Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dr. Charles W. Conn (1920-2008)

(I had to swipe a picture... I'll have a better one soon...)
My heart was so sad today to discover that Dr. Charles W. Conn had passed away. In brief, he served as President of Lee University, General Overseer of the Church of God, and is the undisputed historian of the COG.
I had the privilege to meet him my very first semester in college. His former secretary (Dr. Evaline Echols) taught a business communcations class that I was taking that semester. As often as she could, she would ask Dr. Conn to come speak to her classes. The day he spoke to mine, he shared about his love to write (and communicate) and how that was translated literally for him, from books he'd written, to every love letter he'd ever sent his wife, to his collection of journals. He was a prolific writer and historian. He had the vocabulary, drive, and charisma to convey his feelings into words on paper, a gift that so few have. Specifically that day, he shared how, during his courtship with his wife on through years of their marriage, they both kept the letters they exchanged. (Later his children has those letter bound for their family.) He also kept journals to document his ministry. Early in their marraige, his wife asked what she was to do with the journals. To this day, I have never forgotten his response:
"I made sure to document every phase of my life so that, when I'm gone, Edna can explain my idiosyncracies to my grandchildren for them to know how much I loved her and them."
(And then he said this...)
"But then Edna cheated, and passed away first. And now I have these wonderful memories and letters to remind me of the wonderful woman that she was."
... I cry every time I think about what he said.
While Dr. Conn has been a gift to our denomination, he reminded me in that moment, and every moment since that that is the kind of love that I want.
Dr. Charles W. Conn (January 20, 1920 - March 18, 2008)


Aims said...

Even though I never met him, I always admired him. I can't believe he died. I lived down the street from him when I went to Lee.

Phil Hoover, Chicago said...

Dr Conn was a marvelous man, with a great sense of humor, and the gentle gift of treating every person he encountered as though they were the most special person on earth.

He has left a wonderful legacy. Oh that we all could leave as much.