Westbrook, Van Leo


Van Leo Westbrook was born August 5, 1897 at Florien, Louisiana, and reared in this community.
When he was a young man he moved to Orange, Texas and worked for awhile in the shipyard there. Later he returned to Florien and on October 4, 1922, was married to Lois Weldon. Five children were born to this holy relationship.
After his marriage, Brother Westbrook lived in Peason and worked at a sawmill for a while, but later moved back to Florien, bought a home and resided there for the next twenty years.
In 1950 he responded to God’s call to the ministry and began preaching and conducting Bible studies and prayer meetings in the homes of friends in the community. Later he was appointed pastor of the Oberlin Charge. In the following years he served the following appointments: Clay-Ansley-Wesley Chapel-Longstraw, Pine Grove-Bethlehem-Evergreen, Athens-Hurricane-Crossroads. His wife died while they were living at Pine Grove. While serving the Athens Charge, Brother Westbrook met and married Elvie Lou Dean White. Five years later he retired, but served as pastor of the Clay Church and also the Concord Church. He bought a home in Ruston and spent his last years there. During his retirement years he became engaged in basket making which was a hobby he enjoyed very much and which involved a great deal of his time. Baskets of various sizes were made and sold for a small cost. Another activity in which he was engaged during his last years was conducting weekly religious services at a rest home in Ruston.
Brother Westbrook enjoyed life, was grateful for the many blessings God gave him, and was deeply committed to Christ and the Church. He was very sincere about his ministry and did his best to prepare well for each responsibility. His effective ministry touched the lives of many people and brought enrichment and hope to them. He lived with a belief that God’s promises are fulfilled for his children here and beyond the grave.
He died September 20, 1980. Brother Westbrook is survived by his wife, Mrs. Elvie Westbrook, three sons, two daughters, and four grandchildren.
Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1981, p. 180

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