Obituary For Homer Hailey
Evangelist, educator and author Homer Hailey died at his home Nov. 9. He was 97.
Hailey began preaching in Buffalo Gap, Texas, in 1927. He served as minister for churches in Texas, California, Hawaii, Florida and Arizona and preached for meetings in hundreds of churches of Christ throughout the United States.
He taught Bible at Abilene Christian College for 13 years between 1934 and 1951. He served for 22 years as vice president and head of the Bible department at Florida Christian College in Temple Terrace, Fla., and then retired to Tucson in the spring of 1973.
Books Hailey authored include: Attitudes and Consequences in the Restoration Movement; Lets Go Fishing for Men; Commentary on the Minor Prophets; That You May Believe; and Haileys Comments, Vols. 1 and 2. He also wrote commentaries on the books of Revelation and Isaiah.
The Churches of Christ in the 20th Century Homer Haileys Personal Journey of Faith, written by David Edwin Harrell Jr., was published this year by the University of Alabama Press in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Hailey was preceded in death by his first wife, Lois, who died in 1954, and his second wife, Widna, who died in 1997. He is survived by a sister, Mary Ida White; two daughters, Mary Lois Hoots and Carol Ann Hailey; two sons, Rob and Dennis; one stepson, Richard Kirby; seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. -Tucson, Ariz.
Gospel Advocate, December, 2000, page 41.
A Recollection From Alan Highers, December, 2010
When I was a student at Freed-Hardeman, G. K. Wallace told about two students he knew at Abilene. One was handsome, personable, everyone thought he would be the top preacher in the brotherhood in years to come. The other student was laid back, looked like a cowboy, and maybe did not raise high expectations. The flashy student did not study much after he left school. He stayed with a church about two years at a time, then moved on. He never reached the potential that everyone anticipated. The lanky cowboy, on the other hand, never ceased to study. He wrote a few books and became a renowned teacher. His name was Homer Hailey. The difference in the two was that Hailey was a lifelong student.
-From an email sent to us from Tom L. Childers. This first appeared as a comment in a blog produced by Dale Jenkins. Dale's father, Jerry Jenkins passed away in the fall, and Dale had made some comments in his blog about his dad being a lifelong student. Highers commented and left the above story. Thanks to Alan for his great memory!
Homer Hailey, Evangelist, Scholar, Author and Educator
Fifty years ago I attended Abilene Christian College in Abilene, Texas two semesters. I had some excellent teachers, one of whom was Homer Hailey. He was one of the best teachers I ever had anywhere.
I did not always agree with brother Hailey, but I always loved and respected him for his knowledge of God's word, his scholarship, and his being my brother run Christ, and his pleasant, gentle spirit.
Homer was born in Marshall, Texas August 12, 1903. He started preaching in Abilene, Texas in 1927.
He had a B.A. degree from Abilene Christian, and an M.A. degree from Southern Methodist University. He married Lois Manley in 1930. They had five children. Lois died in 1954. In 1955, Homer married Widna Kirby, a widow who had two children when she and Homer married.
Brother Hailey died in Tucson, AZ a few weeks ago, not long after I received the following letter from him.
LETTER FROM BROTHER HAILEY
Dear Basil, Thank you for your letter dated July 20, 2000 and the two issues of The World Evangelist. I was delighted to hear from you for I had lost track of you and wondered what had happened to you. I remember with pleasure our association at Abilene Christian College and the friendship that developed between us.
It is good to know that you are still active in the Lord's work. When I held that meeting in Paducah, I had just met Widna in Abilene and had fallen so much in love with her that she was all that was on my mind in that meeting. We were married within two months of our meeting and had forty-one years of bliss and happiness. She died in 1997 from her intense devotion and care for her paralyzed son. He died one month later.
I am living in an apartment. I am managing to continue writing some. I'll be 97 August 12th. My vigor of health is deteriorating. My eyes and hearing are bad and I have problems with equilibrium but I am thankful to God for what I can do.
It would be a real pleasure to see you so we could review our work done since last we were together.
