Rev. Lewis Alton Peel, Sr. was born June 2, 19 28 in Winnsboro , Louisiana to David and Blache Thomas Peel. Alton was the fourth of seven children.
Times were hard. It was hard to provide and feed the family, so they decided to move back to Quitman , Louisiana , which was their original home. When the family returned to Quitman, Grandpa Peel was very sick. So Grandpa Peel and Grandma Peel moved in with their family and this made eleven people to feed. Alton 's dad got a job with a road crew working with a mule. Even though he had a job, he still couldn't make enough money to feed everyone. Alton was 10 years of age and wanted to help. He went to work on a farm close to his family's house where he plowed all day for a gallon of buttermilk to take home in the afternoon. He said the family was glad to get the buttermilk. Alton continued to help the family including delivering newspapers and working at a grocery store delivering groceries.
Alton attended high school at Jonesboro High School where he played on the football team. During his senior year, he was a star player on the 1945 State Champion Football Team. Shortly after graduation, Alton went to work for Southern Funeral Home conducting funerals. He continued to work for them until he was to be transferred to Ringgold. Since he was soon to be married, Alton decided to remain in Jonesboro and accepted a job with the city. To this marriage, two children were born, a daughter Serri and Lewis Alton , Jr. Lewis Alton, Jr. passed away two months after his Dad died.
Alton 's family was very important to him but he had another love - music. He played with a band for 20 years until he went to work for Continental Can Paper Mill in Hodge and was superintendent of maintenance. This job was so demanding that there wasn't time for the band. Alton worked at the mill for 30 years. He was also a member of the Louisiana National Guard for many years and achieved the rank of E8 before retiring.
At the age of 55, Alton was called to the ministry. With the help and guidance of our Lord Jesus Christ, Alton graduated in July 1994 from St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City , Missouri . Alton loved being a minister and pastor. His heart was full of love for his Lord and people.
In the Louisiana Conference, Alton served Antioch United Methodist Church in Eros, Harmony Chapel United Methodist Church , Marion United Methodist Church , Bird's Chapel United Methodist Church , Faith United Methodist Church in Ruston and Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Ruston . At age 70 Alton had to retire even though he was not ready to leave the ministry.
On March 16, 1996 , Alton and Rose Clingan were married. After retirement, they relocated to Huttig , Arkansas . They were very happy in Huttig but something was missing in Alton 's life – his ministry. After a discussion with the district superintendent of the Monticello District, Alton was asked to serve the Hermitage United Methodist Church and Martin Chapel United Methodist Church in Warren where he served for 6 years. When his health began to fail, we moved back to Huttig. But the Lord wasn't quite finished and the Huttig United Methodist Church needed a pastor and Alton could not decline. He served 3 years in Huttig.
His health continued to fail and he then had to take full retirement but Alton was always a witness to everyone he met. He was a wonderful servant of God, a wonderful husband and a wonderful friend. He was not known to complain. Alton died on June 2, 2009 , after several years of kidney failure and being on dialysis.
Alton 's main saying as long as he could speak was “I don't know why the Lord has been so good to me.”
Rose Peel, His Loving Wife
|Source: Louisiana Conference Journal, 2010|