MRS. ROBERT H. WYNN
September 13, 1872-1966
On September 13, 1872, a precious baby girl was born to Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Sawtelle, in Wheeling, West Virginia. She was named Alma. Later, when she was three years old, the family moved to New Orleans. Here she developed into a sprightly, dynamic young woman, and an accomplished secretary.
She was marred on October 27, 1897 to a promising young Methodist preacher named Robert Henry Wynn, the son of a Methodist circuit rider, Rev. John F. Wynn. He was pastor of the Algiers Methodist Church on the West Bank of New Orleans.
They became one of the best-known and most loved minister-wife teams in the annals of the Conference. Each brought to the combination qualities which the other needed. They complemented each other wonderfully well. He was quiet, calm and deeply spiritual, and was nick-named “The St. John of the Conference.” She was radiant, inspiration, bubbling and joyful.
Somehow, without neglecting the nurture and care of three active children, Louise (Mrs. W. N. Blanton of Houston), Robert (of Ruston) and Pauline (Mrs. W. Fred Allen of Kalamazoo) she threw herself enthusiastically into her husband’s career. She loved the Methodist Church and she loved people, making friends wherever they went. For 34 years she and her husband worked together, devoted to each other, to their children, and to the work of the Methodist ministry. The years flew by.
Leaving Algiers, they labored in the Irish Channel, in old New Orleans, at Louisiana Avenue Church. Then in rapid succession came Homer, Ruston, Minden and Monroe. They were loved and appreciated in each place.
After a short term on the Lafayette District he was called to be President of Centenary College in Shreveport. These were trying years, but they had the satisfaction of a good job, well done. Preferring the pastorate, he was again appointed to Ruston, and then to the Shreveport District.
Completing five years of hard work in Lake Charles in 1929, they came again to Minden. After one happy year his terminal illness began. She suffered every pain along with him, until he was relieved on Christmas Day, 1931.
This married half of her adult life was busy, happy and satisfying. She was wrapped up in husband and his career, her family, hr friends, and the church.
Often when a devoted couple is broke by death the survivor grieves until illness or even death results. This did not happen to Mrs. Wynn. She was deeply affected by the loss of her beloved mate, but she did not indulge a grief. She moved into a new way of life, resolved to make the most of it.
The children insisted that she make her home with them, and she did, for 35 years. They showered love, tender care, and sincere appreciation upon her. She never lacked for a thing.
She continued to be interested in the Methodist church, helping as she could, and encouraging the children in their church life. But she found other, varied interests, also connected with the Christian Faith. For example, she took a tremendous interest in the work of E. Stanley Jones and his Ashrams. She traveled all over the country acting as secretary for the movement and reveling in this dynamic witness for both personal and social Christianity.
She continued to attend the General Conferences of Methodism, as she had when her husband was four times a delegate. At the age of 81, when many are content to take it easy, she went with a group of women, by bus, from Houston to Milwaukee, to attend the General Assembly of the W.S.C.S. It was a long trip but she enjoyed every minute of it. At the age of 87 she attended the General Conference in Denver. She was not going to miss a thing if she could help it.
A friend who has known and loved her for many years remarked that “She was the most alive person I have ever known.” It was an apt tribute. She knew the Christian religion to be an aid to happier and healthier living, all the way from childhood to the grave.
Last December, at the age of 93, she was beginning to think that her faith had failed because her eyesight was growing dim. I had a long talk with her about that.
We are grateful that her terminal illness was short. Her life was long, rich and full. We are thankful for her great faith. It helped to keep her buoyant and radiant, through many a long, tiring day.
We thank God for the Christian faith of Mrs. R. H. Wynn. Her faith carried her through, all the way. We thank God for her, and for her faith. It makes the difference between faint hope and positive assurance, between defeat and triumph.
Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1966; p. 222 By Henry A. Rickey