Among the interesting uses for the internet is the creation of Wikipedia – which is simply an on-line encyclopedia compiled by users of the internet who contribute information to the encyclopedia’s data base.
As part of our bicentennial celebration in 2011, we compiled information about our past members who contributed to the life of our church and, in effect, creating our own “Churchipedia.” Below is a sampling of remembrances already accumulated.
Reuben Butler | John and Alma Chittum | George Cooper | George Crook | Emerson Dilgard | Earl and Mary Gray Earl | Jean and Preston Forbes | Paul and Mildred Frank | Les Gigax | Dr. David Guldin | CC Hayden | Nolan and Elsie Hite | Charles & Mary Hunt | Phoebe Hunt | Ethel Keeney | Henry and Uldine Lear | Rev. William and Patty Lofgren | Frank Mattes | Dick & Beth Miller | Myrtle Miller | Kathleen Morton | Kathleen Morton and Betty Husted | Rev. George Orcutt | Mary Oxenrider | Eve Richmond | George Riehl | Margie Rose | Doni Stenglein | Marion and Jack Strater | Rachel Taylor | Dan Thomas | Howard C. Zook, Sr.
› Reuben Butler taught Jr. High Sunday School with Chuck McClintock in the late 60’s. after a gathering time in “The Pit” we would go to class in one of the balcony horseshoe alcoves. Reuben lived the importance of knowing the scriptures. With his Bible in hand, he tried to impart this life lesson to our group of 12-13 year olds. Unfortunately, at that age, few of us grasped the message. In my adult years I realized what Reuben meant. The necessity of having a strong faith and following God’s word.
John and Alma Chittum
› Long time and dedicated members, John and Alma were regular representatives at the East Ohio Annual Conference and at General Conference. There were very active in social justice issues in our church.
As a chemistry professor at the College of Wooster, John actively sought to bring more diversity to the campus teaching staff. He recruited Dr. Ted Williams to join the chemistry department. John and Alma were instrumental in getting Ted, his wife Yvonne and their children integrated into the Wooster community. In the process, they learned firsthand that Wooster would not easily welcome an African-American family. In order to obtain housing (because no one would sell to the Williams), John and Alma first purchased a home in their own names, then sold it to the Williams family. Ted and Yvonne became well known to the Wooster community and were loved, not only by the students and faculty, but by the Wooster community as well.
The Chittums were also instrumental in securing a group home in their neighborhood to house men with developmental disabilities. They stirred up serious neighborhood tensions in this quest, but stood their ground and helped obtain the zoning approvals required to begin the home.
The Chittums were principled and courageous. After John’s death, Alma revealed the many written death threats they had received in writing from members of our community who objected to the causes which the Chittums embraced and supported
› Dr. John W. Chittum was a professor of Chemistry at the College of Wooster for about 40 years. During that period, he was active in the Wooster Methodist Church and represented the congregation at district, conference, national and world levels. He had a passion for social justice and was named by the Council of Bishops to the Fifth World Order Study Conference. At a time when it was not popular, he spoke for black issues.
› George and Pauline moved to Wooster after George’s retirement. George spent his entire working life in the coal industry. While his formal education stopped at the 10th grade, he taught himself engineering and was admitted to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers where he received the Percy Nichols award for lifetime service to that organization. He volunteered many years to Scouting and other organizations.
› A quiet, gentle man, George was indeed a prayer warrior. She shared his gift of art with our congregation, serving as a set designer for some drama productions. His calligraphy was exquisite and he used that gift as well. A constant, behind-the-scenes volunteer, George was a friend to all!
› George was a master at calligraphy and shared that talent in a number of ways throughout the church. One is the memorial book and in addition, George printed and then placed all the labels in our hymnals.
› No one was more dedicated to the church’s well being than Emerson Dilgard. He was head usher for many years; making sure strangers were cared for and he could cope with problems. He served two terms as chairman of Trustees. One concern was the heating system. He made many trips at night to see that the church was locked. Every Saturday he went to Nickles to get a car load of bread for People to People. He then decided they needed more than bread. He got Rev. MarLett’s permission to place baskets at each entrance for food items. After church he would collect and take them on Monday to People to People. He did this as long as he was able, and could drive.
