JANELLE GUNN MCCAMMON
FEBRUARY 5, 1920 – JUNE 3, 2010
Janelle Gunn McCammon was born on February 5, 1920, in Conway, Arkansas. She was the daughter of Elisha and Dollie (Lay) Gunn, and the younger sister of J. Milton Gunn. She lived at home in Conway where she was educated in the public schools and graduated from Hendrix College, the Methodist college of Arkansas. Janelle always loved learning, and was an outstanding student involved in many aspects of her academic life. Later she did graduate work at Louisiana State University and the University of Southwestern Louisiana.
Ms. McCammon began her teaching career in Earle, Arkansas, immediately after her graduation from Hendrix College, at the age of 19. During her long career in public school teaching (over 20 years), she taught in Lake Providence, Leesville, Franklin, and Lafayette, Louisiana. Janelle was dedicated to her students’ advancement; and had a special commitment to teaching reading to both K-12 students in public school remedial reading programs, and to adults through VITA (Volunteers in Teaching Adults, an English-as-a- Second-Language Program).
Janelle Gunn and Robert (Bob) McCammon met at Hendrix College, and were sweethearts during much of college. Bob graduated from Hendrix shortly after Janelle, and went to Dallas to attend seminary at Southern Methodist University. When their financial circumstances permitted, Janelle and Bob were married at First United Methodist Church in Conway on June 7, 1942, and moved together to Dallas, Texas. Their marriage was the beginning of a lifelong partnership centered on service to others and devotion to the Methodist Church.
Janelle and Bob’s first church was in Wilmot, Arkansas. Then they moved to Little Rock, where Bob directed the activities at Camp Aldersgate, a major campsite of the Arkansas United Methodist Conference. They remained in Little Rock while Bob served as Associate Minister at Asbury Methodist Church. During these years in Arkansas, their two daughters, Janelle and Mary Susan, were born.
The adventures of the young family continued with a move to Plaquemine, which introduced them to the unique culture of South Louisiana, and brought opportunities to contribute to the growth of two churches -- First United Methodist Church in Plaquemine and the Grand River United Methodist Church “down the bayou.” While Bob assumed the role of minister and literally helped to construct new facilities for both these congregations, Janelle devoted herself to their family, led educational efforts in the churches, played the piano, sang in the choir, participated in the women’s programs, and brought personal joy and support to many congregants.
With some sadness, Janelle and Bob answered their call and moved to the northeast corner of Louisiana to serve a church in Lake Providence. The next appointment was in Leesville, Louisiana, the home of Fort Polk. Bob and Janelle led that church by responding to its quite different needs when the fort was closed, and when it was open. During the quick growth in the community when Fort Polk reopened, the always-willing Janelle was recruited to teach in the local public schools.
Bob and Janelle’s partnership took them to Lafayette, where they served both Asbury United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church. The appointments at these two churches were interrupted by a ten year assignment to First United Methodist Church in Franklin, Louisiana. During these years, as in previous ones, Janelle was a teacher in public schools, taught many Sunday school classes, and led a variety of church and organizational study programs – to say nothing of the hundreds of meaningful meditations and prayers she delivered. Janelle was an active member of the Idonian Club and PEO. After her husband’s death in 1980, Ms. McCammon was named the Congregational Care Director at First United Methodist Church, Lafayette, appropriately continuing the work she and Bob had often done together while he was the Minister of Visitation.
The work of the United Methodist Women, and its predecessor organizations, was very important to Ms. McCammon all her adult life. Upon arriving in Earle, Arkansas to teach after her college graduation, Janelle became a member of the Wesleyan Service Guild; and was active in Methodist women’s local units from then on. She also served at the district level of the UMW in many capacities, and was Conference Secretary of Youth Work and of Missionary Personnel. In 1986, Ms. McCammon was elected President of the Louisiana Conference UMW. During her term of office, she traveled the state speaking at UMW and other church events; and represented Louisiana at the national level of United Methodist Women.
Ms. McCammon was a member of the MacDonnell United Methodist Children’s Services Board of Directors, the Louisiana Association of Child Care Agencies, and the Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation, in addition to many other community and regional organizations,
The article announcing the election of Janelle Gunn McCammon as President of the Louisiana Conference UMW in January 1986, quotes Janelle as saying, “It has been a wonderful life – and I’m grateful for every new day.” When this gracious woman spoke at her 90th birthday party on February 5, 2010, she reaffirmed her world-view in saying with a radiant smile, “I’ve had a wonderful life!” Janelle died on June 3, 2010.
Janelle’s adoring family includes: Mary Susan McCammon and Annie Gilliland of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Janelle Lay McCammon and her husband Raymond Alan Rosenfeld, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; and two grandchildren, Bryn Rachel McCammon-Rosenfeld of Princeton, New Jersey; and Seth Robert McCammon-Rosenfeld of London, England.
Janelle Lay McCammon