Pastors' Memoirs

Millard Ray Floyd, 1910-1993

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Millard Ray Floyd was born March 14, 1910, near Mannington, West Virginia. His childhood years centered around the family General Store, Buffalo Methodist Episcopal Church, and Whetstone School. At Whetstone School he met Hazel Garrison to whom he was married on May 14, 1927. The next year daughter Thelma was born.

At the age of 23, he experienced his "strange call" to ministry. "I was a most unlikely candidate for ministry," Millard said later. "About the only thing in my favor was my talent for singing." Because of the disinterest of his Methodist pastor, Millard completed the United Brethren course of study under the tutelage of the Rev. L. N. Wilfong of Mannington, and, on April 4, 1933, Millard was granted a Quarterly Conference License to preach.

At the annual conference in Clarksburg in September that year, Bishop B. G. Batdorf appointed Millard to the six-point Arden Charge. "This was one of the happiest days of my life," Millard wrote later. That joy was dampened a bit by a visit to the Arden parsonage the next week. '"The parsonage yard was grown over with tall weeds; the house had not been lived in for a time. The Arden Church beside the house was in bad repair -- the door hung open and a patch was off the roof. One member said, 'So you are our young preacher. You have come to a poor place.' I was still very happy and moved in and went to work." While at Arden, Millard began high school at Phillipi, nine miles away, riding the bus with boys and girls 10 years his younger.

In September of 1936, Millard was appointed to the four-point Rivesville Charge. He finished his last two years of high school work in a single year at Fairmont-West Side High School and graduated in the spring of 1937. That fall he was appointed to the Volga Charge with four churches. Millard was able to reopen a fifth church that had closed two years before. Meanwhile he took two courses at West Virginia Wesleyan College. To save money for full-time college work he did WPA Adult Education work teaching citizenship classes to immigrants.

In 1940, Millard enrolled at Shenandoah Junior College. Hazel worked in the college kitchen and dining room in exchange for meals for the family. Millard graduated in the spring of 1942 with plans to enroll at Bonebrake Seminary that fall. However, Harrisonburg District Superintendent J. Paul Grover asked Millard to serve the Singers Glen Charge because of the death of their pastor. While serving at Singers Glen, Millard enrolled at Bridgewater College graduating in 1944 (on the same day Thelma graduated from Shenandoah).

From 1946 to 1955, Millard was pastor of First United Brethren Church in Roanoke. Just before moving from Roanoke, Millard was chosen by the Virginia Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) Church to represent them to the World Council of Churches meeting in Evanston, Illinois. From 1955 to 1959, Millard served First EUB Church in Martinsburg, W. Va. In 1959, he was appointed to Calvary EUB in Keyser, W. Va., and eight years later, in 1967, to Martinsburg-Pikeside EUB Church. His last appointment was made in 1970 by the Virginia Annual Conference of the new United Methodist Church. He was appointed to Elkton United Methodist Church where he served until his retirement in 1974. Three men accepted the call to full-time Christian service under his influence and ministry. All are still working in Christian service: Arthur Grant, Ben F. Wade, and Raymond Edmonds. He also was an important role model and influence for his grandson, the Rev. Barry Penn Hollar.

Millard was active during his retirement: In 1978, he helped organize the Singers Glen Music Heritage Festival. After 25 years as a trustee of Shenandoah College, he was named trustee emeritus. In 1982, he organized the Community Church at the Sun-n-Fun Resort community in Sarasota, Florida. From 1983 to 1992, he was minister of visitation at Asbury United Methodist Church in Harrisonburg. He referred to the nine years of his relationship to Asbury Church as "a great climax or conclusion" to his life and ministry. In January of 1990, Asbury Church honored him by naming him pastor emeritus and holding Millard Floyd Day.

In 1987, Millard suffered a stroke which left him partially disabled. He courageously overcame that setback and regained his ability to walk and drive. He continued to minister to others as he was able. He died on Wednesday morning, November 3, 1993, as a result of complications related to leukemia. He was buried in Singers Glen Cemetery and a memorial service was held at Asbury Church. The service was officiated by the Rev. E. Thomas Murphy and Superintendent Barbara Barrow. The sermon was given by Millard's grandson, the Rev. Barry Penn Hollar.

-Barry Penn Hollar



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