Grace Davis Anderson, Master of Religious Studies ’86, aged 84, Sebring, Florida went home to be with her Lord Jesus Sunday, December 29, 2019. She was born January 26, 1935 in Morristown, Tennessee into the parsonage home of Rev. Harold and Elizabeth Davis. She was a graduate of Mt. Carmel High School, Kentucky Mountain Bible Institute, Asbury College, Asbury Seminary and earned a music degree from Moody Bible Institute. Grace was a talented musician with a gift of an outstanding voice which she used in gospel music in churches, camp meetings, schools, and on the mission fields. She served under World Gospel Mission in Bolivia, South America and on the American Indian Field at the Four Corners in Arizona. She also excelled in art, especially coats of arms. She was a gifted teacher in the Tennessee and Illinois public schools, Mt. Carmel High School, and Ky. Mt. Bible College. In her youthful ministry, Grace joined with her sister Ruth Cundiff in singing duets in churches of different denominations, appealing to all age groups. Though never a mother, she played the role of a mother to her you relatives and students by celebrating their birthdays along with small meaningful gifts. She is survived by three sisters, Ruth (Robert) Cundiff, Mary (Sam) Fisher, Kathryn (David) Bowden; one nephew, Nathan (Sunny) Fisher; five nieces, Melanie (Michael) Harris, Charla (Chuck) Schwartz, Cheryl (Bill) Crane, Debbie (Matt) Merrill, Kathy (Steve) Hazle; nine great nephews, three great nieces.
Rev. Harold Ray Chattin, MDiv ’65, aged 91, of Noblesville, IN passed away Jan. 20, 2020 at Riverview Health in Noblesville. He was born Feb. 26, 1928 at Swayzee, Indiana to Clarence and Cleo (Swann) Chattin. He was a graduate of Washington High School at Washington, IN with the Class of 1947. He honorably served his country during the 1950s in the United States Navy. He then enrolled in Wilmore College at Wilmore, Kentucky and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in 1962. Furthering his education he graduated from Asbury Seminary in 1965, a part of Wilmore College. He then pastored churches in Kentucky and Indiana communities. He married Doris (Troutman) Chattin on March 5, 1950 who was a faithful part of their ministry. Rev. Chattin is a member of Cicero United Methodist Church and the Noblesville American Legion. He enjoyed fishing, gardening, reading and attending family reunions. Survivors include his wife, Doris (Troutman) Chattin; two daughters, Rebecca (William) Brown of Sheridan and Leila (Joe) Baty of Anderson. His parents preceded him in death.
Dr. David L. Cowen, Friend of Asbury, aged 85, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on December 27, 2019. Dr. Cowen’s medical career spanned more than 45 years, the last 30 of which were spent at the University of Kentucky. He was initially recruited to the Department of Community Medicine in 1974 and eventually became Chairman. During the ensuing years, he served as Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, Chief of Staff of the Kentucky Hospital, acting chairman of several other departments, Medical Director of Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital and several other roles. After his retirement from UK, Dr. Cowen served for several years as Medical Director of Refuge Clinic. In addition to his storied medical career, Dr. Cowen served as a Discussion Leader in Bible Study Fellowship for over 20 years, a ministry that enriched his life and the lives of many others. He was also an active member of Centenary United Methodist Church and then Tates Creek Presbyterian Church. More important than anything listed above, Dr. Cowen was a servant. In his roles as physician, husband, father, grandfather and friend, he exemplified the characteristics of a servant to the fullest. He put others first and made it his life’s work to show the love of Christ to his family, his neighbors, his patients, and to any he came across who needed a kind touch or a listening ear. Dr. Cowen is survived by his children: Laura McCollum (Steve), David Cowen (Katrina), Greg Cowen (Selena), and Rebecca Cowen-Hirsch (John); his grandchildren: Tyler (Cati), Hannah, Joel, Spencer, Caleb, Bailey, Brynn, Micah and Ian; great-granddaughter Eloise; his three sisters and many other loving family and friends. Dr. Cowen was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Sandra, as well as his parents and brothers.
