“… I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Dave was born in a Methodist parsonage in Jena , Louisiana , on March 19, 1927 , the last of twelve children born to Rev. E.W. Corley and wife Mary Pauline Chevallier Corley.
Dave was raised in Louisiana Methodist parsonages during the depression years and graduated from Walker High School . Immediately following his graduation, Dave enlisted in the United States Army, proudly serving in World War II in the 32 nd Infantry Division stationed in Luzon , Phillippines and in occupational duty in Japan . Following the war, Dave held several jobs, one of which was working with his brother Guy at a radio station in Yazoo City , Mississippi . It was providential that a young lady named Beth Chapman came to that station to sing on the “Baptist Hour” radio show, and Dave declared to his brother that she would be the girl he would marry. A year later, this statement became true and he married Beth, whom he called “the love of his life”.
Beth's musical talent was used in God's service, as she would serve in numerous musical capacities at each church she and Dave were appointed. Dave received his license to preach and served Canton Northside Methodist Church in Mississippi while attending Milsaps College . He and Beth moved to Louisiana , where he completed his college education at Northeast Louisiana University . Dave received his theological training at SMU, Perkins School of Theology in Dallas . He became a Probationary Member of the Louisiana Methodist Conference in 1959, became a Deacon in 1961, and an Elder in 1963.
During the time in which he worked diligently on the completion of his education, Dave suffered the most painful loss of his lifetime. Johnny David Corley, Jr., Dave and Beth's five-year-old son, died of leukemia in October of 1961. He later said that it “almost killed him” to leave his wife and gravely ill child alone while he commuted to and from SMU, but he was true to his calling.
Through the years, Dave touched many lives as a Big Brother in Alcoholics Anonymous, a third degree Mason and past Grand Chaplain of the Masonic Lodge of Louisiana, and a Shriner. He loved the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fishing, boating, and watching and feeding hummingbirds. His family was dear to him, and he was able to spend his last days at home surrounded by those whom he loved.
His pastorates include Canton Northside in Mississippi ; and in Louisiana , Fairbanks/Bartholomew, Choudrant/Douglas, Farmerville, Trinity ( Alexandria ), Tallulah, Ponchatoula/Lee's Landing/Wesley Chapel, Coushatta, Winnsboro, and Zachary. Dave retired from the ministry in 1989 after thirty-five years of faithful service.
His life was completed at home on November 25, 2008 , following almost a year's struggle with congestive heart failure. A service was held on November 28, 2008 , at Zachary United Methodist Church with many friends and former church members in attendance. Clergy members participating in the service included Dr. Pat Ginn, Rev. Bob Lawton, and Rev. Jimmy Parker, all close friends of Dave and Beth.
He is preceded in death by his son, Johnny David Corley, Jr.; six brothers and sisters including Marvin H. Corley, a former Louisiana Methodist pastor; and a granddaughter, Grace Corley Ridenour. Dave is survived by his wife and partner in ministry, Beth Chapman Corley; a sister, Ruby Cloyd of Dallas; a daughter, Betsy Corley Storey and her husband David Storey of Lafayette ; a son, Bill Corley and his wife Marla Galster Corley of Denham Springs; and his only grandchild, Elizabeth Miller, who meant the world to him.
“ The best of all, God is with us.” (John Wesley)
Beth Corley and Betsy Corley Storey
|Source: Louisiana Conference Journal, 2009|