The Rev. William Hugh Bumgarner
AMHERST COUNTY, Virginia — The Rev. William Hugh Bumgarner, pastor of Midway Baptist Church in Amherst County, Virginia, peacefully completed his earthly journey at his home in Amherst County Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013.
Hugh was a proud native of Haywood County in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. Born May 13, 1926, he was the second child and oldest son of William Stokes Bumgarner and Nancy Roena Singleton Bumgarner.
Hugh graduated from Bethel High School in Haywood County in 1944 and served in the U.S. Navy, ending with a tour of duty in the Philippines immediately after the Japanese surrender in 1945. Upon his return from the Philippines he married Virginia Ardie Pless October 20, 1946 in Crusoe.
He worked for four years at Champion Paper & Fibre Company in Canton before responding to the call to prepare for Christian ministry. The Rev. Bumgarner was ordained in 1950 at Ridgeway Baptist Church in Candler. His call led him to Mars Hill College in 1950 and subsequently to Wake Forest College in 1951, where he graduated in 1953. He continued ministry preparation at Southeastern Baptist Seminary at Wake Forest, graduating in 1957.
The Rev. Bumgarner, in his own words, considered himself blessed to have served five churches: Pleasant Grove Baptist in Willow Spring; Calvary Baptist in Concord, Virginia; Madison Heights Baptist (Pastor Emeritus) in Madison Heights, Virginia; Rivermont Avenue Baptist (interim) in Lynchburg, Virginia; and Midway Baptist in Amherst, Virginia. He said, "I am indebted to all these churches, but especially to Madison Heights Baptist Church and Midway, which allowed me to minister with them all these many years."
The Rev. Bumgarner was also active in the Baptist General Association of Virginia, where he served for a period as chairman of the services committee of the Virginia Baptist Board.
Reared in a devout Christian family during the Great Depression, Hugh placed his faith in the risen Christ. In his own words, he said, "I firmly believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Revealer of God to man; the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I believe that every human being was made in the image of God and to disrespect any person is to disrespect God." As his health declined during the last week of his life, his farewell message to his children and grandchildren was, "Christ is the Way."
Hugh and his wife Ardia cherished their latter years of living in the Pleasant View community. They were accomplished gardeners and beekeepers and enjoyed sharing the fruits of their labors with family and friends. Wherever they lived, their door was always open to welcome family and friends for visits and meals.
Hugh was predeceased by his beloved wife, whom he considered to be his greatest encourager and dearest companion. Surviving with many loving memories are their daughter Donna Jean Bumgarner Massie (Harold) of Madison Heights; their son Alan Hugh Bumgarner (Terry) of Monroe; five grandchildren, Courtney Massie of Madison Heights, Emily Greenstreet (Jon) of O'Fallon, Illinois, Mary Ellen Bryant (Michael) of Madison Heights, Matthew Bumgarner (Britney) of Lynchburg and Jacob Bumgarner (Courtney) of Concord; and eight great-grandchildren, Hugh Greenstreet, Clara Greenstreet, Sydney Greenstreet, Eli Greenstreet, Chloe Maxfield, Devin Bryant, Tristan Bryant and Hayden Bumgarner.
Other loving survivors include his sisters Burlyn (Lynn) Eargle (W.E. Eargle) of Batesville, South Carolina; Eula B. Williams (the late B.L. Williams) of Spartanburg, South Carolina; Mary Jo Starnes (Cloyes) of Waynesville; his brothers Earl Bumgarner (Rosa Lee) of Brevard and Edgar Bumgarner (Lorena) of Bessemer City; and many nephews, nieces and cousins.
Hugh requested that his family sincerely acknowledge all of his many friends, especially Edgar and Mary Fitzgerald, Arnold and Rachel Fitzgerald and O.C. and Mildred Charmin of Midway Baptist and his dear friend and next-door neighbor Al Carpenter of Allwood.
The family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9 at Midway Baptist Church on U.S. Rt. 60 West in Amherst County; from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 at Madison Heights Baptist Church, Main Street, Old Town Madison Heights; and at other times at the Massie residence, 108 Sunset Circle, Madison Heights. A funeral service will be conducted at 3 p.m. Thursday at Madison Heights Baptist Church with the Rev. R. Todd Blake officiating. Interment will follow at the El Bethel Allwood Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Midway Baptist Church, 4695 Lexington Turnpike, Amherst, VA 24521.
Whitten Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, Monelison Chapel is serving the family.