Earl and Mary Gray Earl
› Earl and Mary Gray Earl was the Youth Choir director beginning in the late 1940’s. After several years her also became the Adult Choir director. He directed both choirs until the late 1960’s. Mary was the church organist and accompanist for the Youth Choir. The Youth respected and loved Earl. One of his Youth Choir members recently described him as optimistic, always in a good mood and interested in the lives of the choir members. Some time ago, another Youth Choir member wrote her personal remembrance of growing up in our church. Of Earl Gray she wrote “he was a Godly man. He always had a devotional thought and prayer before every choir performance. He taught us how much music was part of worshiping God. Our Choir became so large that our pastor, Tom Cromwell, had to sit with the congregation when we sang.” There is a picture in our archives of the choir showing 33 members. It is with thankful hearts that many of us today remember Earl and Mary Gray.
Jean and Preston Forbes
T’was in mid-March when friends did convene, To wish fond farewells to Preston and Jean.
The movers would soon be at Wedgewood Street, So there wasn’t much time for us all to meet.
Preston was packing his wood-working tools, And once more amending his ushering rules.
He’s chaired committees and at MTSO, Is still a trustee as you probably know.
He’s lived everywhere from Tiffin to Stow, Potomac, Chesapeake , where ere the winds blow.
But this is a special farewell to Jean, A tireless, omnipotent committee machine.
She’s been to Liberia, for which there’s no rhyme, And to Methodist causes she’s given her time.
But her work with committees is nearly inimitable, As she strives for a church that is more hospitable.
Members are asked to talk with each guest, And they actually do it at Jean’s behest.
This isn’t to say, though, that some don’t leave early, To return home and resume being surly.
But in fact members show unfeigned hospitality, Increasing their own and the church’s vitality.
Each guest gets a visit, a call, or a gift; No guest is allowed to be given short shrift.
Of Jean’s many works, there is far more to say, But in a short space, there is simply no way.
In only a month, she will, sadly, be gone, Moving to Dublin, taking Preston along.
So now is the time to lift glasses high, And wish them a heartfelt and cordial goodbye.
Though we wished them to stay, we’ve finally relented, So we’ll now have a toast with juice unfermented.
Paul and Mildred Frank
› Paul and Mildred Frank Quiet in nature, friendly and good examples of Christian servant hood. We learned to know them through their friendship with Bob and Wanda Slater. The four of them rarely missed a day of Sunday School, (Friendly Fellowship and Open Door) and lunch together after church. They enjoyed many good laughs together! The four of them, along with Russ and Ruth Carothers prepared and carved the turkeys at the first “Feast of Thanks.”
› The husband of Cora, Les was a senior officer at Rubbermaid during the years Don Noble was CEO. I believe that Les was a trustee of Baldwin Wallace and, of course, was actively involved in many leadership positions in our church. He and Cora have been generous contributors to many Methodist causes.
Dr. David Guldin
› David was a beloved and respected professor of Sociology at the College of Wooster. He and his wife, Nancy, and their three children (Scott, Merry and Susan) were active in all phases of our church. Dave was an especially effective teacher of Sunday school and served, as well, in many leadership capacities. Tragically, David died early in life after a long and difficult bout with cancer. Nancy currently lives in Apple Valley with her husband Rev. Dale Sanford, who served our church twice during his career in East Ohio.
C. C. Hayden
› C.C. Hayden married the daughter of Rev. George Orcutt, a former minister here. The Haydens were active members of this church and his name appears frequently in our old records of the ’30s and ’40s as Sunday School teacher, men’s organization, etc. Mr. Hayden was Director of the Dairy Department at the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station (now OARDC). The family lived at 438 N. Buckeye St., one of the houses recently renovated by Main Street Wooster. It was an active home as the three Hayden boys filled it with amateur radio, photography, scouting, etc.
Nolan and Elsie Hite
› Dedicated disciples, Nolan and Elsie practiced their religion daily. Nolan was a beloved manager at RexRoth and traveled quite extensively during his working days. They were devout members of our church and, following their deaths, shared their savings with many charities (including churches they had attended, Methesco, the Salvation Army and Taylor University). They were devoted fans of College of Wooster basketball. Even after Nolan’s death, Elsie continued to listen to the games on the radio. Elsie died last year at the age of 101.
