Pastors' Memoirs

Charles Ellsworth Larew, 1921 - 1995

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Charles Ellsworth Larew was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on December 15, 1921.

  While attending Rule High School in Knoxville, Charles, then known by the nickname, "Sheriff Lule Belle," from a cartoon character in the local newspaper, gained statewide notoriety by leading a group of more than 600 students on a successful strike to keep their school from closing.

  Charles went on to serve in the United States Navy from June 1942 until December 1945, seeing action in three theaters of combat during World War II. Upon discharge form the Navy, he entered Memphis Academy of Arts to become a commercial artist. While Charles was a gifted and talented artist, God had additional plans by calling him into the ministry.

  Graduating from Carson-Newman College and Southeastern School of Theology at Wake Forest, Charles then was ordained by Tennessee Avenue Baptist Church in Knoxville in February of 1949.

  He served the following Baptist churches: Rose Hill, Midway and Greenfield in Gretna, Mt. Zion and Howerton in Tappahannock, and St. Stephens in St. Stephens, Virginia.

  Charles became a member of the Virginia Annual Conference in 1971 and served Reliance and Ridings Chapel in Reliance and Ivey Memorial United Methodist Church in Colonial Heights. Forced to take disability leave, the result of a devastating stroke, in 1983, Charles fought to regain his health and strength. Moving closer to family members on the Peninsula, Charles began attending Chestnut Memorial United Methodist Church in Newport News. There he was able to continue what he so enjoyed in life — being a pastor to God’s people. Charles loved to preach, teach, and visit those who were homebound. He served as minister of visitation at Chestnut Memorial for over 10 years.

  Charles died on July 3, 1995, leaving his beloved wife, Betty, two adoring sons, Michael and David and their families, two sisters, a brother, and countless friends who had been touched by his gracious and generous spirit.

  While we mourn his passing, we continue to celebrate and remember his courage and determination, his love of God, his unfailing devotion to family, and his many years of faithful service to the church. Throughout his life, Charles sought to embody the good news of Jesus Christ and share that news especially with "the least, the last, and the lost."

  Thanks be to God for this servant who remained ever true and obedient to God’s call and who now lives in that eternal Kingdom where the glory of the Lord shines on all the saints.

— Rudy Tucker



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