William Carey Gibson, MDiv ’02, aged 68, of Gainesville, passed away Saturday January 18, 2020 at his residence. Rev. Gibson was born in Atlanta, Ga. in 1951. He attended Georgia Tech studying Information Systems and later received his Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. He was honored to pastor several United Methodist Churches in the surrounding area including Oakwood UMC, Jefferson First UMC and Young Harris UMC. He was preceded in death by his Parents, William Claude Gibson, Jr. and Eloise Weeks Gibson and Son in law, Mark Farrar. Survivors include his beloved wife, Lynn Gibson; Daughters, Heather Farrar, Becca Smith and her husband, Stephen; Son, Bill Gibson and his wife Laura; Grandchildren, Wesley Gibson, Hannah Farrar, Delilah Farrar, Adyson Farrar, Hudson Smith and Rhett Smith; Sister, Gay Wages and her husband Danny. A host of other relatives and friends also survive. Those desiring to leave online condolences may do so at littledavenport.com.
Reverend Dr. Jiles Ellsworth Kirkland, age 91, passed away on Sunday, December 29, 2019 at JF Keever Solace Center. Born February 10, 1928, in Dover, Florida. Graduated from Plant City High School in Florida in 1946, where he lettered two years in baseball and the Philadelphia Phillies attempted to draft him. He started preaching when he was 16 years old and has served a church since he was 18 years old, having received his first assignment as a senior in high school when he became founding pastor of Trinity Methodist Church in Plant City, in 1946. Received A.B. from Asbury College, Wilmore Kentucky in 1950, with a major in history. Attended Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky for two years, then attended Garrett Evangelical Seminary, Evanston, Illinois, for two years and received the Master of Divinity in 1954. Served churches for eight years during student years in Kentucky and Illinois. Served Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Kentucky 1950-52; Oconee, Illinois Charge, 1952-54. Married Dorothy Eloise Gates, high school and college sweetheart, in 1949. There are three children; Ms. Marsha Kay Kirkland, Willis Nelon and Jiles Ellsworth, Jr.; eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Admitted on Trial and ordained Deacon in the Florida Annual Conference of The Methodist Church in 1951. Received into full connection and ordained Elder in 1954. Upon graduation from Seminary in 1954, he was assigned to a vacant lot in a rapidly growing suburban area in Tampa, Florida where he organized the Manhattan Avenue Methodist Church. During his ten-year ministry there over 1,800 members were received into the church; two educational buildings were built; and a Sanctuary completed in 1963. The Sanctuary was selected by TOGETHER magazine, along with four other churches in the United States, and featured in the November 1964 issue for their symbolism and architectural distinctiveness. He was appointed to the 1,800-member First United Methodist Church of South Miami, Florida in 1964. A major Building Fund campaign resulted in the construction of an educational building in 1968. Served one term as President of the Greater Miami Ministerial Association. Appointed Pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Bradenton, Florida, in June 1969, where he served until 1977. A lovely new parsonage was built and extensive renovation and building improvements were accomplished on the Church, including an elevator. In 1977, he was appointed Senior Pastor of the Riverside Park United Methodist Church, Jacksonville, Florida. While there he led in two major building fund campaigns and began major renovations. Also, a nine-story low-income housing complex for the elderly was constructed in 1982. In 1983 he was appointed Senior Pastor of the First United Methodist Church, Winter Park, Florida. The church celebrated its Centennial in 1985, and burned the mortgage on a $1,200,000 building program five years early. Past offices held: District Secretary of Evangelism; District Missionary Secretary; member conference Work Area on Worship; Chairperson, Conference Work Area on Stewardship; a member of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry; Chairperson of the Ministerial Education Fund of the Conference; Chairperson of Orlando District Committee on Ordained Ministry. During his forty years in the parish ministry, fourteen men and one woman have answered the call to preach. Honorary Degrees: Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky (his Alma Mater) conferred the degree of Doctor of Divinity, May 28, 1973. On July 28, 1990, Bethune-Cookman College, Daytona Beach, Florida conferred the degree of Doctor of Divinity. Dr. Kirkland’s primary avocation has been to host tours abroad, which he has been