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Alumni Obituaries, January 2013


BUCK-Stan R. (2003, DMin), 52, of Fort Wayne, died Sunday at his home. Born in Muncie, he is survived by his father Charles Buck of Portland, and Lucille Harris, Muncie. Other survivors include his wife of 31 years Kathleen Buck; two daughters and two brothers. He was the founding pastor of Sonrise Church in Fort Wayne.

DUNHAM-John E. (1952, MDiv) , 86, Beloved husband of Mary Helen (nee Zimmerman) Dunham; Devoted father of Mark Dunham, Jill Dunham and Jan (David) Rickard; Dear grandfather of Tiffany (Zach) Elston; Brother of Bob (Ginger), Bill (Sharon), Tim, Beatrice (Charles) and the late Eleanor, Floyd Jr. and Tom; Also survived by many nieces and nephews; Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012; Age 86; John was a Pastor and served United Methodist churches in Ohio for 40 years and also worked at Twin Towers in the Development Dept.

ENSIGN-Russell L. (1985, MDiv), 64, of Canton, passed away peacefully Friday, October 12, 2012. He was born in Youngstown, Ohio on July 12, 1948 to the late Wilbur and Betty Ensign. He was a 1966 graduate of Canfield High School, a 1970 graduate of Miami (Ohio) University with a Bachelor in Science and Education, 1985 graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary with a Masters in Divinity, and a 1990 graduate of Ohio University with a Ph.D. in Philosophy. Dr. Ensign was the chair of the Communications department at KSU Stark. An educator, mentor, and carpenter, he founded The Masterbuild Co., Confluence Consulting Group, and ArtiCulture Unlimited. He served as the director of the Business Advocacy program for Project Rebuild, Inc. In addition to his parents; Russell was preceded in death by his brother, Bill Ensign. He is survived by his wife of sixteen years, Shannon (Barton) Ensign; children, Heather (Bryan) Lacy, Holly (Jason) Reese, Joshua Barton, Courtney (Brian) Stables, and Ehrin (Dan) Heban; four grandchildren; brothers, Robert (Karin) Ensign, Tim Ensign, and David (Tanja) Ensign; and numerous nieces and nephews.

GABRIEL-Richard C. (non-grad alum), 85, of Honesdale died Thursday, November 27, 2012 in the Wayne Memorial Hospital, Honesdale, after an illness. He is survived by his wife of over 61 years, the former Peggy Pacatte. They were married on June 1, 1951. Born on June 4, 1927 in Walton, NY, he was the son of the late Herbert John and Dorothy Belle (Carroll) Gabriel. A graduate of Roberts Junior College, N. Chili, NY, and Greenville College, Greenville, IL, Pastor Gabriel also attended Asbury Theological Seminary and received a Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling from Marywood University. Ordained as a minister in the New York Conference of the Free Methodist Church, USA, in 1952, Rev. Gabriel’s career included serving as pastor in Philadelphia, PA, Beach Lake, PA, South Canaan, PA, Bowman’s Creek, PA, and North Chittenango, NY. For fifteen years his area of service included that of Superintendent of the New York Conference of the FMC USA and a year in that office in the Susquehanna Conference of the FMC, while also pastoring the North Chittenango Church. A proponent of education, Pastor Gabriel was a lifetime member of the PTA and served two years as President of the Western Wayne Joint School Board. For fifteen years he served on the Board of Trustees of Roberts Wesleyan College. Non-clergy positions included two years in the Comptrollers Accounting Division of Manufacturers Trust Co., NYC and two years as Assistant Manager of the Illinois Equity Association of the National Farmers’ Equity in Greenville, IL. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two children; Carole Weber and her husband Stephen of White Mills, PA; Donald Gabriel and his wife, Debra of Hopbottom, PA; eleven grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren; and two cousins. Although an only child, Dick was loved as a brother and uncle by his wife’s family, which includes Charlene Harnetiaux, Jack Pacatte, Dorothy Urfer, Patricia Kapsar, Christine Barber and Sue Bultman.

LAMB-Robert C. (1960, MDiv), 87, died Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, at Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community, Manhattan, Kan., where he had resided the past three years. He was born Nov. 12, 1924, at Macksville, Kan., the son of Fred W. and Cora (Hockett) Lamb. He was a veteran of WWII serving in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1942-46. In 1957 he received his Bachelor’s from Friends University, his Master of Divinity in 1960 from Asbury Seminary, Wilmore, Ky., his Master of Pastoral Counseling in 1961 from Boston University, Boston, Mass., and his Doctor of Ministry in 1990 from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. Robert was a retired counselor and minister with his last full time pastorate at Collinsville Community Church, Collinsville, Okla. He married Jean Hall in 1943. To this union was born three children, Judi, Lea and Brent. In 1988, he married Marilyn Guest Hudson. He was preceded in death by Marilyn, and a brother, Bryce Lamb. Survivors include: Judi Lamb Boland of Lawton, Okla., Lea Westervelt of Manhattan, Kan., and Brent Lamb of Lawrence, Kan.; seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

LINTER-Robert E. (1951, BD), 86, of Lebanon, Ohio, passed on this past Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. He was born Feb. 18, 1926, in Seville, to the late Harry and Lyda (Peake) Linter. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy (Daniels) Linter; four children; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a sister, Phyllis (Reed) Seiberling, of Creston. Besides his parents he was preceded in death by a brother, William Linter.

