Lee, Elva June English (Mrs. Douglas Oakley)


Nearly eighty-one years ago a little girl was born in Nicholasville, Kentucky to Claudia Davis and Christopher Columbus English. Named Eva June English, she appeared destined to command her life and those around her with one basic philosophy: To accomplish everything that God had purposed for her creation. When she married the late Oakley Lee she joined and supported her husband in his mission as pastor and chaplain. She also became the driving force to induce her children--Betty Wolfe, Richard (now deceased), and Douglas--to fill the purposes for which God had also created for them. When she passed on her mantle in death on January 6, 1992, she left behind three traits of supreme value.
First she was one of the kindest and most gracious ladies ever known--firm but kind, gracious, always a lady! She would ber remembered best for her true “agape” love. As her pastor, Polly and I experienced this love in her last act of kindness to her parsonage family--a floral gift. One does not forget easily that she would do anything for anybody, yet her unselfish nature could not allow much for as a receiver since she was a giver. Second to this love she was ever so human. Her love for people and family was paramount in her life, yet it was unhurried, as well as creative. Her definite and independent manner was always evident in that fact. Things were done her way for her humanness required her to be her own person. Through her Christian affection and humanness of character, the third trait was crystallized in her devotion to the church, her God and her community needs. One of her favorite hymns seemed to steady her non-ambivalent nature:
“Be still my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain,
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still my soul; thy best, thy heavenly Friend,
Though thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”
(Katherine von Schlegel)

When Oakley retired on August 31, 1969, he and Elva made their home in Lake Charles where Elva continued to live after his death on December 31, 1986. Her last days from December 20 to January 2 were spent in visiting relatives all over the country, and when her good-byes had been said, she returned home to wrap the drapery of her couch about her and lie down to pleasant dreams.
Although Elva has joined the Church Triumphant and hears, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” we feebly struggle as we do our best and leave to God the rest!
Source: Journal Louisiana Conference 1992, p. 222 By Lael S. Jones

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