doing since 1966. Over 500 people have traveled with him to Western Europe, the Iron Curtain countries, Middle East, Africa, Far East (including China), South Pacific, Hawaii, Alaska and Canada, as well as South and Central America. This included all continents and some 70 countries. His hobbies were photography, and massive amounts of reading. He recently completed his 13th reading of the Bible. In 1986, Dr. Kirkland was appointed District Superintendent of the Sarasota District of The United Methodist Church by Bishop Earl G. Hunt, Jr. In May of 1992, he gave the Baccalaureate address at Asbury College and received the President’s Distinguished Service Award for his special contributions to the work of Asbury College. On May 27, 1992, Dr. Kirkland retired from the active ministry after 40 years as a Pastor and six years as a District Superintendent. Since retiring from the ministry in 1992, Dr. Kirkland has resided in Waynesville, North Carolina, and called his mountaintop home, “Mt. Nebo.” His beloved wife, Eloise, resided with him until her death in September 2015. Dr. Kirkland continued writing his annual Easter and Christmas letters which reached many souls over the years and warmed and inspired many hearts. Dr. Kirkland is survived by a daughter, Marsha Kay Kirkland; two sons, W. Nelon Kirkland and Jiles E. Kirkland, Jr.; eight grandchildren, Kourtney Beall, Carlton Beall (Taryn), Brianne Russo (Giovanni), Bryant Kirkland, Cristin Rumler (Jeff), Connor Kirkland, Chloe Kirkland and Jiles Kirkland, III; four great-grandchildren, Josiah Liam Beall, Lydia Jayne Beall, Jacob Kirkland Russo and Zoey Mae Rumler.
Aying Sampath Konyak, DMin, aged 47, went to be with the Lord. She was a current student of Asbury Seminary from India who was a faculty member at a Bible school in North India. She is survived by her husband, Rev. Sampath Prakash.
Robert Linaberry-Charis, MDiv ’80, aged 75, died January 5, 2020 at Agrace Hospice in Fitchburg, WI. Robert (Bob) was born on November 1, 1944 to Leslie and Mary Jane (Schmidt) Linaberry in Milwaukee. When Bob was young, his family moved to Westfield where he spent his childhood. Bob attended the University of Wisconsin River Falls where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. He enlisted and served in the US Army Reserve from July 1966 – June 1975 as a Social Work Specialist. Bob married Sandy Jensen after college and they had two sons, Scott and Brian. After owning and operating a feed mill equipment business for several years, Bob heard the call to ministry and returned to school at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky for his master’s degree. As a United Methodist Minister, Bob served at Bethlehem UMC in Blackhawk, WI and at the Medford, Rib Lake and Dorchester UMCs. In 1986, Bob re-enlisted in the US Air Force Reserve, studied at the United States Air Force Chaplain School in Montgomery, AL, and served as a Commissioned Chaplain from 1986-2004. On July 16, 1988, Bob started a new chapter in his life when he married Bonnie Taylor in Perkinstown, WI, with whom he spent the rest of his years on one adventure after another. After resigning from church ministry, Bob bought and operated a bike and ski shop in Medford for a time, but the need to minister would not let him go. Bob sold the shop and served as a hospice chaplain at St. Mary’s in Duluth, MN, and later as a part-time chaplain in Wausau. He truly loved his job and had a natural gift for making connections and counseling those in need. Bob was a proud member of the United Methodist Church and music lover. He was a member of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America and an Optimist International volunteer. He was also a member of the Association of Professional Chaplains. Bob had a passion for travel, and he and Bonnie spent two full years touring and camping throughout North America. He loved the solitude and beauty of the outdoors. Bob often felt the most connected with God while immersed in natural environments. Social connections were also important to him, and he was able to form bonds with complete strangers anywhere he went. People were drawn to his compassionate nature and love of life, and he never forgot a name. In recent years his favorite pastimes included jokes that might or might not be funny and launching terrible puns at innocent bystanders, usually on social media. Bob is survived by his wife, Bonnie; sons, Scott (Missy) Linaberry and their children, Sagan & Toryn; Brian (Tammy) Linaberry and their children, Max & Emma; Tom (Sarah) Runyon and their children, Kirsten & Austin. He is also survived by his sister, Cindy Giese, and extended family members. Bob is preceded in death by his parents; ex-wife, Sandy; and an infant brother who died at birth.
