Obituaries for 2013


Betty Katherine Butterworth, 85, died Jan. 11, 2013, in Santa Clara, CA. She was born March 8, 1927, in East Los Angeles, CA, to Louis and Helen Johnson and spent her early years in Montebello, CA. She married Ralph Butterworth in 1947 and moved to Santa Clara in 1953. Through the years, she kept busy raising her family and working on charitable projects. The master knitter created and donated items for a small church in Kenwood, CA, to support its annual fund-raising efforts. She also knitted afghans, baby blankets, hats, scarves, and other items to help friends’ families, and to support the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her remarkable knitting talents led to her involvement in adult education, where she assisted with stitchery classes. She published her memoirs, and also contributed personal stories and recipes to a book written and compiled by students in her memoirs classes. She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Ralph; one sister, Louise Graham; four children, Darrell of Albuquerque, NM, Teri Heberling of San Jose, CA, Lauri Dilbeck of Santa Clara, and William of Gurnee, IL; nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. She was a longtime faithful member of Central Christian Church of San Jose. A memorial service was conducted February 10 at Central Christian Church, with John Heberling officiating.

Lauren David “Larry” Girdwood, 64, of Richmond, IN, died Sept. 26, 2013. He was born Dec. 6, 1948, in Owosso, MI, the son of Laurence Joseph and Marguerite Ann Dean Girdwood. He received a BSL degree from Great Lakes Christian College, Lansing, MI, in 1971, an MA in practical ministry from Cincinnati (OH) Christian University in 1999, and also attended the Billy Graham School of Evangelism and Wheaton (IL) College. He served in ministry in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Indiana. He was a minister with Whitewater Christian Church, Richmond, IN, at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Phyllis Ashcraft Girdwood; two sons, David of Plainfield, IL, and Michael of Fort Thomas, KY; three grandchildren; one sister, Doris Richards of Jackson, MI; and four brothers, Robert of Berkley, MI, James of Grayson, KY, Wilfred of Greenfield, IN, and Daniel of Grand Rapids, MI. He was preceded in death by one sister, Evelyn Girdwood. Troy Beckner, associate minister of Whitewater Christian Church, C. Gene McElroy, and Randy Brady conducted a life celebration on Sept. 30 at the Whitewater Christian Church. Online condolences may be expressed at

Edna Marjorie Hunt, 94, a missionary to India, Bible teacher, nurse, traveler, and friend, died July 2, 2013, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She overcame huge challenges to share her life and love of the Lord with many people around the world. She was born May 16, 1919, the youngest of five children, on a prairie farm north of Lethbridge, Alberta. Her mother died when Edna was 9 months old. After her family broke up, her grandmother cared for her and introduced her to the Lord. When she was 15, her grandmother suffered a stroke and died the following year. Edna was on her own at 16. Since her baptism by Dr. C.H. Phillips in the Lethbridge Church at age 8, she had found the Lord to be her friend and the church her place of connection. She worked to pay her way through Alberta Bible College in six years. She received an invitation to serve with Dr. Zoena Rothermel in northern India after graduation from ABC in 1945. That November, she left for India with Tom and Leota Rash, on a troop ship that was to bring soldiers home for Christmas. She arrived in North India in a region torn with ethnic strife, before partition and the creation of Pakistan. She learned to speak Hindi and live in a different culture, while depending on her Lord. She spent 20 years in Kulpahar, North India, teaching in a Bible college, doing medical work, and helping out at the Kulpahar Kids Home. In 1965 she returned to Canada, studied practical nursing, and got a job at the new Foothills Hospital. Over the next 20 years, while working at the hospital, she also taught a weekly Bible study. Through the years she was an active member of the congregations that became Bow Valley Christian Church (Central Church, Tuxedo Park Church of Christ, and Cambrian Heights Church of Christ). Her many areas of service included teaching Sunday school and women’s Bible studies, and serving as Sunday school superintendent, among many others. She also sent an untold number of cards and letters of encouragement to missionaries and others. Among her passions were Pine Lake Christian Camp and Alberta Bible College. She taught missions at ABC for many years and was the first woman trustee of the college. Services were conducted at Bow Valley Christian Church. Memorial contributions may be made to Alberta Bible College, 635 Northmount Drive N.W. Calgary, AB T2K 3J6.