STADLER-Leonard E. (1987, DMin), 60, went home to be with the Lord after his hard fought battle with cancer on Monday morning, October 22, 2012, at the Hospice Home of Rockingham County. Lenny was a native of Rockingham County and the son of the late, Leonard Stadler, Sr. and his wife, Dorothy Bullock Stadler. Prior to his Christian conversion, Lenny was playing with a nationally known southern rock band called, “Blackfoot.” His ambition left him spiritually empty, restless and hopeless. “From Hard Rock to Solid Rock”, which was published and released in the fall of 2002, is the compelling story of God’s transforming grace from rock musician to United Methodist minister. He received his Bachelor of Arts in “Religion” from Elon College, 1977, his Master of Divinity from Duke University, 1980 and his Doctor of Ministry in “Spiritual Formation” from Asbury Theological Seminary, 1987. Dr. Stadler was the 1995 clergy recipient of the Denman Evangelism Award in the Western NC Annual Conference. On May 15, 2002, Dr. Stadler was invited to deliver the opening prayer for the US Congress in Washington, D.C. He spent the majority of his ministry career serving as pastor of Weddington United Methodist Church. During his tenure there, the average attendance grew from 120 to over 1200 each week. Over his years in ministry, Dr. Stadler published four books, including his spiritual biography and compelling testimony, “From Hard Rock to Solid Rock”. His significant appointments and accomplishments include; Ordination Elder, Western, NC Annual Conference, 1982, Delegate to Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, 1992, 1996, 2000, Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, Western NC Conference, 1992-1996, Chairperson of District Board of Ordained Ministry, Albemarle District. While traveling with the Sammy Hall Singers, Lenny met Shana Morell in Dallas, TX and was married in 1976. Along with his wife, Shana, Lenny is survived by his children, Shalen Morell Stadler of Reidsville and LenPaul Stadler of Greensboro, NC. He is also survived by his mother, Dorothy Bullock Stadler of Reidsville; his sister, Judy Stadler of Lewisville, NC; his mother-in-law, Ann R. Morell of Highlands Ranch, CO; his sisters-in-law, Paula Sarmast and husband, Cyrus of Highlands Ranch, CO and Dr. Patty Bilhartz and husband, Dr. Terry Bilhartz of Huntsville, TX and a large extended family. Later in his ministry, Lenny started having anxiety attacks and experienced serious burnout in ministry. After being clean from alcoholism for over 26 years, he had another struggle with his addiction to alcohol. Fellowship Hall Rehab and Dr. Lee Dukes helped Lenny put his life back together. Even in the difficulties of his last years and until the very end, he wanted his victory in Jesus to be discovered by all. Lenny was preceded in death by his father, Leonard E. Stadler, Sr. and his father-in-law, Dr. Paul Morell.

VASS-Calvin R. (1958, MDiv), 88,  formerly of Clifford, passed away Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, at Kindred Health Care where he had been living. Rev. Vass was former pastor at The Chapel of Good Shepherd Church and was founder and president of Global Harvesters Missionary Organization. He had been a pastor in Sweetwater, Texas, and in his early years served churches in northern Indiana and also in Uniondale, Upland and Campbellsburg. He spent time in Okinawa and took missionary trips to Central and South America and Asia. He loved gardening and visiting the sick in hospitals and at their homes. He graduated from Taylor University in 1953 and Asbury Theological Seminary in 1958. A veteran of the U.S. Army, he served in Okinawa during World War II and received the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon with two Bronze Stars, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with a Bronze Star, the Good Conduct Medal and the Victory Medal. Born in New Albany Nov. 21, 1924, Rev. Vass was the son of Ernest A. and Frances Hottel Vass. He married Claudina H. Wolfe on March 20, 1943. She preceded him in death on Jan. 21, 2012. Survivors include children Eileen (Don) Mankin of Clifford, Ronald (Audie) Vass of Cisco, TX, Dan (Susan) Vass of Columbus, Jeanette (Randy) Teltoe of Trafalgar and Barbara Vass of Columbus; grandchildren, Dustin Vass of San Angelo, TX, Amber (Zac) Mullen of Indianapolis, Julie (Jim) Swegman of Columbus, Austin and Adam Teltoe of Indianpolis, Jackie Taylor of Franklin, Melissa (Chris) Panzera of Texas, Elizabeth (Seth) Davis of Florida and Scotty O’Haver; great-grandchildren, Aubree and Jacob Vass of San Angelo, TX, Chloe Mullen of Indianapolis, Luke and Callie Swegman of Columbus, Maggie Taylor of Franklin, Caleb, Ashlynn and Tayt Panzera of Texas and Alana Davis of Florida; sisters-in-law, Linda Rudd and Mary Jane Wolfe, both of New Albany; and a brother-in-law, Richard Skidmore of Hanover. Rev. Vass was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; a brother, Ernest A. Vass; a sister, Wilda Skidmore; and brothers-in-law, Alfred Wolfe and Bernard Rudd”

