|On Thursday, September 12, 1985, Methodism lost a strong moral and spiritual voice and presence when Luman E. Douglas died in a Baton Rouge hospital. Luman fought a long and hard battle against a pervasive that ultimately took his life. His courage, both in life and in the death, will be long remembered by his family and a large circle of friends. There was victory in his death, for he could surely say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. • there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord. • •will give me on that day. . .“ (II Timothy 4:7-8). He has claimed that “crown of righteousness.”
Luman E. Douglas was born in Bienville, Louisiana on May 11, 1910, to John Walter Douglas and Carrie Colvin Douglas. He graduated from Dubach High 1926. After attending Centenary College for one year, he entered Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, where he graduated with the B. A. degree. He attended Southern Methodist University for one year. On December he married his beloved wife, Mary Eleanor Kiker, of Dublin, Texas, who faithfully and devotedly walked by his side for over 53 years. From this union came a daughter, Carolyn (Mrs. Wayne Fulmer), and three granddaughters, Lyn, Connie Kay, and Vicky Sue.
Luman was licensed to preach in 1926 by the Ruston District, serving as a supply pastor for three years in the Central Texas Conference he came back to the Louisiana Conference, and was received on trial in 1935. In 1937, he was received in Full Connection and ordained Deacon. In 193 9 he was ordained Elder. Among the churches he served were Walker Circuit, First UMC in Slidell, Henning Memorial UMC in Sulphur, First UMC in Arcadia, First UMC in Homer, Carrollton Avenue UMC in New Orleans, and First UMC in Houma. On two occasions he served as district superintendent for the Ruston District and the Baton Rouge District. He also served as the Director of the Conference Program Council, where the good effects of his work are still felt.
In the Conference, Luman served as Chairman of the Conference Board of Missions, Chairman of the Conference Commission on Promotion and Cultivation, Chairman of the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Methodist Children’s Ruston, and on the Board of Directors of the Methodist Home Hospital in New Orleans. On the Jurisdictional level, Luman served as a member of the Jurisdictional Town and Country Commission, twice as delegate to Jurisdictional Conference, and was a Trustee for the Western Methodist Assembly in Fayetteville, Arkansas for 18 years. From 1964 to 1975, he was Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee for the Assembly. Upon his retirement in the Conference, Luman was named Honorary Trustee for the Assembly for life
In 1965, Luman was awarded the Doctor of Divinity Degree from his Alma Mater, Taylor University, a highly deserved honor.
During his lifetime, Luman was busily engaged in the work and life of the church. He served under many bishops, all of whom he could call “Friend.“ He loved the United Methodist Church, and served her life with dignity and honor.
He loved the “Brethren” and his life and his work did great credit to his high calling in Christ, and he honored the church with his life. Luman brought a thoroughness and dedication and integrity to his work. He was a good administrator, a caring pastor, a master preacher and a devoted friend in Christ. Whatever he did, he did well. He brought a new meaning to the word “ministry” a meaning which should not be lost, today.
Like most of us, Luman got his start in a small church, and he never forgot his roots. He was interested in all the preachers of the Conference, in his later years, when his sight was failing; he could call them by name by the sound of their voices. He was concerned about equity in the conference and even in his retirement was interested in the widows of ministers receiving a better pension. Largely because of his efforts, these widows will receive a more equitable pension this year.
Luman never lost interest in life. With his eyesight failing, he ordered books and articles on tapes so he could keep up with what was going on. He was always interested in the affairs of the Conference, and was delighted when the Brethren” brought news to him.
He lived his retirement years with Eleanor in Baton Rouge, where his daughter and her family lived. He was surrounded by much love in those last years. He is sorely missed by his family and friends.
On Saturday, September 14, final services were held for Luman in a church he served and loved, the First UMC in Arcadia. In the presence of family and devoted friends, a service of worship was held, one that Luman himself had prepared. His earthly remains now rest not far from where he was born. His soul rests with the Eternal Father, who has said to him, “Well done good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Matt. 24.21). Could any of us hear greater words than those?
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1986; p. 274-275 By George W. Harbuck|