Memorial Day

Written by Pastor Tony Alstott

Memorial Day is when we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  Since 2013, Wesley Chapel has used the occasion to remember veterans and civilians of the Wesley Chapel family.


Roy Wolfe:

          Roy proposed to his wife, Patty, with a ring inside of a Cracker Jack Box. He served during the Korean War and on the New Albany Police Department for 30 years. Roy held every rank during his time at the police department. Along with his career at the department he worked the night shift as security for what is now known as Baptist Floyd. On behalf of the people of Wesley Chapel, the city of New Albany, and this great country, we remember this great servant who lived his life to protect and serve others.


Christine Adams:

          Christine had a love for traveling, photography, and going to yard sales. She was married to Don for 25 years and had two children, Michelle and Anthony. It was a joy to baptize her grandson, Jacob, here at our 150 campus. Christine is known by her family as a mother and grandmother that showed the love of Jesus, God’s unconditional love.


Elizabeth Sammy Slider:

            Sammy was married to Warren and they had a daughter, Beth. She was a member of Tri Kappa and Pi Beta Phi at Indiana University. Warren and Sammy were faithful in their worship until her health prevented them from attending.  When she needed nursing home care her husband joined her there at Wedgewood.  When I would visit her she would always end our conversation with “Thank you for taking the time to come see me.”  


Jason Roehm:

          Jason met his wife, Janice, while cruising on January 1, 1969. They married and had three children: Julie, Jennifer, and Justin. He was a tool and dye maker for General Electric Company for 37 years. Jason loved serving Jesus and went to Guatemala twice to serve at La Senda. He delivered worship DVDs to shut-ins. He made it clear to me that if I said anything about him to say this: All Glory to God.


Jim Rutherford:

            Jim grew up on Blackiston Mill Road, the same road his mother grew up on. He married Neva in 1973, and they had two children: Eric and Travis. Jim’s love language was gift giving and he showered Neva with gifts. He always had a Band-Aid with him in case anyone would need it. He said, “When I look back on life I realize how blessed I’ve been.  I didn’t always realize it at the time.  And I can say that even today, four months past a cancer diagnosis, I’m blessed.  I have family and friends who love me and show it.  I have people praying for me that don’t even know me.  Each day I pray for a good day.  Each night I thank God for giving me a good day.  If it has been a bad day, I try to find the good in it and thank God for the good in the day that I have had.  When I go to bed at night I thank God for a blessed life and for his protection tomorrow.”


Helen Collins:

          Helen loved to eat cheeseburgers at Duffy’s on Main Street. She spent hours playing marbles, jacks, and hopscotch. She and her sister were known for their whistling. She had one son, Larry, and two daughters, Lynn and Diane. She was a lifelong member of Wesley Chapel and participated in the Mary Martha circle. I will remember her hearty laugh.


Hazel White:

          Hazel was the oldest member of Wesley Chapel when she passed away earlier this year. Her special relationship with her grandfather became the model of what kind of mother and grandmother she wanted to be to her son, David, and her grandsons, David and Andy.  Hazel was a faithful member of Wesley Chapel.  She attended Tuesday Bible Study and the Mary Martha Circle. She also put together bus trips for the people of Wesley Chapel with the greatest trip being a trip to the Holy Land where she got to walk where Jesus walked.  Today she is walking the streets of heaven with Jesus. 


Earl Balmer:

          Earl was a young 80 year old when he repented of his sins, professed his faith in Jesus, and was baptized before the congregation of Wesley Chapel. He was married to Mary and they had a daughter, Bonita. During a Wesley Wednesday dinner, Earl’s daughter Bonita told me it was her son, Chase, who suggested that the family start attending church.  Their plan was to look around for the right church.  The first church they came to was Wesley Chapel and they never “looked” anywhere else.  When he died, he was welcomed by Jesus to eternal life.


Dick Webster:

Richard “Dick” Webster was the oldest of three children. He spent summers on the farm of his aunt and uncle in Iowa. Dick was grateful for godly parents who took him to church and introduced him to Jesus Christ. In 1997, Dick went on an Emmaus Walk that deepened his faith. Later that year, he married Beth. They moved to New Albany to be closer to his daughter, Betsy, when his health started to decline. Dick and Beth joined Wesley Chapel the year we celebrated our 200th birthday. As Dick’s health continued to decline he expressed one regret, that he did not say, “I love you” more often.  Ironically, Dick’s last words were, “I love you, too.”  Today we remember Dick Webster.


Rosemary Denison:

            Rosemary grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same school as her husband Russ. They were high school sweethearts and married in the parsonage of Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church on Spring Street. Russ and Rosemary had two sons, Rusty, Scott, and a daughter, Connie. They joined Wesley Chapel in 1950 and were faithful members.

Juli Hardy:

            When Juli was born she was diagnosed with a soft bone condition. She avoided high contact sports and games, but that didn’t stop her from being involved in school. She had many friends and loved to be with them. Juli met her husband Clete in a Target parking lot. He proposed on the top of a mountain. They had four sons: Christopher, Cameron, Jack, and Grayson. Jack inherited the soft bone disorder and together they were advocates for the organization known as the Soft Bones Community.  Upon Julie’s death, they put out the following statement: “Juli Kimbrough-Hardy was a long-standing and treasured member of our Soft Bones Community.  Juli was a real Champion of Soft Bones and one of the first people to support our efforts when we were a fledgling advocacy organization. We will miss her kindness and willingness to help others.” She was faithful in her attendance and a loving supporter from the background, writing notes of encouragement to so many people. Because of the loss of her child, Christopher, she was special to those in our congregation and in our community because she reached out to the loss momma’s to give them comfort and hope.


Each of these loved ones put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, believed that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, and believed in the resurrection.  Jesus promises us that he is preparing a place for each of us and that when it is time, he will come and get us and take us to the place he has prepared for us.  Today, we celebrate God’s promise in Jesus Christ that our loved ones continue to live in God’s presence and in our memory.