Charles & Mary Hunt
› I remember Dr. Charles and Mrs. Mary Hunt. Both Charles and Mary were very active in all aspects of the life of The Wooster United Methodist Church. Dr. Hunt was employed in the Animal Science Department of The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. In the Church, Dr. Hunt served in many different offices of the Men’s Brotherhood. (a large active organization) He taught Sunday School and served on committees. Charles was on the committee to select our current organ and insisted on the chimes. Mary likewise served in many capacities. She taught Sunday School, served on various committees and was especially helpful in combining The Foreign and Home Missionary Society into the organization of United Methodist Women. “The Hunts” gave abundantly of their ability and time in a friendly and gracious manner.
› Ethel was born and raised on a Wayne County farm. One of her best childhood recollections was racing her horse drawn buggy down her family’s farm lane. She taught high school English and Drama and, during her summer vacations, traveled extensively in both the United States and Europe. She was a lifelong member of a Sunday School class and the United Methodist Women. A teetotaler, Ethel nevertheless was “famous” among her friends for her Christmas parties in which (allegedly) her guests consumed prodigious amounts of eggnog and Ethel’s signature rum soaked cookies.
Henry and Uldine Lear
› Pillars of the church, the Lears served in many leadership positions and participated fully in the life of the church. Henry was an officer at First Federal Savings and Loan, (which eventually became part of FirstMerit). Henry’s financial expertise was invaluable and together they were valued members of our congregation.
Rev. William and Patty Lofgren
› Bill and Patty joined our church to be closer to their daughter Arlene Milliken and her family after Bill’s retirement from Methodist ministry in Pennsylvania. Bill was hired to serve as our “part time” minister of visitation. His service to our elderly members was legend and involved his working full time, even though he was only paid for substantially less service. Together, Bill and Patty were wonderful and enthusiastic members of our congregation. On one occasion, I was present when Bill performed an internment service for one of our members. He conducted the entire service from memory, including a recitation of passages of Scripture. During his sermons, he often quoted poetry verbatim from memory.
Dick & Beth Miller
› No remembrance of Wooster UMC would be complete without recognizing the work of Dick & Beth Miller with the youth. The Millers not only helped direct a number of outstanding drama performances, but they also invited the youth into their home and their lives. Their encouragement and work have left a legacy of boomers who now are active in the church, in creative arts and in healing. Thanks to the Millers for their service in the name of Christ!
› Miss Miller was a school teacher throughout her career. I don’t believe she ever married – but teaching young men and women was her passion. She was also active in women’s activities in the church and was a lifetime member of one of our Sunday School classes. Her substantial monetary bequest funded the renovation of “the Pit” – the area under the sanctuary which was used in the 1970s as the stage for the Pickle Barrel Players, a youth drama group headed by Richard Miller. The room was later used as a meeting place for our youth. The room was renamed “Miller Hall” in recognition of her gift.
› Kathleen was a really outstanding member of United Methodist Women and the United Methodist Church. She was head of the church kitchen for some years. (until 1999, I believe) She was a dedicated, hard worker and expected the same from all her helpers. Any and all of those who helped were expected to put in some long hours and although there was some grumbling (a lot, in fact) nobody refused to get to the kitchen on time. Looking back I felt that it was a very real privilege to be part of that team.
Kathleen Morton and Betty Husted
› These two lovely ladies were quite a pair
They lived close together and went everywhere.
Kathleen was the Cook and a Teacher grade six
Betty a full time Girl Scout, who could whittle a stick.
Kathleen ran the kitchen and Hid ALL our stuff
Using a table knife to peel was really quite tough.
Betty was the side-kick, the chauffeur who drove,
Kathleen was the scavenger who baked, canned and froze.
The Church was their mission, they cared and they worked
Not to say everyone agreed and liked what they cooked!
It is fun to look back and remember the slate
Not because they were good, but because they were great.
