Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Reverend Lawrence Durwood Fleming Dead at 92

Reverend Doctor Lawrence Durwood Fleming

THE REVEREND DOCTOR LAWRENCE DURWOOD FLEMING passed to eternal rest on January 22, 2007. He was born in Sulphur Springs, Texas on August 9, 1914. He was the oldest of six children of the Reverend and Mrs. (Lucile Rash) John Payne Fleming. Durwood graduated from Southern Methodist University (Bachelor of Arts) and The Perkins School of Theology SMU (Master of Theology). He pursued his doctoral studies at Columbia University's Union Theological Seminary in New York. He was the founding pastor of St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Houston serving that congregation from 1945 to 1961. In 1961, he was elected the twelfth President of Southwestern University, then Chancellor then President Emeritus. His accomplishments in leading these two great institutions are stuff of Texas and Methodist lore. Throughout his adult life, he maintained a vital relationship with Southern Methodist University being named Distinguished Alumnus in 1965. For many years after his retirement, he was an enthusiastic participant in the affairs of Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas where he began his active ministry in 1936 as a student associate minister. Dr. Fleming was participant in over thirty boards and agencies during his active ministry and university presidency and chancellorship. These foci spanned an amazing expression of human compassion and service throughout the purview of the Church, Higher Education and Healthcare. At one time or another, he sat on the executive committee(s) or chaired nearly all of them. He was President of The Philosophical Society of Texas founded by Sam Houston and Mirabeau B. Lamar and a member of the Kappa Alpha Order. He held Doctorates - honoris causa - in Divinity, Law, Letters and Humanities from McMurry College, Texas Wesleyan University, Southwestern University and Oklahoma City University. Believing in the essential nature of organization and varying viewpoints to nurture great causes, he was many times a delegate to the Jurisdictional and General Conferences of the United Methodist Church. He was a delegate to the World Methodist Council five times. His participation in conferences and councils began as a young Delegate to the Conference on Faith and Order held at Oxford, England in the summer of 1937 and continued throughout his active professional lifetime. He is predeceased by his parents, his brothers John Edwin and Douglas, his sister Martha Ann and his niece, Becky Boone Stephens. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Lurlyn January Fleming and their three children, Dr. Jon Hugh Fleming and Cheryl Lindberg Fleming of North Zulch, Pamela Fleming Shamblin and the Reverend J. Kenneth Shamblin, Jr. of Dallas and Martha Ann Fleming Curtis and Dr. Richard Steven Curtis of Dallas. He is survived as well by his sisters and brothers in law Mrs. Alice Stultz and Mr. C. Rex Stultz of Dallas and Mrs. Nell Boone and Dr. Ted Boone of Dallas and sisters in law, Mrs. Mary Fleming and Mrs. Levina Fleming. Daddy Dur leaves his grandchildren: Jon Mark Fleming, Marcus Justin Fleming, Phillip Andrew Fleming, Mallory Fleming Hammer, Elaine Fleming Perusquia, Jonathan Robinson Fleming, Kara Lyn Shamblin Churchill, Cynthia Marr Shamblin, Collin Curtis and Allison Curtis Stuckey His life was further blessed with fourteen great grandchildren, thirteen nieces and nephews and a host of grand nieces and nephews. Of the myriad accolades and "titles" Durwood, Dad and Daddy Dur received and held, his most cherished were those of Husband, Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather. His greatness will be remembered and continually revealed through his institutional and familial legacy spanning six decades of vital life and work in the name and causes of our Lord Jesus Christ, the State, the Nation and his eternally proud and profoundly grateful family. A memorial service will be held in Dallas at Highland Park United Methodist Church on Saturday, January 27th at 11:00 AM with the Rev. William B. Smith, Dr. James W. Moore and Bishop John Wesley Hardt officiating. A memorial service will be held in Houston at St. Luke's United Methodist Church on Monday, January 29th at 10:45 AM. Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, Bishop John Wesley Hardt, Dr. Thomas J. Pace, Dr. James W. Moore, Dr. Mark Lewis and Dr. Guy E. Pry will officiate. Services in President Fleming's honor will be held at Southwestern University - Georgetown to be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be proudly made to any cause or institution the purpose of which is to challenge and minister to the human spirit; to inform the minds of children and youth and to alleviate human suffering wherever it is found. Certainly St. Luke's United Methodist Church, Southwestern University, The Perkins School of Theology - Southern Methodist University and The Methodist Hospital of Houston would find appropriate inclusion in such a list. Sparkman/Hillcrest 7405 West NW Hwy Dallas, TX 75225 Published in the Houston Chronicle on 1/24/2007.
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