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Wilbur Lauderdale

Dr. W.C. "Chap" Lauderdale died at his residence at Due West Retirement Center on Sept. 7, 2004.

Born on Aug. 29, 1924, in Lexington, Va., Dr. Lauderdale was the son of the Rev. David Thomas and Sallie Ann Chapman Lauderdale. He united with Lexington Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church in 1929 under the ministry of his father. His early education was in Rockbridge County, where he graduated in 1942 from Lexington High School.

Dr. Lauderdale served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, and received the Air Medal and three Oak Leaf Clusters for combat in the European Theater. He graduated from Erskine College in 1949 with a B.A. degree. He was president of the Erskine Student Body Association. He received the B.D. degree from Erskine Theological Seminary in 1952. As a seminary student, he supplied the Tirzah ARP Church near Rock Hill and the Lyndon Grove ARP Church in Augusta, Ga. He studied at Duke University Divinity School and Fuller Seminary's Institute for Church Consultants, and completed a hospital chaplaincy at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte.

Virginia Presbytery ordained him in 1952, and he became pastor of New Perth ARP Church, and supply pastor of Elk Shoals ARP Church near Statesville, N.C. In 1962, he was appointed director of church extension of the denomination, and served until 1970, when he was elected vice president for development and assistant to the president at Erskine College. In 1979, he again became director of church extension, and held that position until his retirement in 1992. In his retirement, he continued as a supply preacher, and was minister of visitation for the Greenville ARP Church in 1996-2001.

He retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserves as a lieutenant colonel, and was awarded the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal. In 1969, Erskine College recognized his wide contributions to the church and society by bestowing upon him the honorary doctor of divinity degree. He was the recipient of the Chairman's Award from the Board of Counselors in 1995.

He served as moderator of Synod in 1968, and was twice moderator of First Presbytery. He was on many boards and committees of the General Synod and First Presbytery. He was a founding member, and later chairman for Presbyterian Chaplains and Military Personnel. He served on the World Congress on Evangelism.

His community service included the Boy Scouts, American Legion, Due West Town Council, the Fire Department in both Lexington and Due West, the Abbeville County Development Board, the Board of Visitors of the Medical University of South Carolina, the Erskine Alumni Board, the Erskine Memorial Hall Campaign Committee and the Three Rivers Health Systems Agency.

Dr. Lauderdale was a popular speaker and leader in the ARP Church, with an energetic and creative vision for the denomination. He possessed a genuine love for people, profound understanding of human nature, and a remarkable sense of humor.

He is survived by Barbara Ann Hobson Lauderdale of Due West Retirement Center, to whom he was married for 54 years; and two children, Rebecca Lauderdale and James Russell Lauderdale. He had one grandson, Mark Alexander Tatum.

Memorials may be made to the Wilbur Chapman "Chap" Lauderdale Seminary Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 668, Due West, SC 29639; or to Due West Retirement Center, P.O. Box 307, Due West, SC 29639.

Funeral services will be held Thursday at 2 p.m. at Due West ARP Church. The family will receive visitors at Chandler-Jackson Funeral Home, Abbeville, tonight from 6 to 8. Burial will be at Stonewall Jackson Cemetery in Lexington, Va., on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Published in The Greenville News on Sept. 8, 2004
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