 4, 2009, at Joplin Health and Rehabilitation Center. She was born on Nov. 6, 1910, in Spring Valley, OH, to Walter and Cora (Hudgel) Guy. She earned a master’s degree from Cincinnati (OH) Bible College. She married Edwin B. Strong on Oct. 30, 1932, and assisted in his ministry for many years. Mr. Strong died in 2000. She is survived by one daughter, Annette St. Clair of Joplin; two sons, Edwin Jr. ofKirkwood, MO, and Larry of Arlington, TX; 13 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Burdett William Wakeman, 85, of La Crosse, WI, died April 27, 2009, at his home. He was born Dec. 27, 1923, to Milford Faye and Hazel (Smith) Wakeman in Winona, MN. At 10, he became nationally known for his Little Church in the Garage, a “congregation” of as many as 25 young people who met for church services every Tuesday night in the family garage in the summer and in the family’s basement in winter. Burdett preached as other neighborhood children filled roles as choir director and church secretary. The Associated Press wrote about him, and soon Burdett was speaking in various churches throughout the area, including at La Crosse. He enlisted in the Army in December 1942 and married Elaine Coralynn Jewell on Aug. 14, 1943. Upon his discharge in 1945, he enrolled at Minnesota Bible College, graduating in 1949. During his many years in ministry, he served churches in La Crosse, WI, Marion and Plainview, MN, and Mason City, IA. His ministry in La Crosse started with the First Church of Christ and included the establishment of the Onalaska Church of Christ and Southside Christian Church. Burdett originated the radio program “Something to Live By,” using the radio name Bill Merrill, and the newspaper column “Mindfully Yours,” both syndicated. He also created and hosted the radio program “Evangel Time.” Burdett also wrote a monthly column for CHRISTIAN STANDARD and started the Christian Bible Study Club on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. In recent years, his three grandsons entered the ministry. In addition to his widow, Elaine, he is survived by three daughters, Coralynn Nelson of Joplin, MO, Cheryl Moen of La Crescent, MN, and Rhonda Hardiman of La Crosse; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. A service celebrating Burdett’s life was conducted May 6 at Onalaska (WI) Church of Christ with Richard Pierce, Troy Nelson, Kip Nelson, and Ryan Nelson officiating. Memorials may be made to Gospel Broadcasting Mission, W6485 Birchview Drive, Onalaska, WI 54650; Ozark Christian College, 1111 N. Main St., Joplin, MO 64801; or Crossroads College, 920 Mayowood Road SW, Rochester, MN 55902. Memories may be shared at www.burdettwakeman.com.
Donald Gene Walters, 77, died Aug. 15, 2009, at his home in West Frankfort, IL. He was born April 22, 1932, to Thomas Leroy and Stella (Holmes) Walters. He graduated from Frankfort High School in 1950. He entered Cincinnati (OH) Bible Seminary (now Cincinnati Christian University) where he met and married Darrell Lee Knisley. Upon graduation in 1954, he was ordained by the First Christian Church of West Frankfort. He served with churches in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, and Illinois. He retired in 2007 after preaching for more than 56 years. In addition to his wife of almost 57 years, he is survived by one daughter, Deborah Linn of Bakersfield, CA; one son, David Jeffrey of Gallatin, TN; two grandchildren; and a twin brother, Ronald Lee ofCincinnati.
Allen Thomas Warfield Jr., 97, of Fork, MD, died Nov. 15, 2009. He was a longtime member of Fork Christian Church, a dedicated volunteer at Indian Lake Christian Service Camp, and a life member of the Kingsville (Maryland) Volunteer Fire Department. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mattie Jane Hanners Warfield, and one daughter, Jeanette Willman. He is survived by three children, Carolyn Palmer, Adelia Foard, and Allen Thomas III; four grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
Stephen J. Willis, 65, of Irvine, CA, died Jan. 7, 2009, after battling cancer. Born in Peebles, OH, to Pearl and Lucille Willis, he earned his BA from Cincinnati (OH) Christian University, where he was student council president. He began his 47 years of ministry in Xenia, IL, and Powersville, KY. He married Nancy Parrott on June 4, 1966. They lived in Waukegan, IL, where he served as senior pastor for more than nine years. They moved to Griffith, IN, where he served as senior pastor before moving to Irvine, CA, in January 1977 to begin a new congregation, First Christian Church, where he served until 1994. He earned an MA from Hope International University, Fullerton, CA. His wife, Nancy, died of cancer in 1992. He married Libia Gomez in 1998. He earned his private pilot’s certificate in 1994. He served as an interim pastor at several churches in California from 1998 to 2002, and was a chaplain for the Healthcare Chaplain’s Ministry Association from 1995 to 2003. He served 10 years as Orange County Fire Authority Battalion Chaplain. In 2003 he became chaplain at Irvine Regional Hospital and Medical Center, serving until December 2008. He was known for his kind spirit, wisdom, and love for the Lord. In addition to his widow, he is survived by two daughters, Kimberly and Kristen; one stepson, Diego; two brothers, Daniel and John; and three grandchildren. A memorial service was conducted Jan. 17 at Mission Viejo (CA) Christian Church.
Carol Christine Wright, 58, of Salisbury, MD, died April 17, 2009, at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury. She was born Dec. 19, 1950, on Long Island, NY, to Jesse and Eleanor Medeiros. She was an active member of Liberty Church of Christ in Salisbury; she was a soloist and devotions leader of the ladies’ auxiliary. In addition to her mother, she is survived by one son, Warner of Hebron, MD; one daughter, Heather Riggin of Delmar, MD; six grandchildren; four sisters, Janet Wreden, Marie Medeiros, Julia Hammond, and Joyce Smith; and one brother, David. She was preceded in death by one brother, Jesse, and one sister, Nancy Harding.
Elva Young, wife of L. Palmer Young for 66 years, died Nov. 3, 2009, after a lengthy illness. She was born on Greasy Creek in Leslie County, KY. She was an alumna of Kentucky Christian University and served with her minister husband at Old Orchard Christian Church, Ashland, KY; First Christian Church, Kingsport, TN; South Louisville (KY) Christian Church, and Gardenside and Southern Acres Christian churches, both in Lexington, KY. She also served as “first lady” of Kentucky Christian University during her husband’s 10-year presidency. In addition to her widower, she is survived by three children, Jim, Bob, and Betty; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. She was a member of Tates Creek Christian Church, Lexington, where her memorial service was conducted with ministers Wally Rendel, Tommy Simpson, Brad Walden, and Joe Cooper officiating. Burial was at Lexington Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Kentucky Christian University, Grayson, KY, and Hospice of the Bluegrass, Lexington, KY. Expressions of sympathy may be made to L. Palmer Young, 3338 Nevius Drive, Lexington, KY 40513.