Rev. Dr. Donald Malcolm Loudermilk B.D., D.Min.,
September 07, 2009
The Rev. Dr. Donald Malcolm Loudermilk, 88, of Charleston, W.Va., died Sept. 7, 2009, at Hubbard Hospice House after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was born on Feb. 4, 1921, in Huntington, the fourth son of the late John Henry and Eva Lena Griffith Loudermilk.
He was preceded in death by an infant son, born in Washington, D.C., in 1952 and interred in Don’s military plot at Arlington National Cemetery, Va.; and brothers, James Robert and wife, Laura, Lloyd Griffith and John Seward and wife, Nell.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Kathleen (Kay) Mallory Loudermilk; sons, Timothy Donald and wife, Rebecca, of West Virginia, and Col. (R-USA) Jeffrey Allen and wife, Maria, of Center Twp., Pa.; grandchildren, Donald Alexander, James Robert and Nicole Kathleen of West Virginia and John Nicholas of Pennsylvania; and sisters-in-law, Brenda Koehn of Colorado and Ruth B. Loudermilk of Charleston.
Don graduated from Huntington High School, where he was drum major of the marching band, and led the 150-member band at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. In 1940, he became head drum major at Marshall College and also began flight training in Civilian Pilot Training (CPT). His love of flying led him to take the exam for entrance into the Navy Air Corps, into which Don was inducted in October 1942. He continued his flight training until July 24, 1943, when he earned the coveted Navy wings and was commissioned an ensign, USNR. On Oct. 30, 1943, he was assigned to Composite Squadron VC-21. On April 3, 1944, Don’s squadron boarded the carrier USS Marcus Island, CVE-77 and flew the FM-2, Wildcat fighter into combat in the Pacific. He participated in the Palau Islands and Leyte landings, the second battle of the Philippine Sea, the battle for Leyte Gulf, the landings at Mindoro, Philippines, and Lingayan Gulf, Luzon. On May 7, 1945, Don was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for action in the Battle for Leyte Gulf.
After the war, Don met his wife-to-be, Kay Mallory, while stationed at Oceana Naval Auxiliary Air Station, near Virginia Beach, Va. He continued as a ferry pilot until June 1, 1946, when Lt. USNR Loudermilk received his separation orders in Washington, D.C., at which time he returned home to Huntington, W.Va. Don continued his flying for a longtime friend who helped him get his instructor’s license, not only to give him an income doing something he loved, but also to give him access to plane trips to Virginia Beach to see Kay. It was during one of these trips that Don had a life-changing experience with a night landing near Lexington, Va. The experience prompted him to return to Marshall, earn his degree, and propose to his sweetheart, Kay. He enrolled at Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS) on Sept. 10, 1948.
The happy couple were married on June 18, 1949, and moved to the ANTS campus, where they lived for two years. Don was ordained into the ministry at Fifth Avenue Baptist Church, Huntington, on Dec. 31, 1950. He began his ministry as the associate minister at National Baptist Church, Washington, D.C., in September 1951. While there, Don served as chairman of the Audio-Visual Committee of the Washington Federation of Churches; had a weekly TV program; served as National Chaplain of AMVETS; was a member of the Baptist Ministers Association; had the opening prayer at National Memorial Park dedication of the memorial to the four chaplains who went down on the ship Dorchester; was chairman of the Christian Education Commission of the D.C. Baptist Convention, and was Adviser for the Youth and Young Adult Ministries at National Baptist Church.
In July 1955, Don accepted a call from the North Parkersburg Baptist Church, his first and only full-time pastorate. He oversaw expansion of the church there with a beautiful new sanctuary and greatly improved educational facilities to accommodate the needs of a growing congregation.
After 12 years at NPBC, Don was asked to join the staff of the West Virginia Baptist Convention as an area minister covering the entire eastern part of the state. The family moved to Lewisburg, W.Va., close to both Don’s work and his roots (having spent summers in White Sulphur Springs and at the Monroe County home place). Don’s flight experience was a great asset in his work, being able to visit distant churches in a shorter time.
Having completed 11 years in the Eastern Area, Don was asked to move to Charleston to serve as area minister of the Capitol Area and become the state minister of christian education. During his tenure in Charleston, Don received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Alderson-Broaddus College. He also holds a Master of Divinity Degree from Andover Newton. He retired from his work with the WVBC on June 30, 1989.
The funeral service was held Sept. 12, at Charleston Baptist Temple, with Dr. Dennis Johnson, Dr. James C. Miller and the Rev. Archie Snedegar officiating. Interment will follow at Sunset Memorial Park, S.C.. Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, at Barlow-Bonsall Funeral Home, 1118 Virginia St. East, Charleston, W.Va., and one hour prior to the service Saturday at the church.
The family suggests that donations be made to the D.M. Loudermilk Memorial Fund, c/o Charleston Baptist Temple, 209 Morris St., Charleston, WV 25301 or to Hubbard Hospice House, 1001 Kennawa Drive, Charleston, WV 25311.
You may send your condolences to the family at http://www.barlowbonsall.com.