Thomas W. Morgart, 62, of Newnan, GA, a minister of the gospel for more than 40 years, died Oct. 26, 2013. He was a retired Christian church minister, and was ordained into the Christian ministry Dec. 31, 1972, at his home church, North River Avenue Church of Christ, Toronto, OH. A graduate of Atlanta Christian College (now Point University), he served as youth minister with Central Christian Church, Atlanta, GA, and First Christian Church, Jonesboro, GA. As a senior minister, he served the West Hills Christian Church, Coraopolis, PA, and First Christian Church, Jonesboro, GA. He served as an interim associate with Mount Carmel Christian Church, Stone Mountain, GA, and as associate minister with Peachtree City (GA) Christian Church. He also served as forwarding agent for Burton Doyle, and in recent years, as a hospice chaplain in metro Atlanta. He was preceded in death by his father, Samuel E. Morgart Jr. He is survived by his widow, Gail of Newnan, GA; one son, Sam of Sharpsburg, GA; two daughters, Kimi Cater of Palmetto, GA, and Nicole Harbin of Alpharetta, GA; his mother, Shirley Aldridge of Palmetto, GA; one sister, Shirl White of Columbus, OH; and four grandchildren. Services in Georgia were officiated by Dwayne Klepal of Snellville, GA, and Mike Wall of Carrollton, GA; Ohio services were officiated by Don Brookshire of Pittsburgh, PA, and Sean Kelly of Greenford, OH. Burial was at Fort Steuben Burial Estates in Wintersville, OH.

Calvin Luther Phillips, 88, longtime minister and former president and chancellor of Emmanuel School of Religion (now Emmanuel Christian Seminary), Johnson City, TN, died in Elizabethton, TN, on Sept. 11, 2013, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. The son of Luther and Jessie Phillips was born on the family farm in Belmont County, OH, on Sept. 11, 1925. He was preceded in death in 1995 by Gail German Phillips, his wife of 49 years. His widow, Sally Rollins Phillips, died a few days after her husband, on Sept. 15, 2013, in Ohio. One sister, Arlene Phillips, also preceded him in death. He is survived by three sisters, Laura Nelle, and Lillie and Elaine Phillips; five children, Patricia Magness of Elizabethton, TN, Phil Phillips of Hebron, OH, Penny Phillips of Rehoboth Beach, DE, Robin Phillips of Cleveland, OH, and Joy Phillips of Annapolis, MD; one stepdaughter, Linda Green of Bellefontaine, OH; four grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; as well as step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren.
He entered Cincinnati (OH) Bible Seminary (now Cincinnati Christian University) in 1941, where he met Gail Myrtle German. They married in 1946 and ministered with the Church of Christ in Rushsylvania, OH, while he completed his bachelor and master’s degrees. In 1952, he received a BDiv degree from Butler School of Religion, Indianapolis, IN. In 1981, he was honored with a DDiv from Milligan College in Tennessee, and in 1982 he received a DMin degree from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. In 1950, the couple moved to Hammond, IN, to serve South Side Christian Church, working there for 34 years. Mr. Phillips had a heart for urban ministry, and provided visionary leadership for the Chicago District Evangelistic Association (now IGNITE) in the area of church planting.
He also served many years as editor of Evangel, a regional publication. In addition, he provided significant leadership for Lake Region Christian Assembly, the regional Christian service camp, and was active in the local ministerial association and in Hammond’s civic associations.
During his time at South Side Christian Church, the congregation grew consistently and undertook several building and remodeling programs. Eventually he led the congregation in relocating to a larger property and constructing a new building. Christian education, from the nursery to the Senior Saints, was a hallmark of his ministry, as was powerful preaching and close personal relationships with the people of the congregation.
While at South Side, he served on the boards of three graduate seminaries: Lincoln (IL) Christian Seminary, Cincinnati Christian Seminary, and Emmanuel School of Religion. A highlight of his ministry was serving as president of the North American Christian Convention in Louisville, KY, in 1981.
In 1984, he became president of Emmanuel School of Religion, where his wife served by his side until her death in 1995. He retired from the presidency after 10 years, but served as chancellor of Emmanuel for 10 more years, and then continued as a goodwill ambassador for the school until his death. He worked for the establishment of the Doctor of Ministry program at Emmanuel. He loved recruiting students, visiting donors, and mentoring ministers.
He married Sally Rollins in 1996, and they served in interim ministries at Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, MD, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Zanesville, OH, and Grandview Christian Church in Johnson City, TN. He was an elder for many years at First Christian Church in Johnson City, and was an active member of the Win-a-Couple Sunday school class until late in life.
Sally faithfully cared for him throughout his battle with Parkinson’s disease, helping him maintain an active life and ministry. He enjoyed traveling, visiting all 50 states and leading many trips abroad.
He was immensely proud of his children, and also loved students, preachers, and the church. He encouraged everyone he met to read, learn, ask, and believe. Arrangements were by the Appalachian Funeral Home, Johnson City, TN.
Services were Sept. 14 in the chapel of Emmanuel Christian Seminary, and Sept. 16 at the Belmont Ridge Christian Church near Beallsville, OH.
A graveside committal service followed at the Belmont Ridge Christian Church Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Emmanuel Christian Seminary, 1 Walker Drive, Johnson City, TN 37601.
Memories and condolences may be shared at