Melvine S. Morgan, aged 85, from Winder, Georgia, has passed away on January 17, 2020. She was the wife of 59 years to The Rev. Dr. Hugh H. Morgan. She was predeceased by : her parents, Russell Holbrook and Mary Frances Shropshire Stewart; her sister Ann Russelline Stewart Fulcher; her son Christopher Todd; and her siblings-in-law, Lawrence Fulcher, R. H. McDuff and Mary Evelyn Morgan McDuff. She is survived by : her husband Hugh Holmes Morgan; and her son Gregory Holmes Morgan. She is also survived by cousins, nephews and nieces.
Joe was active in ministry beyond the local church, serving on the Board of Trustees of Indian Springs Holiness Campground, the Emmaus Community, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the Mission Society for United Methodists (now TMS Global), The Foundation for Evangelism, The Congress on Evangelism, Family Promise, and as a delegate to jurisdictional and general conference of the United Methodist Church. Joe is survived by his sons Joe (Allison) of Locust Grove and Andy of Conyers; grandsons, Parker and Ashton; brothers Walton (Jackie) Henry (Nancy), Eddie (Karla), John (Kay); sister-in-law Betty Howell; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Dale Alfred Sherry, MDiv ’60, aged 89, son of Ralph and Marguerite Sherry, was born in Mishawaka, IN on October 13, 1930. He married Charlene Everest in South Bend, IN, at the Gospel Center Church, on June 6, 1952. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, on March 5, 2019; and sister, Patricia Ann Welford on September 18, 2018.Dale is survived by his children, Thomas Edward of PA, Jon Witwer of Sturgis, MI, and Robert James (Tricia) of South Bend, IN; grandchildren, Stefanie Sherry (Andrew Erp), Megan Sherry, Geoffrey Sherry (Anna Alexander), Victoria Sherry, Alicia (Matthew) Ebright, Kayla Sherry, and Austin Sherry; and great-grandchildren, Ezekiel James Sherry, Alaynah Faith Sherry, and Madison Marie Sherry. Also surviving are his nephews, Craige (Joy) Johnson of Mishawaka, Jeff Johnson of PA, and Phillip (Elizabeth) Johnson of Mishawaka, and great-nieces and nephews.Dale was a graduate of Mishawaka High School and from Bethel College, Mishawaka with a B.A. degree in Biblical Literature. He received an M. Div. degree from Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY. Dale served churches in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan as pastor or supporting positions in youth, music, or associate capacity. He traveled widely presenting Biblical Drama and Music programs in churches of nearly 50 denominations, in 19 states and two provinces.For 22 years, Dale was the announcer for “Your Worship Hour” broadcasts. He was soloist for “Sunrise Meditations.” In recent years, Dale served as soloist for Hubbard Hill Chapel Services.
