Pastors' Memoirs

Henry Sneed Amidon, 1917 – 2006

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The Rev. Henry S. Amidon died Wednesday, June 21, 2006.

He was born Sept. 25, 1917, in Garrisonville. Early in life he moved to Triangle. He served in the Marine Corps with the 5th Marine Division for four years during World War II. His call to the ministry came fairly late in life. At 37 years of age, he returned to school to complete his education. Henry was ordained a minister in The United Methodist Church at Virginia Beach in 1963. He served in 10 churches throughout the conference: Stafford Charge, Stafford (1954-55), Sydenstricker UMC, Springfield (1956-63), Mount Pleasant UMC, Chesapeake (1963-65), Braddock Street UMC, Winchester (1965-69), Woodlawn UMC, Roanoke (1969-72), South Hill UMC, South Hill (1972-75), St. James UMC, Alexandria (1977-79), Central UMC, Salem (1979-81), Christ UMC, Arlington (1981-84), Tabernacle UMC, Spotsylvania (1987-90).

Henry was honored to open the 89th United States Congress, Second Session with a prayer on Sept. 29, 1966. He was a member of the ICM (Industrial and Commercial Ministries) chaplain program. Henry served as a police chaplain during many of his appointments.

Henry retired from active ministry in 1984, but returned to the pulpit as a fulltime pastor at Tabernacle UMC in Spotsylvania, where he served three years. Upon his second retirement he was elected pastor emeritus at Tabernacle UMC, a title he held until his death. In retirement, Henry kept busy with weddings, funerals, and filling the pulpits of other churches. He had an unfailing appetite for service to others and was filled with the joy of living. He felt age was not a time of life, it was a state of mind — so he stayed forever young.

For 22 years, he was very active in the Tabernacle community. He was devoted first to the plans and then to the building program of a new church addition. It was his prayer to be the first funeral celebrated in the new church. God answered his prayer.

His family and friends remember him as a generous, loving, and caring person. He never knew a stranger and was always smiling. He held a special place in his heart for children. We are thankful for his life and his vibrant ministry and the many lives he touched, some of whom are known only to God and him.

Survivors include his wife of almost 65 years, Shirley; a daughter and son-inlaw, Sherry and Martin Peatross; one sister, Josephine Dillon; a nephew, Joseph DeSanto; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son, John Blaine Amidon.

He was buried at the Dumfries Cemetery with military honors.

— Shirley F. Amidon

— Sherry and Martin Peatross



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