Donald Wayne Smith, 85, died Jan. 25, 2013, in Williamsport, IN, where he had lived the past 3.5 years. He was born March 31, 1927, in Nevada, IA, the son of Ward Smith and Florence Vail. He served in the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1947. He married Dora Jean Luginbuhl of Bluffton, OH, on May 9, 1950. He was a 1969 graduate of Pacific Christian College in Long Beach, CA. He served as a minister in the Christian churches/churches of Christ for 59 years in Iowa, Alaska, Arizona, California, and Oregon (including Lincoln City, Prineville, McDowell Creek, Franklin, and Turner), before retiring in 2006. He most recently served as minister to seniors at Turner (OR) Christian Church, where he and his wife lived before moving to Indiana in 2009. He was preceded in death by an infant daughter, Sharon Sue; his parents, Ward Smith and Florence Vail; his stepfather, Lester Vail; and three brothers, Dale, Richard, and Max. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Dora Jean (Luginbuhl) Smith; one son, Stephen of Lafayette, IN; one daughter, Barbara Keeton of Williamsport, IN; one sister, Thelma Haley of Nevada, IA; five grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. A celebration of his life was conducted at Hickman Heights Christian Church in Warren County, IN, on Feb. 17, and at Turner (OR) Christian Church on April 4, D. H. Shearer officiating. Private interment was at Twin Oaks Cemetery in Turner, OR.

John A. Snyder, 84, of Hammond, IN, died on Aug. 2, 2013. He graduated from Cincinnati (OH) Bible College in 1958 and did graduate work at Lincoln (IL) Christian Seminary. He served churches in Falmouth, KY, and Cincinnati, OH, before starting a 42-year ministry with the First Christian Church of Hessville in Hammond, IN. He retired in 2001 but continued preaching and serving in the Chicago area. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Connie; four children, Randy, Jim, Sandy Batchelar, and Cathy Weber; seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. A memorial service was conducted by Dan Nichols, senior minister of the Hessville church, with the four children sharing memories and tributes to their father.

Edward Bunyan Spencer, 86, of Winterville, NC, a minister and teacher, died May 20, 2013. He was raised in Bradford County, PA, one of seven children born to the late Myles VanFleet and Madeline Doris Bunyan Spencer. He was a graduate of Manhattan (Kansas) Christian College and also attended Eastern Christian College. He served as a minister and teacher in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kansas, and North Carolina. He was also preceded in death by three brothers, Tom, Bob, and Hank; and one sister, Sharon Spencer. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Beverly Jane Draper; one son, Dirck of Winterville; one daughter, Kim Winstead of Winterville; two brothers, Jake of Monroeton, PA, and Joe of Webster, NY; and three grandchildren. A memorial service will be conducted May 25 at University Church of Christ, Greenville, NC. Memorial contributions may be made to TCM International Institute, P.O. Box 24560, Indianapolis, IN 46224,; Mission Services Association, 2004 E. Magnolia Ave, Knoxville, TN 37917,; or Literature and Teaching Ministries, P.O. Box 645, Joplin, MO 64802,

