Pastors' Memoirs

Lucille Hendricks Gum, 1902-1994

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On November 7,1994, after a long and fruitful life, Lucille Hendricks Gum was called to membership in the Church Triumphant.

The child of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Russell Hendricks, Lucille was born in North Carolina on October 22, 1902. Early in her life her family moved to Lawrenceville, Virginia, which she regarded as her home. A lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, her life was centered in her church and her family to which she gave her complete devotion. Indeed, she met her husband, Walter Clarke Gum, in a church when, as a young preacher, became to hold a revival in a church near her home. They were married on October 31, 1920, and to them one child was born, Mary Russell, now Mrs. John Mason.

What a flood of memories crowd in upon us as we think of Lucille Gum today. We remember her great love for and pride in her family. To Walter Gum she was not only a loving wife, but a faithful partner in ministry. Whether as a pastor's wife, district superintendent's wife, or bishop's wife a great host of people remember the gentleness and compassion with which she joined her husband in ministry. Her love for her daughter, Mary Russell, is legendary to all who knew her, and the tender loving care which Mary Russell lavished upon her mother, and particularly in these latter years, is an inspiration to us all.

Her love for the church was certainly one of the hallmarks of her life. Her interest in the Council of Bishops did not abate with the passing years and almost to the time of her death she traveled far and wide to enjoy the fellowship of her friends in the council who had become so much a part of her life. But her love of her local church was equally evident. Her pastors, past and present, with one voice speak of her support of them and the work of United Methodist Women. Her interest in and love for young people led to the establishment of the Walter C. Gum academic scholarship at Virginia Wesleyan College.

We remember her enormous capacity for friendship. An inveterate correspondent, her letters were not perfunctory notes, but a lengthy sharing of herself and her interests often to the extent of writing around the edges of a long epistle. Hers was a giving spirit characterized by countless acts of generosity. Last year she made about 100 loaf pound cakes which she gave to friends and mailed to family members. Always alert to the needs of others, she saw to it that her pastor's daughter received the Walter C. Gum academic scholarship at Virginia Wesleyan College.

Lucille was possessed of a wry and subtle wit which she employed when others sought to transgress that special core of privacy she was unwilling for them to invade. Recently someone had the temerity to ask her age -- a fact she never revealed. Her simple reply was, "I’m 72." Her daughter, Mary Russell, possessed of the same droll wit, remarked, "Isn't that remarkable? She was 2 when I was born."

In addition to her daughter, Mary Russell, Lucille is survived by three sisters, Mrs. Virginia H. Kabrick, Wilson, N.C., Mrs. Margaret H. Elmore, and Mrs. Theodorah H. Jeter of Petersburg, Va.; and four grandchildren, John McClelland Mason, Walter Clarke Mason, William Carrol Mason, and Margaret Anne Holder.

Her funeral service was held in Park Place United Methodist Church, Norfolk, Va., the church her husband, Bishop Walter C. Gum, was serving when elected to the episcopacy. Her pastor, Dr. Charles H. Smith III, and the Rev. W. Dabney Walters, superintendent to the Norfolk District, officiated. The Rev. Walters concluded his eulogy ofLucille with these appropriate words, "When one moves from one church to another, we use the word transferred. Therefore, it is my duty to announce the transfer of Lucille H. Gum, with highest recommendations of her pastors, from the church mortal to the Church Triumphant and Eternal, whose builder and maker is God."

--R. Kern Eutsler

 

 

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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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