January 20, 1892 - September 8, 1939
|Rev. Joseph Davis Fomby, son of Nathan D. Fomby, was born at Ashdown,’ Arkansas, January 20, 1892. He lived here with his parents until he was seven years of age, at which time his family moved with him to Magnolia, Arkansas, where Brother Fomby grew to young manhood. It was while here that as a young man he answered God’s call to the ministry and in the year 1917 he was ordained a Deacon.
His first appointment was at Centerfield, Arkansas, but at the end of the year transferred to the Southwest Missouri Conference. He served here only a short while, for in July of 1918 he joined the U. S. Army and, was first stationed at A. & M. campus, at Starkville, Mississippi, later being transferred to Camp Gordon, Georgia.
At the close of the war, Brother Fomby returned to Arkansas where he remained until coming to Natchitoches, Louisiana, to assist Brother Johns, and the following year supplied Pelican. In 1928 he was admitted into the Louisiana Conference in full connection and was appointed in subsequent years to the following charges: Barham, Colfax, Logansport, Waterproof, Keener Memorial—Baton Rouge, Many and Rayne.
It was in the year 1922 that Brother Fomby’s health first began to fail, and the doctors discovered him to have diabetes. But with the use of insulin and a strict diet his effectiveness was not seriously impaired, and he served the Church loyally and effectively until September of this year past when after strenuous toil and over exertion he became a victim of pneumonia and passed away in the early morning of September 8, 1939.
It was in the year of 1914 that Brother Fomby was married to Miss Jewel Stevens, daughter of Henry and Laura McWilliams Stevens, whom he had known since boyhood. And to this union were born five children—twin sons, who died in infancy, Joe, Junior, Henry, Irving and Virginia.
Services for Brother Fomby were held in the Rayne Church and burial was at Magnolia, Arkansas.
It is impossible to find fitting words to tell of this noble man’s greatness. Suffice it to say, He was God’s man—with a devotion to the Kingdom and a consecration to his task far beyond that which most of us attain. He was an informed servant of Christ. He read widely, yet with discrimination. He possessed unusual powers of retention of that which he had read. He was deeply spiritual, and carried about in his very being the suggestion of the presence of God. He loved the brethren. Particularly did he love preachers; not only of his own denomination but those of all communions, and at no time was he more in his element than when he sat with a group of preachers and talked of God’s Kingdom.
If there is any one word that might be used to characterize his life more than any other it is the word—humility. For truly be was a humble servant of our Father.
His inspiring sermons, his wise and godly counsel to those in trouble, his sympathetic understanding of all life’s difficult ways and his zealous loyalty to the Highest—marked him as one “chosen of God for the redemption of Israel.”
He fought a good fight. He kept the faith, he finished the course. There is, therefore, laid up for him a crown of righteousness at the right hand of God the Father.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Pages 110-111, 1939, by G. W. Pomeroy|