WILCOX-Larry R. (1974, MAR), 64, of New Castle, passed away Friday (11-9-12) in the hospital of Sharon Regional Health System. He was 64. Larry was born Oct. 2, 1948, in New Castle to the late Clarence E. and Clara Dillie Wilcox. He married the former Verna L. Williams on June 19, 1970. Mr. Wilcox served his community as executive director of the New Castle Drug and Alcohol Committee. Larry was a graduate of Shenango High School in 1966, a graduate of Geneva College in 1970 and finished his studies as a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary. He was an avid outdoorsman and loved hunting, fishing and canoeing. Mr. Wilcox was a devoted member of Faith Country Chapel where he served as chairman and vice chairman of the board and was a former Sunday school teacher. In addition to his wife, Larry is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Drs. Heather and Jay Porter, of Hermitage; his son and daughter-in-law, Adam and Erica Wilcox, of Sharon; two brothers and sisters-in-law, Terry L. and Danielle Wilcox of Bridgeport, Conn.; Charles J. and Carol Wilcox, of New Castle; one sister and brother-in-law, Kathy L. and Javier Noriega, of Tucson, Ariz.; and four grandchildren, Emma and Liam Porter and Tyler and Max Wilcox. He was preceded in passing by his parents and maternal and paternal grandparents.

WILSON-Charles R. (1948, MDiv), 93, passed away on Monday, July 2, 2012 at Wood-view Memory Care in Fort Wayne. Born August 9, 1918 in Tipton, Iowa, the eldest son of the late O. G. and Marian Wilson. He followed in the footsteps of his father and was an ordained Minister in the Wesleyan Church. He married Loretta May Rayner on May 26, 1939, she preceded him in death in 2005. They were married for 66 years. While married, he earned his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary, his Masters degree from Syracuse University and Ph.D in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University. He was a minister, author and educator throughout his career. He pastored the Hermitage Church in Nashville, Tenn. while completing his doctorate. After that, they moved to New York State where he taught at Houghton College. In 1965, he continued his teaching at Taylor University in Upland, Ind. He retired from there in 1983. After retirement, he and Loretta served as short term Missionaires in Taiwan and Russia. He is survived by his four children, Phillip (Sara) Wilson of Fort Wayne, Mark (Susan) Wilson of Kenosha, Wis., Deborah (James) Nesmith of Tallahassee, Fla., and Priscilla “Kris” (Michael) Clancy of Brookville, Fla.; 10 granchildren; six great-grandchildren; brother, John (Dorothea) Wilson of California; sister, Eleanor Buckman of Arizona. He was also preceded in death by a sister and brother. “He will be missed for his gentle countenance, his stead fast faith in God, his love and commitment to family”. “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may his face shine upon you, may he be gracious unto you and give you peace, Amen”.

WISIAN-Elroy E. (1978, MDiv), 60, a follower of Jesus, passed away Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. Elroy Ernst was born on Aug. 12, 1952, to Elroy Sr. and Mable Wisian in Littlefield, Texas. He graduated from Springlake-Earth High School in 1970 and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas Tech University in 1974. Elroy completed his Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Seminary, Wilmore, Ky., in 1978. For a person who lost his sight, Elroy had a grand vision, especially the creation of Lynnwood Townhomes. While he experienced success in ministry and business, his greatest success was found helping people. Elroy valued education and generously ensured dozens of students, from all walks of life, were able to complete college degrees. On March 10, 1995, Elroy married Vickie Lynn Wilks at LakeRidge United Methodist Church in Lubbock. His crowning achievement, though, was living as a Proverbs 31 husband to her. Together, they loved deeply, shared their faith openly, and celebrated their family joyously. Elroy’s ultimate joy to the Lord was ending his life as a member of the New Deal United Methodist Church. Elroy is survived by his wife, Vickie Lynn; his children, Carla Rupp and husband Scott, Joel Wisian and wife Amy, Russell Lowery-Hart and wife Tara, and Dusty Hart; his siblings, David Wisian and wife Lawana, Vicki Crossland and husband Marti, and Gena Wisian; his nephew, Daniel Wisian; and two great-nieces, Sydnee Wisian and Savannah Crossland. He loved his eight grandchildren, Austin and Brooke Rupp, Wyatt and Macy Wisian, Campbell and Cadence Lowery-Hart, and Dakota and Jordan Hart. Mr. Wisian was preceded in death by his dad, Elroy Wisian Sr.; his mother, Mable Wisian; and nephew, Robert Paul Wisian. Elroy will miss the special relationship of pure unconditional love with Adam and Bianca Foley. Thank you also to our beloved Dr. Gray and his wife, Janie, and staff Ruby, Susan, and Laura for guiding us through this journey. A special thank you goes to Odyssey Hospice and my favorite Summer Saunders. We extend a loving embrace for all family and friends who have loved and been loved by Elroy. He lived 2 Corinthians 5:7, as he walked by faith, not by sight.