Coody, Arby Wade


1914 - September 1984
Arby liked to say, ‘‘All the boys who graduated from high school class in Pioneer, Louisiana went into the Methodist Ministry.’’ (The other boy was John Oldham, who is pastor in Bernice at the time of this writing.) Arby was first listed in the Conference Journal of 1939. That was the year of the Uniting Conference of Methodism, of the Methodist Protestant Church with the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Arby we listed as the ‘‘Junior Preacher’’ at Logansport, in the Shreveport District. He came through the Methodist Protestant tradition.
Through those years he and Claribel Kilpatrick Coody served sixteen appointments, the last being in Marion where he served following a year in retirement at Westlake United Methodist Church. From there he and Claribel moved to Bastrop into a home provided for them by the First United Methodist Church in Bastrop.
From the tine they became residents until the evening he died, he was still very much in ministry. He worked as chaplain in the Parish Jail, as coordinator with the Morehouse Crisis Center; and as Pastor of Visitation on the Bastrop, First Church, Bastrop—Collinston Charge. He led a course on evangelism; helped start a men’s group; preached; and did almost anything else he wanted to do. The week of his death he held one funeral and made several visits. On the night of his death he attended a District preachers meeting in Monroe. He literally died with his ‘‘stole’’ on.
As a community pastor, he engaged himself in various civic clubs, was once president of a PTA and was a Master Mason. Arby was the quiet presence of compassion, the comforting aid of help: a strong shoulder, big hearing ears, and large concerned heart. Two persons went into the ministry from his pastorate: Mark Walding, now in the Mississippi Conference, and Ray Holt, now serving St. Mark’s/Little Creek Charge in the Monroe District. On Saturday, September 29, 1984, Dr. Douglas L. MeGuire and I conducted his funeral service in the First United Methodist Church in Bastrop, celebrated by a host of loving friends and family. Reverend Holt was in Epps, Louisiana to do the benediction at the graveside.
Reverend Coody was survived by his wife, Claribel, who still resides in the home in Bastrop; four daughters: Elaine, Carolyn, Wanda, and Mary; one son, Wade; two brothers, three sisters, thirteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Once he and Claribel gave a painting to the church at Boeuf Prairie. On returning there for a homecoming last year, each of the former pastors was being recognized for their years there. After it was all over Arby asked one of the laymen, ‘‘Who gave the picture?’’ The man turned to Arby and said ‘‘I don’t remember the preacher, but I do remember the sermon he preached that day.’’ There could be no better epitaph for a Minister of the Gospel!!
Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1985; p. 244 By William D. Peeples

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