December 13, 1878 - August 28, 1953
|Henry Thompson Carley, son of Reverend Lyman and George Ann (Thompson) Carley, was born near Columbia, Mississippi, December 13, 1878. He was one of a family of five children, three sons and two daughters. He was the last of the three sons, all having died ‘within a period of a year and a half. Both daughters, Mrs. Stephen 8. Thomas and Mrs. Carlos Witttenmeyer, live in Lebanon, Ohio.
Dr. Carley was educated at Milsaps College, receiving the A.B. degree in 1899, and the honorary D.D. degree in 1921; and at Vanderbilt University where he received the B.D. degree In 1902, and was awarded the Founders Medal for having made the highest grade of his class for the three-year course.
On June 12, 1907, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Camille Kling whose father was a prominent businessman and planter of Satartla, Miss. To them was born a daughter, Camille Kling, now Mrs. J. R. Pennington, and she and her husband continue to occupy the Kling home in Satartia.
His death occurred at Satartla, August 28, 1953. Funeral services were held from the Methodist church the following day with the pastor, Rev. C. R. Franklin, in charge, assisted by Rev. T. 0. Pruitt, Superintendent of Vicksburg District, and by Rev. W. L. Duren of New Orleans, lifelong friend and fellow member of the Louisiana Conference. A number of Mississippi Conference ministers served as an honorary escort. Following the service, the remains were carried to Yazoo City and interred beside his wife, and there the two await the Resurrection morning.
Dr. Carley’s life story is that of a unique and varied record of Christian service. Born and reared in a Christian home, his conversion came about as a normal development of his life. He was licensed to preach by the Vicksburg District Conference which met in Utica, Mississippi, June 15, 1899, E. H. Mounger, Presiding Elder, and he was admitted on trial into the Mississippi Conference at Natchez, December 12, 1902- the day before his twenty-fourth birthday. By Conference dates, not years of actual service, his appointments in Mississippi follow: 1902, “Simpson” which Included Braxton, D’Lo, Mendenhall, and Weathersby in Simpson county; 1903, he was ordained a local deacon by Bishop Joseph S. Key, and appointed to Satartia; 1904, received into full connection and returned to Satartia; 1905, Redd Street, Hattiesburg, but was transferred to the Louisiana Conference in July 1906 to fill a vacancy which had occurred at Parker Memorial Church, New Orleans.
His service record in Louisiana was: 1906, ordained an elder by Bishop Seth Ward, and returned to Parker Memorial Church; 1907-1909, Carrollton Avenue Church, New Orleans; 1910, Louisiana Avenue Church, New Orleans; 1911-1917, Professor of English and History in Centenary College at Shreveport; 1918-1927, Editor, New Orleans Christian Advocate, and during 1922-1924, he had Felicity Street church in addition to his editorial assignment; 1928-1931, Presiding Elder, Shreveport District; 1932-1933, Presiding Elder Monroe District; 1934, Trinity Church, Ruston, from which he was released at his own request the latter part of August 1935; 1935-1939, Associate Editor of The New Orleans Christian Advocate, and for the first year of that period he was Superintendent of Central High School of Satartia, Mississippi; 1940-1943, Ponchatoula; 1944, First Church, Tallulah, from which he was released in April, 1945, on account of a break in his health; and at the Conference of 1945, he was granted the retired relation. He was a delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1930, and for a number of years he was the educational leader of the Louisiana Conference.
His record of service shows that he was a man of distinction and character, and that his leadership in the conference was not due to accidental circumstance, but to a recognition of his commanding ability and integrity. His manner and style were such that the humblest found themselves at ease in his presence. His ministerial relation secured for him a general credit for ability and character, but the esteem in which he was held cannot be explained by conventional attitudes toward the ministerial calling. He was a man of more than ordinary natural ability, and his scholastic attainments were of a high order. His winning the Founder’s Medal at Vandebilt University, his seven years as a professor at Centenary College, and. his ten years’ service in the more exacting position of journalistic leadership, are unmistakable signs of his ability and attainments. He was not an orator, but he was a clear thinker and a forceful writer. His editorials were interesting and informative discussions of current and vital topics, and they were enriched by restrained and wholesome humor.
His insights and observations reflected an almost uncanny understanding of the psychology which underlies the actions of men, but he was not a censorious critic of their faults, and he seldom shared his judgments even with his close personal friends. Re exhibited a charitable attitude toward those who did him wrong, and he chose to suffer wrong in silence — not to seek satisfaction in resentment.
His ministry was not one-dimensioned, his pulpit efforts were greatly reinforced by the simplicity of manner and obvious sincerity, and he met men upon their own plane — he talked the language which they understood. Perhaps the most striking and characteristic mark of his administrative work was his ability to harmonize discordant groups and to direct their activities toward constructive ends. Thus, he achieved his goals without trimming his sails, or deviation from the fundamental commitments of his life.
Dr. Carley’s home life was a radiant fellowship of kindred spirits happily adjusted to common idea]s and impulses, a daily expression of family devotion and of faith in God. After Mrs. Carley was translated, their devoted and lovely daughter took over the responsibilities ~of the home, as only such a daughter could. Having shared the devotion of her parents and having loved their friends, she made of the ancestral house the home that it had been across the years. Dr. Carley’s home was vastly more than his castle, it was his world. After his wife passed away, his friends realized that something real had gone out of his life. He was not morose and he did not make his friends sharers of his sorrow, but his loneliness was evident. Arranged on his desk to the last day of his life, were the likeness of those who made up his symphony of domestic love and happiness.
Less obvious but not less genuine than his devotion to those of his own household, was his devotion to his old friends, and his loneliness Increased as their faces disappeared from the earthly horizon. He was one of the “Nine of ninety-nine” at Millsaps College and to the end, the mention of their names awakened happy memories of those care-free days. At the commencement of Vanderbilt University in 1952, he experienced a great thrill in the ceremony, which honored him as a “Quinq” — a graduate of fifty years.
When learned that he gravely Ill and that an operation had been decided upon, he faced the situation “as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Three days after he had received the report of his doctors, he wrote a letter in, which he told of his malady and of the decision to operate, and then added: “It may turn out all right, or it may not. In any event I am not disturbed. I love, the present, but I am not afraid of the future. So, everything is all right.” In the spirit and assurance of that eloquent testimony, he joined his loved ones beyond the River. He left to his sorrowing family and friends a heritage of worthy achievement and inspiration of an unshaken faith in -the goodness of God, and in the sufficiency of Redemption for the meeting the needs of man In affliction, even In the shadow of approaching death.
As a fitting and beautiful conclusion for this memoir, we quote the last paragraph his editorial tribute to his mother:
“No, mother is not dead! She has gone to heaven. What a difference it makes! She is asleep for a while — asleep in Jesus —and when she awakes, it will be in the home over there, the home she has read about and talked about, the home to which she said she would be glad to go when the master called her. It is a beautiful home because beautiful mother is there. She is perfectly happy there for it is God’s home, and she is not suffering the pain she suffered on earth, and she still looks down upon us with the love she has loved us with always. And she is watching for us to cine Home.
“Yes, Mother, we are coming.”
|Source: Annual of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 158-161, 1954, by William L. Duren.|