Dr. James “Jim” Edwin Usher, MDiv ’70, aged 76, of Xenia, Ohio, was born August 27, 1943 in Meridian, Mississippi to Bostick and Cynthia Usher. He died December 15, 2019 in Huntsville Hospital in Alabama from an undetermined recurring illness which has stymied doctors for more than two years. He had come to Alabama to celebrate Thanksgiving with family when he fell ill. In high school he was a four-time state tennis champion and continued playing into his early 70s. During his Anderson College years he played and coached the tennis team and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2011. He enjoyed playing tennis with his son-in-law and was happy when his granddaughters took up the game. He graduated from Meridian (Mississippi) High School in 1961, Anderson (Indiana) College in 1965, Asbury (Kentucky) Seminary, in 1970, and earned a Doctor of Ministry from Anderson Theological Seminary in 2009. An ordained minister of the Church of God for 53 years, he loved to study and write. He didn’t want to be addressed by fancy titles like Reverend or Doctor, preferring to be called Jimmy, or Brother Jimmy. Jimmy developed a passion for missions when a seminary assignment sent him to the inner city. He traveled to over 40 countries around the world. For a time, he and his son had a contest to see who had been to the most countries, but when Jeremy began work for the UN Jimmy conceded defeat. He particularly loved spending time in Italy with his son’s family. He was humbled to have met Mother Teresa on a trip to India and spoke often of his four trips to Israel where he was able to spend a meditative week by the Sea of Galilee. He went so often to Honduras over a period of thirty years that he considered it a second home. In 1989 he made his first trip to Honduras with his friend Charlie Smith. When Charlie founded Heart to Honduras, Jimmy was by his side, leading North Americans on short term trips. In 2013 Jimmy published a biography of his friend’s life: Charlie: A Man After God’s Own Heart. In 2009 he took the first steps toward founding Prayer Plan Missions to Honduras. From that point on he made about six trips a year to oversee the work, always looking for ways he could minister to marginalized people. He demonstrated that this work could be done without soliciting or borrowing funds, but just by prayer and informing interested people about needs and letting the Holy Spirit impress them to give. Jimmy loved to read, write, and preach. Throughout his life he spent many hours every day reading the Bible and books about Christian living. At the time of his death he had begun writing a book on faith. He wrote and preached many sermons as pastor of four churches (First Church of God, Huntsville, Alabama; The Worship Center/Twelfth Avenue Church of God, Arab, Alabama; Roundtop Church, Falkville, Alabama, and Ledbetter Road Church of God, Xenia, Ohio). He was 16 years old when he preached his first sermon and 76 when he preached his last one. On November 10, 2019 he was very weak and was forced to sit down to deliver that final message with the theme “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.” In sixty years of preaching and fifty years in foreign missions, his life demonstrated that small beginnings can bear much fruit. Jimmy Usher was a man of faith who believed that God would lead him to places and people to serve. During what many people deem “retirement years”, he launched the “small beginnings” of a ministry to Honduras called Prayer Plan Missions and adopting as its “mascot” the wild goose, a Celtic symbol of the Holy Spirit. This ministry of small beginnings continues as a testament to his belief in following the “Wild Goose”. Jimmy is survived by his wife of 52 years, Carol Lynne, his son Jeremy (Daniela), his daughter Sonja (Garth), grandchildren Alexander and Nicholas, Meredith and Micah; by his brother Tom (Stephanie), sisters Nancy and Beverly, and several nieces and nephews including Stacey whom he raised as a daughter after her mother passed away, and Cindy who serves as board chair for his mission to Honduras. He was predeceased by his parents and by his sisters Myrtle and Glenda.