Rev. George Orcutt
› One of the pastors of our Wooster Methodist Church was the Rev. George Orcutt. I never knew him, but his daughter married C.C. Hayden and together they raised three sons. One of them, John Hayden, was a high school classmate whom I knew quite well. Prior to her marriage, Mrs. Hayden had been a foreign missionary for the Methodist Church. My piano teacher, who lived across the street from the Haydens, told me that Rev. Orcutt and his daughter always performed a ritual at the end of a furlough as she was ready to return to the field. Each held an end of a very long string which they had prepared, and as the ship took her out to sea they felt they still had a connection until the string finally broke.
› My first acquaintance with Mary was back in the mid-80’s when I was serving as Chair of the Education Commission. One Sunday morning I was sitting in the balcony with my pr-school child and seeking guidance about recruiting Sunday School teachers for the upcoming year. the Spirit lead my eyes to rest on Mary Oxenrider and her fiend Anita Reynolds. That dynamic duo readily accepted the challenge to teach 5th grade boys and girls, which they did faithfully for many years to come.
The pen I selected to write this was inscribed “God’s Gifts.” My thoughts turned to Eve Richmond. Like many others, I’m sure, her teaching brought out a gift in me that I wasn’t aware of. And what a joy it has been for me just to be able to share the “gift of music!” Thanks Miss Richmond
› George was a tinkerer. Adept at managing mechanical things, he maintained our church boiler system for many years and was always available to the trustees to “fix” things that needed repairing. He also volunteered to maintain the courthouse clock for the County Commissioners. He once joked that he made the clock ring 13 times at noon one Summer day and received many letters about the clock needing “repair.”
› What a sweet man! George knew EVERY corner and cranny of the church building and he could fix anything that was out of order! We can’t recall a time he didn’t greet us with a smile. One of our very special memories of George was when he took our family up to the top of the clock tower downtown. He was the “keeper of the clock” and hearing the stories from him was a treasure we’re grateful for. He was a wonderful role model for us
› Mr. Fix It! George was a gentle, loving man who carried his tools around the church oiling this, fixing that. If a door needed oil, he oiled it. If the electric lights needed changed, he changed them. If the furnace needed fixed—he fixed it. His words to all were gentle and loving and full of kindness to all. He was an example of gladness and thoughtfulness.
› A gentle, quiet, faith-filled friend, Doni was a loving mom & wife until cancer cut her life here on earth way too short. She was so talented with the sewing machine, an encourager, and had a smile that lit up her whole face.
Marion and Jack Strater
› We remember Marion for her dedication to music and children, as she was children’s choir director for decades. The Daily Record captured her tying John’s re bow when he was in the Cherub Choir and many years later she was still singing with the our children. She insisted on memorization, regular practice, standing up tall and singing out! Once she told me that she taught the children all the verses to “I Love to Tell the Story” because they need to know the importance of Jesus’ story when they are grown up. Susan and Rob remember her as well! Jack was a “star gazer”…really! When Jack realized we lived out of town he brought his telescope and star gazer magazines and shared his love for astronomy with our children. We had fun gazing at the moon, stars, and planets with him. A special memory for our family.
› Rachel is remembered by many for her talented performances in music…and rightly so! I also remember Rachel for her loving spirit, her gentle manner of imparting wisdom and her inspiring faith. I got to know Rachel when she came to the Faith and Family Bible Study. The average age of the participants was 30-35. Rachel was a grandmother. She was hesitant to stay but we convinced her that she would enjoy our group. As time went by we quickly realized her presence was a gift from God. She shared her home, stories of raising her family, and most importantly her insights to the scriptures and life. I thank God I was one of those young mothers who were blessed by Rachel’s kindnesses and guidance.
› Dan was a veterinarian, and quite the storyteller. I have a vivid memory of him surrounded by children during “Children’s Moments” at Christmas time, telling them about his experiences with the bedouin shepherds in Israel. He disputed the image of Jesus being born in a dirty, smelly barn; choosing instead the image of the cozy, warm, straw-filled cave of the shepherds.
Howard C. Zook, Sr.
› Howard Zook joined our church in 1912 with his wife Della. He taught Sunday School for 20 years and served on the Official board for 27 years. He conducted the Sunday School orchestra and accompanied it on the piano. Howard served as the financial secretary for an extended period. He was employed by Wooster Brush for 32 years—retiring in 1952. The Zook’s loved to travel and participate in community activities. His son, Woodrow Zook, is still a member today.