The Journal: News of the Churches of God  


Life Events in the
Church of God


Robert Ham Sr., 80, of Big Sandy, Texas, passed away Sept. 22, 2012, in a Longview hospital. Mr. Ham was born Oct. 19, 1931, in Pine View, Ga., to John Warren and Martha Edna Dennard Ham. He was a veteran of the Army, owner of Ham Insurance Agency, had lived in Dawson, Ga., for 45 years before moving to Big Sandy two years ago and was a member of the Intercontinental Church of God.

Mr. Ham is survived by his wife, Charlotte, of Big Sandy; daughters and sons-in-law Connie and Larry Ellison of Big Sandy and Robin and Klaus Rothe of Bloomington, Ind.; sister Janie Lou McDuffey of Douglasville, Ga.; grandchildren Jessica Ellison and Matthew Ellison; and great-grandchildren Nathan Ellison, Isla Ellison and August Ellison. Mr. Ham was preceded in death by son Bobby Ham. Graveside services were in Pine View, Ga., with Grady Selph officiating.


April Cowan Hammer, 52, of Gladewater, Texas, died Aug. 1, 2012, after a lingering illness. She was born May 27, 1960, in Auburn, Calif. She was a property manager. April is survived by her husband, Kerry "Buck" Hammer of Gladewater; parents James and Tena Cowan of Big Sandy; brother Troy Cowan of Big Sandy; sister and brother-in-law Crystal and Bill Gable of Longview; brothers-in-law Scott Hammer and Eddie Shuttlesworth; sisters-in-law Toni Cox, Becky Simpson, Terrie Hammer, Barbara Husbands and Robin Shuttlesworth; and several nieces and nephews.


Dr. David Priestley Wainwright of Vacaville, Calif., died peacefully in his sleep on Sept. 15, 2012, after a five-year trial with pulmonary fibrosis. He would have turned 77 later that month and would have celebrated in October the 49th anniversary of his marriage to his wife, Sarah. David was hired at the Ambassador College campus in Bricket Wood, England, in 1959. He later served on the faculty there and pastored churches in the U.K. David retired from active employment with Ambassador University in 1996.

David will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Sarah; daughter Elizabeth; son Matthew; son-in-law Richard; daughter-in-law Deborah; grandchildren Andrew, Kaitlin and Taylor; and nieces, nephews and close friends.Cards may be sent to Sarah Wainwright, 236 Bartlett Ln., Vacaville, CA 95687, U.S.A.


Melvin J. "Mel" Hershberger, 65, of Kent, Ohio, passed away Saturday May 26, 2012, at his home surrounded by his loved ones after a long struggle with pulmonary fibrosis. He was born Dec. 9, 1946, in Parkman to John and Sadie (Hershberger) Hershberger. He grew up Amish but left the order in 1967. (That same year he was baptized and began attending the Worldwide Church of God. He attended the United Church of God from 1995 to 1999, when he helped found the Akron Fellowship.) In 1970, while living in Alabama, he met his loving wife, Betty Lou, and they married Sept. 16, 1972.

Mr. Hershberger is survived by his wife, Betty Lou Johnson Hershberger; sons Daniel Hershberger of Austin, Texas, and Robert Hershberger of Kent; daughter Cheryl Hershberger of Kent; three grandchildren; brothers Enos Hershberger of Garrettsville, Lester Hershberger of Lancaster, Mich.; and sisters Ellen Hershberger of Parkman and Barbara Yutzy of Parkman. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Sadie Hershberger, son Daryl Hershberger and brothers Levi and John Hershberger.

Michael Brady "Mike" Smith, 54, loving husband, son, father, grandfather and friend, of Mounds, Okla., died at his home on Oct. 5, 2012. He was born in Claremore, Okla., on July 10, 1958, to Stoke Smith Jr. and Lucille McElhaney Smith. Mike was a proud member of the Cherokee Nation. He worked as a cable-television line technician. On May 12, 1997, in Las Vegas, Nev., he married Derinda Hope.

Mike was preceded in death by his father and a brother, Roger Allen Smith. He is survived by his wife; his mother, Lucille Smith of Tulsa, Okla.; a son, Kyle Perkins, and his wife, Kristin, of Broken Arrow, Okla.; daughters Bereana Dubois and Mariah Hope, both of Mounds; and four grandchildren, Kyle Nathan Perkins II, Colton Dean Perkins, Emma Louise Perkins and Leilani Rayne Dubois. The funeral was Oct. 10 at the Tulsa Church of God with Dale Murphy officiating. Condolences, photos and life stories may be posted at


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