Floyd M. Strater, 88, of Laguna Hills, CA, died Nov. 2, 2013. He was born Feb. 3, 1925, in Joplin, MO. At 16, he preached his first sermon at Villa Heights Christian Church in Joplin. He graduated from Manhattan (KS) Bible College, preaching his way through college at area churches. He served five years as a traveling evangelist in the Midwest, then served in senior ministry positions with First Christian Church, Drumright, OK; Davis Park Christian Church, Enid, OK; Westside Christian Church, Springfield, IL; and then 20 years with Knott Avenue Christian Church, Anaheim, CA, where attendance grew from 500 to 1,900. He was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Midwest Christian College (which merged with Ozark Christian College, Joplin, MO, in 1985) and Pacific Christian College (now Hope International University), Fullerton, CA. He also served as chairman of the board for Midwest Christian College, Lincoln (IL) Christian College, and Hope International University. For 13 years he served as executive director of the Southern California Evangelistic Association, which in association with Hope International University (HIU) and Church Development Fund, helped start new churches and trained church planters in the Southern California area. He served as president of the North American Christian Convention in 1983. After his retirement from KACC in 1998, he continued to preach in interim positions throughout California and worked as a church relations officer at HIU. He also served as a member of Standard Publishing’s Publishing Committee for almost 40 years. He was passionate about reaching people for Christ. He and his wife, Betty, celebrated 66 years of marriage on June 1. In addition to his widow, survivors include one son, Ron; two daughters, Debbie Sempsrott and Kim Hamilton; and five grandchildren. A public “Celebration of Life” service will be held at Knott Avenue Christian Church, Anaheim, CA, at 11 a.m. Nov. 23. A reception will follow. Condolences may be left through the Forest Lawn Cypress website,, or mailed to Betty Strater at 24000 Alicia Parkway, Suite 17, P.O. Box 465, Mission Viejo, CA 92691.

Helen R. Swengel, 92, of Franklin, IN, died Dec. 24, 2013, at the Indiana Masonic Home Medical Center in Franklin. She entered the Masonic Home in 1985, where she ministered to the other residents in many ways, including a weekly special program called “Inspirational Treasures” where she read poems and Scripture. She also conducted a Bible study and led Saturday morning devotions. She was born Jan. 15, 1921, in Bargersville, IN, to William “Bill” and Jessie M. Roe. She married Francis Swengel in 1941. They owned and operated several Swengel’s Ice Cream stores in Indianapolis before Mr. Swengel’s death in 1981. She attended Bargersville Christian Church and University Heights Christian Church before becoming a charter member of Southport Heights Christian Church in Indianapolis. She was active in missionary work and was a 50-year member of Lake James School of Missions. She did public speaking about missions at numerous colleges and camps, including several in Canada and India. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by six brothers, Frank, Lewis, Leo, Arnold, George, and Robert “Bob” Roe. Survivors include two sisters, Patricia Funk of Chatham, IL, and Edna Roe of Indianapolis. Burial was at Reddington Cemetery in Jackson County, IN. Memorial contributions may be made to the Missionary Fund at Southport Heights Christian Church, 7154 McFarland Road, Indianapolis, IN 46227.

Alice Lorraine (Allred) Wiener, 90, of Mason, OH, died Jan. 17, 2013. She married Paul E. Wiener in November 1950 and was his devoted wife for 62 years, helping him in his ministries in Ohio and Michigan. In addition to her husband, she is survived by three children, Beth Brokaw of Louisville, KY, Blake Wiener of Schaumburg, IL, and Rebecca Ballinger of Independence, KY; and three grandchildren. She led a life of faithful Christian service. After graduating from Cincinnati (OH) Bible Seminary, she organized the youth ministry at First Christian Church in Springfield, OH, and worked as secretary to the minister. As a housewife and mother of three, she still found time to teach Bible School, lead music for children’s church, and speak at women’s retreats. In Cincinnati, OH, she served as an editor and writer at Standard Publishing Company, and then as a secretary at White Oak Christian Church. At First Christian Church in Canton, OH, she was secretary to the senior minister and office manager; she also taught the Dorcas Class. She exemplified the kind humility and patient service of Jesus Christ, and found time each day for prayer and Bible study. She worked sacrificially to see her children through college and welcomed missionaries into her home. She played the piano and sang as a soloist in church choirs, and in various groups throughout her lifetime, including the Mother Singers of Canton and the Ambassadors of Mason (OH) Christian Village.

Roger O. Williams, 66, of Trotwood, OH, died Aug. 17, 2013, at his home. He was born April 4, 1947, in Grand Rapids, MI, to the late John Williams and June (Kinney). On Sept. 1, 1967, he married Twila Armstrong, who survives. Also surviving are two sons, John of York, PA, and Ben of Moberly, MO; two daughters, Martha Stalhood of Tipp City, OH, and Rebecca Homan of New Lebanon, OH; and 10 grandchildren. He was a graduate of Brookville (IN) High School and received a bachelor’s degree from Cincinnati (OH) Bible Seminary and a master’s degree from Louisville (KY) Bible College. Roger and Twila met in Bible college and all of their children attended the same college. He served as a preacher in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. Services were conducted at the First Church of Christ, Fort Recovery, OH, with Rod Beheler officiating. Burial was at Spring Hill Cemetery in Fort Recovery. Memorial contributions may be made to Show Hope Adoption Agency.

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