Bishop Mack B. Stokes

Nov 26, 2012

1911 — 2012

PERDIDO KEY, FLORIDA — Bishop Mack B. Stokes, 100, of Perdido Key, Florida, died peacefully in his sleep Nov. 21, 2012.   Bishop Stokes was born in Wonson, Korea, on Dec. 21, 1911. He grew up in a missionary home with three brothers, all of whom became Methodist preachers. Mack graduated from the Seoul Foreign High School at age 16.  He received his A.B. from Asbury College, his B.D. from Duke University, and his Ph.D. from Boston University.  For 31 years he was a professor at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, where he was Parker Professor of Systematic Theology, and associate dean. He taught thousands of young preachers, who became his friends for life.  He was elected to the episcopacy of the United Methodist Church in 1972, and served as Bishop in Mississippi until 1980.  During this service he led a successful effort to merge the African-American and White Methodist conferences.  Mack and his late wife, Rose, maintained a home at Lake Junaluska for more than 60 years.

Mack was a distinguished scholar —a great philosopher and personalist. He authored more than 10 books and numerous articles.  One of his books, “Major United Methodist Beliefs,” has had multiple printings and has been translated into several languages.  However, he was best known as a humble servant of Christ, having preached around the world for more than 70 years.

In June, 1941, Mack married Ada Rose Yow of Henderson. They did everything together for 67 years, until she passed away in 2008.  When Mack was asked whether Rose was his first love, he responded, “Oh, no, she was my only love.”  In 2008, Mack and Rose established the “Bishop Mack B. and Rose Stokes Chair in Theology” at Emory’s Candler School of Theology.  Mack continued his life-long service to Emory University for more than 70 years, having also been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1972.

Mack is survived by two sons, Arch Yow Stokes of Perdido Key, Florida (Maggie), and Marion Boyd Stokes III of Atlanta, Georgia; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; his brother-in-law, Jensen Yow; and his sisters-in-law, Alda Stokes, 102, and Marilyn Stokes.  He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Rose; his precious daughter, Elsie Pauline; and, his three brothers, Lem, Jim and Charlie Stokes.

Celebration-of-Life memorial services will be held in Pensacola, Florida; in Atlanta, Georgia; and at Lake Junaluska.  Dates will be announced.

Pensacola Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home handled arrangements.

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