Pastors' Memoirs

Edward Homer Kyle, 1927-1997

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My dad was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on July 20,1927. His natural father died before he was born. As a young boy, Dad built a bicycle from spare parts and pedaled it around town, doing errands and hauling scrap iron to bring home extra money.

His call to full-time Christian service came during a youth retreat, as everyone sang "Jacob’s Ladder." He worked hard to pay his way through Shepherd College and Westminster Theological Seminary and to help support his mother, Winifred. During this time he was a machinist at the Dunn Woolen Mills in Martinsburg, as well as a laborer with a railroad welding crew in the summer. His decision to become a Methodist minister was made when Winchester District Superintendent Forrest Oglesby offered him a seven-point circuit in Gainesboro in 1947.

Meanwhile, in the little town of Boyce, Virginia, a young woman named Hilda Suddith told her loyal Methodist parents that she would one day marry a Methodist minister. Her prediction came true in 1953 when she married Dad. Since that time, Dad and Mom approached the ministry as a partnership.

They went on to serve charges in Waterford, Mount Crawford, Broadway and Chase City. Then came Christ in Richmond, Calvary in Danville, Duncan Memorial in Ashland, another Calvary in Stuarts Draft and Saint Mark’s in Petersburg. They retired in 1989 to Toms Brook in the northern Shenandoah Valley, but were soon called upon to take on two additional charges at Mount Olive-Shiloh and Fairview-Refuge.

I was always proud to see Dad acting as secretary of the annual conference journal of proceedings and secretary of the annual conference, duties he performed, with my mom’s help, from 1966 until 1980. Over the years, he also served on the conference Board of Church and Society, Board of Evangelism, Board of Ordained Ministry, Conference Relations Committee and Parsonage Care Committee.

Those who knew him remember a kind man and a gentleman, possessed of his own strongly-held opinions and convictions, eloquent in the pulpit, a diligent visitor of the sick, the aged and the suffering. His children remember him as a supremely loving father who put his family above mere ambition and won our respect and love with a wise, temperate and attentive fatherly presence. He spoke at each of our high school graduations. The love he showed my mom and the strength of their singular partnership is the great lesson of all our lives.

In addition to my mom, Dad is survived by a sister, June Hope Burkhart; his son, Jonathan Lee Kyle; his daughter, Winifred Kyle Baker and me. In the last few years, he was delighted by the gift of two grandchildren, Samantha Elisabeth Kyle and Gregory Kyle Baker.

Dad died on April 15, 1997. Funeral services were conducted by Dr. William Wade, assisted by Pastors David Palmer and Jack Minnick, at Woodstock United Methodist Church. He was buried in a small cemetery nearby, with a splendid view of the Shenandoah Valley he loved.

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace. . ."

- Edward Willis Kyle



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