Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Clergy Family


In memoriam

Billy Cooke

Rev. Dr. Bill Howard "Dusty" Cooke, 88, of Cramerton, N.C., died Feb. 6, 2010. He was ordained as an elder in 1986.

Billy was born Jan. 20, 1922, in Kannapolis, N.C. He was a World War II veteran. He married Thelma Blackwelder on July 24, 1944. He held two master’s degrees and two doctorates.

He served churches at Morning Star, Oologah, and Davis, between 1982 and 1993. He also was a college professor and safety educator.

Survivors include his wife, Thelma; son Phil Cooke of Burbank, Calif.; daughter Beth Carpenter of Cramerton; and four grandchildren.

Funeral was Feb. 9 at McEwen Pineville Chapel, Charlotte, N.C.


Leo Culver

Rev. Leo Virgil Culver, 88, of Miami, Okla., died March 4, 2010. An associate member of the Oklahoma Conference, he received his license to preach in 1955 and retired in 1987.

He was born at Edinboro, Pa., on Dec. 13, 1921. He attended Pastor’s School at Southern Methodist University.

He served at Foyil, Commerce, Jay, Chelsea-Memorial, Harvard Avenue and Haglar Memorial in Tulsa, Comanche, Addington, Bartlesville-Oak Park, Westville, and Zion. After he retired, he was a chaplain at Grove Hospital.

Survivors include his wife, Iona Jo Culver; four children, Shelby Coltharp of Miami, Keith Culver of Jay, Darlene Taylor of Grove, and Tad Culver of northeast Pennsylvania; 11 grandchildren; and great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Funeral was March 9 at Grove UMC.


Richard Benefield

Rev. Dr. Richard G. Benefield, 75, of Anadarko, died March 3, 2010. He was a Local Pastor.

Richard was born July 29, 1934. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and in the National Guard.

In the 1960s and ’70s, he served at Mann-ford, Carter, Port, Noble, Wayne, Criner, Weleetka, Dustin, Kenton, Felt, Cheyenne, Reydon, Cookson, Bunch, Erick, Liberty, Duncan-Stephens, Bethel, and Bridgeport. He was Ada District superintendent. He also served in the North Arkansas Conference.

He also was an educator and held multiple degrees.

Survivors include his wife, Alma June Benefield; children Debbie Pittman, Richard Benefield Jr., and Ginger Gonzalez; and seven grandchildren.

Graveside service was March 8 at the cemetery in Martha.


Dorothy Moore

Dorothy P. White Moore, 91, of Oklahoma City died Feb. 23, 2010. She was the widow of Rev. Leslie Orman White, who died in 1979.

She was born in Alma on April 15, 1918. Dorothy and Leslie met in Duncan, and they married on Feb. 29, 1937, in Comanche.

She was presented a lifetime membership in the Women’s Society of Christian Service in Lawton District. She worked 22 years for Dillard’s.

Survivors include a daughter, Beverly Snow of Oklahoma City, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Memorial service was Feb. 27 at OKC-St. Luke’s UMC.


FayDel Sewell

FayDel Sewell, 85, of Plano, Texas, died March 11, 2010. She was the widow of Rev. O. LeRoy Sewell, who died in 1997.

She was born in Black Rock, Ark., on Oct. 25, 1924. FayDel and LeRoy married on May 28, 1944, at Epworth UMC.

She was a Sunday school teacher, choir member, and church pianist/organist. The Sewell Prayer Chapel in the planned Wesley Center at Oklahoma City University will honor the couple.

Survivors include three children, Carol Lansdown of Oklahoma City, Mark Sewell of Altus, and Stanford Sewell of Plano; five grandchildren; and three great-grandsons.

Graveside service was March 15 at Rose Hill Cemetery, Oklahoma City, followed by a memorial service that same day at OKC-May Avenue UMC.


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