Rev. H. Frank Van Valin, MDiv ’55, aged 88, of Pigeon, passed into the care of his Lord Jesus Christ on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at Scheurer Hospital in Pigeon. Frank was born June 28, 1931 to the late Rev. Howard and Pearl (Hodges) Van Valin in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Joyce Imhoff Van Valin and his brother Forest Van Valin. Frank earned his BA from Greenville College (1955), an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary (1955), and a ThM from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (1957). He served the Free Methodist Church USA from 1955 until his retirement in 1999. His first appointment was to the Frankstown Ave. FM Church in Pittsburgh (now Penn Hills FM Church, 1955-1960). He then served as an editor for the FM Publishing House in Winona Lake, Indiana (1960-1961). He was then appointed to the Dearborn FM Church (1961-1973). He was elected Superintendent of the Southern Michigan Conference of the Free Methodist Church (1973-1977). After pastorates at the Greenville FM Church, Illinois (1977-1986) and Drayton Heights FM Church, Clarkston (1986-1990), he returned to Southern Michigan to pastor the Milan FM Church (1990-1993). After his initial retirement in 1993, he served interim pastorates at New Middletown FM Church, Ohio and then at Ogemaw Hills FM Church in West Branch. In 1998 he moved to Caseville and provided pulpit supply at Salem United Methodist Church and Kinde and Chandler Presbyterian Churches. He served the larger Free Methodist Church USA as General Conference Delegate, the national Board of Administration, and the Free Methodist Foundation Investment Committee. He contributed as a writer and editor for the Aldersgate curriculum series. He was the last surviving member of the Light and Life Hour Quartet and also served on the editorial team for Light and Life Magazine. He is survived by his wife, Carol Van Valin of Pigeon; brother Harold Van Valin of Washington; children Paul Van Valin of Virginia, J. Mark Van Valin of Detroit, Carol Van Valin Rau of West Branch, and Steve Van Valin of Missouri; 14 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.
Rev. Gale T. Wetzel, MDiv ’67, aged 82, was born to Carter Thomas and Dorothy Glidon Bennett Wetzel who resided in Rumsey, Kentucky on September 29, 1937. He was also preceded in death by a sister Marlene Ann Wetzel Ashby. Gale went home to be with the Lord January 6, 2020 at the Franklin Medical Center in Franklin. A funeral service will be held at 1:00pm Saturday, January 11, 2020 at the First United Methodist Church in Franklin. Burial will follow the service in Crescent Hill Cemetery in Scottsville, KY. Gale graduated from Calhoun High School in 1955, attended Murray State College and graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College in 1962 with a BA degree. He graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in 1967 with a Masters of Divinity. Gale married Nancy Duessa Gumm June 3, 1962. They had two children Dorothy Pauline “Paula” (deceased) and Owen Thomas (Pat) who resides in Louisville. In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by eight grandchildren Julia-Caitlin Laster, Emma-Thomas Laster, Kay Cantwell, Haley Wetzel, Hannah Wetzel, Kyle Winter, Abigale Winter, Tanya Winter and one great grandchild Violetta Marie Winter. Additionally, he is survived by a brother James Bennett Wetzel (Beth) and two nieces Ruth Scalan and Jann Daugherty (Chad) and two nephews Tom Wetzel (Jennifer) and Todd Wetzel (Heather) along with great nieces, great nephews and great great nephews, son in law Eric Winter (Chris) and brother in law Tommy Ashby. Gale preached his first sermon December 29, 1959 and continued preaching for 60 years. He pastored churches for 10 years before entering into full time evangelism. He preached in over 1200 revivals. He did 43 overseas mission trips including Russia, India, Montserrat, West Indies, Antigua, Dominican Republic, Sierrra Leone West Africa, Ghana, West Africa, Togo, Africa and Zimbabwe, Africa. In 1996 Gale Began pastoring churches along with his Evangelistic Ministry. Gale was a State Certified Volunteer Chaplain doing ministry in the state prisons. He served for 24 years at the Green River Correctional Complex, retiring June 6, 2019. He also provided ministry in jails. Gale was instrumental in taking many people with him on his mission trips. He inspired many to serve in prison and jail ministry. Gale’s passion was winning people to Jesus Christ. He copiled a booklet concerning Reading the Bible Through In One Year and Four Basic Things That You Need to Know which he used to witness to people. Memorial gifts may be made to Kentucky United Methodist Home for Children, 1115 Ashgrove Rd, Nicholasville, KY 40356, Asbury Theological Seminary, 204 N. Lexington Ave., Wilmore, KY 40390 or First United Methodist Church, 107 N. College Street, Franklin, KY. 42134. Online condolences may be made at www.craftonfuneralhome.com.