Pastors' Memoirs

Daniel DeLeon Felder, Sr., 1918-2002

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The Rev. DeLeon Felder Sr. was born in Clarendon County, South Carolina, on June 12, 1918. He was the 15th of 17 children born to the late Ellis and Sallie T. Gibson. His mother enlisted him to read the Bible to her daily from an early age while his brothers and sisters worked on the family farm. His desire to read and converse about the miraculous Bible stories with his mother and family cultivated his desire to become a lifelong learner, teacher, and follower of Christ.

   D.D. (as he was affectionately known) attended the public schools of Sumter and Clarendon County, S.C. He earned a B.A. in English from Allen University, Columbia, S.C, completed graduate work at Gammon Theological Seminary, Atlanta, Ga., and received a Master’s Degree in Religious Education from Howard University in Washington, D.C. He was awarded the Doctor of Divinity degree from Allen University in 1959. Further studies were awarded at the Chaplain School, Fort Slocum, N.Y., and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.. He also served as a member of the National Teacher Corps. He was an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement during the ’60s. He served his country as a chaplain in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict. After 10 years of active duty, he continued to serve as an Army Reserve Officer, attaining the rank of Major.

   On July 7, 1950, while stationed at Ft. Meade in Maryland, D.D. married his true love, Lorraine Perry Felder, daughter of James and Alma Perry of Newport News, Va. He fondly referred to her during their 51-year marriage as "Honey." They had six children, Ensign Leona F. Moten, Daniel D. Felder Jr., Dr. Loretta K. Felder, Jason J. Felder, Joseph C. Felder, and Danielle F. Edwards. They helped to raise his oldest granddaughter, Lisa M. Bostick, who lovingly called him "Pop-Pop."

D.D. entered the Virginia United Methodist Conference in 1969 from the African Methodist Episcopal Conference in South Carolina. He pastored churches in Newport News, Norfolk, Lexington-Buena Vista-Covington, Purcellville Circuit, and Staunton-Grottoes Circuit. D.D. enjoyed being a pastor and teacher to God’s people. He was an effective leader who laid groundwork for continued growth and stewardship in every congregation he fostered. He retired from the Virginia Conference on June 1, 1984. Many members and colleagues kept in touch with him and his family as lifelong friends long after he left Virginia.

After retiring, D.D. returned to the family home in Sumter, S.C. He became an associate pastor at Emmanuel United Methodist Church and an active volunteer in the Emmanuel Soup Kitchen, serving and witnessing to the community participants. D.D. was guided in his spiritual journey by his love of God, his devotion to family, church, and ministering to those most in need. He was also passionate about the earth, his garden and livestock. During his illustrious career, D.D. delivered the convocation at his youngest son’s high school graduation, performed the weddings of all of his married children, and baptized each of his grandchildren prior to his health decline in 1998. He continued to spread the "good news" and give love and support to family and friends throughout his illness. He was known by all as one who humorously related stories of human diversity and frailty in an enlightening and uplifting manner.

On Thursday, January 10, 2002, D.D. was called to his heavenly home to undoubtedly hear the words, "Servant of God, Well Done" (one of his favorite hymns). He leaves, to cherish precious memories: his loving and devoted wife; six children; three daughters-in-law, Monica, Teddi and Angela; one son-in-law, Sheldon Edwards; one grandson, Keith A. Werts Jr.; and six granddaughters, Lisa, Lauren, Lindsey, Alexis, Perri, and Erica; a host of nieces, nephews, and other devoted cousins and friends.

— Danielle Felder Edwards



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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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