February 12, 1918 - March 17, 1969
|March 17, 1969, will long be remembered in the Louisiana Annual Conference as a day of sadness, for it was on that day that Luther Lambuth Booth succumbed to a heart attack, and Louisiana Methodism was profoundly shocked and saddened over the loss of one of its sincere and dedicated leaders. We pay affectionate tribute to his memory here.
Luther Lambuth Booth was born February 12, 1918, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the son of the Reverend J. W. Booth and Mamie Loft Booth and from birth seemed foreordained to the Methodist ministry. How well he fulfilled that ministry is eloquently attested by the list of his appointments and the many people whom he touched with the Eternal Gospel.
He received his early education in the places served by his pastor father and graduated from Terrebonne High School in Houma, Louisiana in 1934. He received his B.A. degree from Tulane University in 1938 and his B.D. degree from Duke Divinity School in 1941.
He was married on December 26, 1941, to Blanche Cartwright of Hertford, North Carolina. Whether “marriages are made in Heaven” or not, this marriage certainly had the blessing of heaven upon it. Of this marriage were born two sons: John William, now a student in the Law School of Southern Methodist University, and Barry Michael, who will enter McNeese College this fall.
The Reverend Mr. Booth received the call to preach and was licensed in 1939 at the Algiers Methodist Church, New Orleans. He was admitted on trial into the Louisiana Annual Conference at its 1941 session at the Noel Memorial Methodist Church, Shreveport, and was appointed as pastor of the Kentwood Methodist Church. He received his ordination as Deacon in 1942 and Elder in 1943, both at the hands of Bishop A. Frank Smith.
Sensitive to the needs of the age in which he lived and willing to serve always where the need was greatest, he became a Naval Chaplain in 1943 and served until the end of World War II in 1946. Returning to the Louisiana Annual Conference, he served the following appointments: Ingleside, Baton Rouge, 1946-48; Algiers, New Orleans, 1948-53; Winnfield, 1953-58; First Church, Bastrop, 1958-62; New Iberia, 1962-66; St. Matthew’s, New Orleans, 1966-67; and First Church, Lake Charles, 1967 to the time of his death.
The Reverend Mr. Booth was, above all else, a minister of the gospel and a pastor. There were no side issues in his life, no divided interests, for he concentrated his talents and his energies upon the one task of making religion a reality in the lives of those who he was appointed to serve. He was a tireless visitor in the homes of his parishioners and had the happy faculty of being in the right place at the right time. The memory of his visits and the depth of his pastoral concern and care remained in the home long after he had departed.
He did not claim to be a scholar, but he was a dedicated student of the Word. His sermons reflected his love for people and his genuine concern for their spiritual well-being. Those who heard him preach Sunday after Sunday ~vent away confident that they had received a message from God, encourage-ment for living in today’s world, and a challenge to take up the responsibilities of serving the present generation.
The strength of Luther Booth’s ministry was the nobility of his character, the purity of his motives, and the determination of his will. He stood firmly for those things which he believed to be true and good. He rarely spoke on the floor of the Annual Conference, and did so only when compelled by his own deep sense of integrity and honor. He was a friend to his ‘fellow ministers, especially the young ministers, which interest led him to be Chairman of the Board of Ministerial Training and Qualification, 1960-64, Chairman of the Commission on Student Center Buildings, 1956-60, Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education, 1964-68, and a member of the Board of Pensions, 1964 till death, serving as Vice-Chairman at the time of his death. He served with zeal and distinction on many other boards, commissions and committees of the Annual Conference, in the district where his appointment was held, and in the local community.
Luther Booth found his deepest joy and his greatest satisfaction in his home life. He admired and adored his wife, and he was proud of and devoted to his sons. Those of us who had the privilege to visit his home will always remember his wistful smile and gentle teasing which expressed the warmth of a deep love which he had for his home.
Death came to Luther Booth very quickly on March 17, 1969, at 1:00 a.m. He had participated in the Sunday worship service the morning before his death. During the service a little child was brought to him for baptism. In this last officially ministerial act, he took the child into his arms and dedicated it to God, as he had often carried the concerns of his people in his heart and lifted them to God in prayer. That afternoon he became ill, was taken to the hospital that night and there suffered a severe heart attack from which he could not recover.
Funeral services were held in the First Methodist Church of Lake Charles of which he was pastor on Tuesday, March 18, with the Reverend Harvey C. Williamson, the District Superintendent, presiding. Bishop Aubrey C. Walton delivered a very eloquent and consoling message, and Dr. Benedict A. Galloway and the Reverend James Ailor assisted in the service. The church was filled to overflowing with fellow ministers from the community and from across the state as well as beloved laity from Lake Charles and other former appointments.
Time and space for this formal memoir have run out; but written on our hearts in lucent letters of love is the imperishable record of our departed friend — who also was a friend of God.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church, Pages 225-226, 1969 by Benedict A. Galloway.|