Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Clergy Family



Rev. James Lambert and Christine Paolercio married on Aug. 13, 2011, at Faith UMC in Tulsa. Rev. Lambert is associate pastor at Willow View UMC in Enid.

In memoriam

Rev. Mary Lou Branscum Millis, 79, of Muskogee died Sept. 2, 2011. She was the first female elder ordained in the Oklahoma Conference.

Mary Lou was born Aug. 22, 1932, in Vian. She graduated from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. She was ordained as a deacon in 1966 and as an elder in 1969. She served churches between 1967 and 1975, when she was assigned to Honorable Location.

In a 2006 Contact interview, she said a friend urged her to consider a career in the Church rather than to work as an educator. Her father worried she might not be accepted as a clergy member, she recalled. "My mother was kind of proud of it."

She was in her late 30s when she began pastoring churches. "Because I had experienced a lot of life" by that age, "I think that made a lot of difference in my acceptance," she said.

Her first appointment was to Fletcher. Someone asked this first female elder: What will you wear when you preach? Her quick response: "A robe, of course!"

She also served at Tulsa-Trinity, Okmulgee-Butler Memorial, and Bartlesville-First.

Her biggest struggle? "You had to produce a sermon every Sunday, and that was the thing I found the very hardest to do on a regular basis, to have something to share of meaning, useful to people in their everyday lives."

When Mary Lou Branscum married Lawrence Millis, a Muskogee optometrist, in the 1970s, she chose to become a full-time homemaker. He predeceased her.

Survivors include a sister, Peggy Rosenberg of Fort Smith, Ark., three nephews and a niece.

A private service was held Sept. 3 at Garden of Memories cemetery in Vian.

Robert Johnson of Goltry died Sept. 20. He was the father of Rev. Rockford Johnson, pastor at Chickasha-Epworth UMC.

Rev. Robert McNabb Haynes, 83, of Georgetown, Texas, died Aug. 2, 2011. He served at Ardmore-First UMC, 1996-2000, as a part-time Local Pastor.

"Bob" was born Aug. 25, 1937, in Fort Smith, Ark. He earned a master’s in counseling from the University of Arkansas. He had been mayor of Ardmore and later directed the Main Street program for Bentonville, Ark.

Bob and his first wife, ZoeAnn, were active in Walk to Emmaus through Ardmore-First. After they moved to Arkansas in 2000, they introduced the program at First UMC in Bentonville. She predeceased him.

Survivors include daughters Sara Merritt and Sherry Boan, and four grandchildren; his wife, Marci Boone Haynes; stepchildren Sam Goodner and Melanie Reyes, and seven stepgrandchildren.

Funeral was Aug. 6 at First UMC, Bentonville, with arrangements by Stockdale Funeral Services of Rogers.

Helen Lowe Eisenberg, 90, of Richmond Hill, Ga., died Aug. 29, 2011. She was the widow of Rev. John Lawrence "Larry" Eisenberg. He died in 1997.

Helen was born March 11, 1921, in Wichita Falls, Texas. Larry and Helen married on Aug. 29, 1943. She was an educator.

They collaborated throughout his ministry career, which stretched from 1943 to retirement in 1985. The couple were UM missionaries to Rhodesia, Africa, and Red Bird Mission, Kentucky. They were co-authors. Helen also taught in public school.

Their Oklahoma service began in 1973.

Survivors include children Don and John Eisenberg and Laren Reincheld; foster daughter Pat Brown; and nine grandchildren.

Memorial service was Sept. 1 in the chapel of Magnolia Manor, Richmond Hill, with arrangements by Strickland & Sons Funeral Homes.

Samuel Lee Brown, 82, of Miami died Sept. 6. He was the father of Rev. Furan Jackson, pastor at Commerce and Quapaw.


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