Pastors' Memoirs

Meredith Nathaniel DeHaven, 1910-1994

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Meredith Nathaniel DeHaven was born June 13, 1910, at Gainesboro, Virginia, the first child of Conrad W. and Amy Brown DeHaven. During his formative years, he attended the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in his home community. In his own words, written in 1938, he said, "It was there, on Jan. 31, 1927, at the age of 17, that I went to the altar in a revival meeting and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. From that night I believed God wanted me to preach the Gospel… One morning while I was walking to may work, God made it very plain that He wanted me to do. I have never doubted my call to the ministry."

Meredith attended Randolph-Macon Academy at Front Royal, Va., then graduated from Asbury High School, Wilmore, Ky. He continued his preparation at Asbury College, class of 1938. He never wavered from his loyalty to Asbury College and the United Methodist Church.

He was admitted on trial at Roanoke, Va., Oct 3, 1939. This was the last session of the Old Baltimore Conference with Bishop W.W. Peele presiding. He was ordained elder in 1944.

In his Bible, dated Jan. 23, 1941, he wrote, "I have this day solemnly dedicated my all to God. A change has come.. a sense of peace, assurance and victory. I now clearly see that by grace are we saved, and by grace we are kept. What bliss to cease from self and rely only upon Jesus."

From 1938-47, Meredith served churches in West Virginia, and from 1947-60 in Kentucky. He returned to his home state in 1960, where he served in the Virginia conference at Piankatank Parish, Middlesex County, 1960-64; Grace Church, Danville, 1964-68; Warsaw, 1968-72; Schoolfield, Danville, 1972-76; Melrose Avenue, Roanoke, 1976-79, when he retired. He served Harmony and Cascade, Danville District, as a retired supply, 1979-87, making a total of 49 years in the pastorate.

On September 18, 1956, he was married to Joanne Griffith DeHaven who survives. Other survivors are two daughters, Laura Susanna Odhner of Danville, Va., Mary Ann Abney, Dayton, Ohio; one son, James A. DeHaven, Kissimmee, Fla.; one brother, Conrad W. DeHaven Jr.

His health declined for seven years. The last year of his life was as a resident of Roman Eagle Memorial Home, where he died just before dawn on May 18, 1994.

His funeral was on May 21, 1994, at Grace Design United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Louis Carson, Danville District superintendent, officiating. The service closed with a congregational hymn that Meredith had himself chosen for this occasion. It was one he had used in every Easter service he had conducted for many years:

"The strife is o'er, the battle done;
The victory of life is won;

The song of triumph has begun. Alleluia!
Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee,

From death's dread sting Thy servants free,

That we may live and sing to Thee. Alleluia!"

Interment was in Highland Burial Park, Danville, Virginia.

-Joanne G. DeHaven (wife)



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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
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