Pastors' Memoirs

A. Woodrow Laine, 1913 – 2007

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A. Woodrow Laine, 93, retired Methodist minister and a longtime resident of Richmond and recently of The Hermitage of Richmond, died on Jan. 18, 2007. He was made exceptionally well for many things, many people, many worlds.

Originally from Sussex County, Va., he was the 12th and youngest child. As husband and father, Woodrow was "ready-made" for his family’s formation, security, direction, and happiness. He was married to Frances Cotten Laine for 57 years, and after her death was married for 12 years to Virginia Featherstun Laine. Other survivors include his two daughters Barbara L. Robertson and her husband Donald W. Robertson of Richmond; and June L. Van Thoen and her husband Anton N. Van Thoen, and his grandson, Laine R. Breeden of Parsippany, N.J.; his sister Elva L. Magee of Wakefield, Va., and her family; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother, Amos L. Laine, also a retired minister with the Virginia Conference.

Woodrow’s humble work ethic made him a youthful, yet disciplined, worker; and his moral and spiritual sensitivity made him ready to be guided through Boulevard Church’s door into Methodism’s pastoral ministry. He began his ministry in 1942 as a licensed local preacher, serving a student pastorate as a supply pastor on the Ashland Circuit (Dunn’s Chapel, Forest Grove, Mount Hermon and St. Peter’s).

Upon his graduation from Randolph-Macon College in 1944, he entered Emory University in Atlanta, where he served as a traveling preacher on trial until his graduation in 1946. After his ordination, he became a member of the Virginia Methodist Conference in 1947, serving until his retirement in 1979.

During his ministry of 37 years, his pastoral appointments came easily. He served churches in King William, on the Bowling Green Charge (Hopewell, Shiloh and Bowling Green), at Oxford in Suffolk, South Hill in South Hill, Ramsey Memorial in Richmond, and Shady Grove in Mechanicsville. His good sermons, pastoral heart and rare good humor made him a "Champion Shepherd" in every parish where he lived and served.

In addition to his lifelong ministry, he was a man for all seasons: an avid gardener, woodworker, fisherman and hunter. He loved to laugh and always had a good joke ready for repeating often. He enjoyed playing banjo, the autoharp, guitar, and loved to sing. He especially loved to eat and never missed a meal. He never met a stranger. He never raised his voice, except in the pulpit. He was a

kind, gentle and honest man, who loved his family dearly.

Woodrow established a unique place in our hearts and memories for which we are and ever shall be grateful. As C.S. Lewis wrote: "Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it, made for heaven as a glove is made for a hand."

— Barbara Robertson




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