Rev. Estil Schale


Rev. Estil Schale Obituary
A threatening blizzard led the family doctor and his wife to move in for a week with Abe Schale, his expectant wife Elizabeth, and their three children. So it was in a sod homestead house on the eastern Colorado plains a son was born Jan 5, 1919. The good doctor wished to adopt the new baby but had to settle for bequeathing him his name. So the baby was christened Estil, with no middle name, thus ensuring exclusive use of the honorary but peculiar name.
Eventually there were six children in the family. With no local high school, education beyond grade 8 was impossible without leaving home. Estil alone of the children pursued the move, boarding with and working for his Ollenburger grandparents in western Oklahoma. There, he attended a Mennonite Brethern Church with his grandparents, accepted the Lord as his Savior, and was baptized.
Estil excelled in school, but came up hard against the next hurdle. He wanted to to attend college, but couldn't come up with the money despite hard farm labor following the harvest from Oklahoma to North Dakota. Reluctantly, he took employment with an uncle and was plowing a field in preparation for the next season when a car approached the field where he was working. He was amazed to realize that it was his pastor along with the president of Tabor College. He was offered a spot in college and a job to pay his way. The very next morning, he was off the farm and on his way to college.
He was pursuing a career in business with an accounting major, was elected class chairman,and was dating the daughter of a bank president when another one of those life changing events occurred. He attended a mid term Bible conference. The subject was "Knowng the Lord's call to Christian service" and the speaker's points were virtual arrows going into Estil's heart. The minute the service was over, he ran across campus to his room. There he went to his knees and committed his life to the Lord's service. He changed majors, eliciting great dismay on the part of the banker who did not wish his daughter married to a poor minister. On his insistence, the relationship ended.
Friends University in Wichita, Kansas was his next stop. As a student, he spearheaded the start of the First Mennonite Brethren Church of Wichita and was called to be it's first pastor. He also courted and on graduation in June 1943 married his beloved Irene Sawatzky. His father-in-law, also a minister of humble means, did not share the banker's qualms. The first residence of their 72 year marriage was a small apartment in the church basement.
Their first move together was to Dallas, Texas in fall of 1946. Estil began studies at Dallas Theological Seminary culminating in a ThD degree and served as pastor of a church. While there, their son David was born March 1953 followed by daughter Marilyn May 1956.
In 1959 the family immigrated to California in response to a call from Bethany Mennonite Brethren Church in Fresno. While there, the greatest tragedy Estil faced in this life struck when, after a two week illness daughter Marilyn died early in June 1962. That he never questioned God through this horror was a source of amazement to at least one of his fellow ministers.
Subsequent moves and ministries over the years included church planting in San Jose and teaching. He officiated at the marriage of son David to Ruth Embree in 1987. Life with grandchildren Stephen, Sarah, and Paul beckoned eliciting his final earthly move from San Jose to Bakersfield in 1990.
In demeanor Rev.Estil Schale remained a calm man of few, but carefully chosen words. A humble man, he was beloved in the many roles he fulfilled. Always a creative man, he worked with his hands in the tradition of a depression era farm boy. He suffered much in his final years. Almost all of it he endured quietly. His uttered his last "Amen" on July 7 and passed peacefully July 9. Home at last.
Donations in lieu of flowers: Dallas Theological Seminary. 3909 Swiss Ave. Dallas, TX 75204.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 11:00 a.m at Heritage Bible Church.
Published in Bakersfield Californian from July 12 to July 13, 2015
Read More