Thank you again for writing. Your friend and brother in Christ, Homer Hailey
H.B. Frank, Jr. is a faithful gospel preacher. The following is by him:
TRIBUTE TO HOMER HAILEY
Having just heard of our dear brother Homer Hailey's death, stirs many precious memories. In 1952-54 I sat at his feet in several Bible classes at Florida College. He made me feel that we had more than a teacher/student relationship. I was there primarily as a Bible student, but also taught some business courses. When he learned that I was a CPA, he asked me to prepare his income tax reports, which I did for six years until I moved to France. I wouldn't charge him; but he gave me volumes of books to overpay me.
He knew I had just left the Christian Church and was doctrinally ignorant of the Bible. I asked him in class if the idea he had just stated, that elders and pastors were the same, came "from the Bible?" He grinned and then replied that the Bible is Our only source of authority. Then he read and explained Acts 20:17,28.
Brother Hailey was a health addict (lived 97 years)! He shared his ice cream recipe with us. When we were overseas, my wife lost it. So, we asked him, not long ago, if he still had the recipe. He sent it to us after searching for it.
While I was in a series of gospel meetings with the Antioch church a year after we left FC, brothers Hailey, Hamilton, Cope, Pickup, and Miller all came to support the meeting. I preached at Antioch my last year at FC. I was asked to speak to the student body while in the area. Brother Hailey's first wife (Lois) died when we were at FC. At that time, he was engaged to marry a widow (Widna) in a month. So, I began my talk, "I understand that one of the faculty is planning to get married; and I DECLARE (one of his favorite expressions) I want to say some things that might help him!" After the chapel service brother Hailey came to me and commended me on the talk.
Brother Hailey commented in class that when he had to go to Houston for an operation for cancer that he promised the Lord if He would bring him through the .- operation, he would serve Him faithfully, proclaiming the Gospel. The Lord responded in grace and brother Hailey gratefully served Him faithfully for over a half century afterwards.
A year or so ago, brother Hailey wrote that he had just finished chapter nine of his commentary on Daniel. I hope that he finished it. He has continued to be my mentor through his many books he has left Bible students. He was my friend and encourager.
-H. B. Frank, Jr.
233 Long Leaf Trail
Byron, GA 31008
One of brother Hailey's unique sayings in class was, "Stand up, open the window and throw your chest out!" Then we had a short pause from concentrating on the lesson. I remember also that some of us in class were argumentative, especially, I. Sometimes he would say, "Overton was born disputing!" That would remind me of my mother's saying of me when I was quite young, "Basil will argue with a sign board!"
Brother Hailey wrote many books. Some of them are: Hailey's Comments, Volumes One and Two; a book on the Gospel of John; a commentary on the book of Revelation; Lets God Fishing For Men; Attitudes and Consequences (still a very pertinent treatise); The Minor Prophets and From Creation To The Day of Eternity,
Moses wrote, "Then Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people." (Genesis 25:8.) The longer I live the more life seems like a dream. I have known and heard preach many able gospel preachers. The number of preachers of the gospel my age (75) and older is relatively small. Wither went the fleeting years since I was a young preacher? Homer Hailey, and other gospel preachers, stories about whom are in this Special Issue, have joined the ages! So be it. Farewell fellow soldiers!
-Basil Overton, The World Evangelist, December, 2000, pages 15,16.
Sister Homer Hailey
Friends of Brother Homer Hailey, Professor of Bible in and Vice President of Florida Christian College, will be shocked to learn of the death of his beloved companion on April 27, 1954.
Lois Manly Hailey was born November 19, 1907. On December 20, 1930, she was married to Homer Hailey and to this union three children were born- two boys and one girl. They also have two adopted girls.
It was my pleasure to have known Sister Lois Hailey even before she and Brother Homer Hailey were married. We were classmates in Abilene Christian College for some time.
There was perhaps never a finer and more active Christian young girl than was Lois Manly Hailey. She was interested in the activities of the school and was extra good in dramatics, taking part in many of the school plays. She was also greatly interested in the church.
Sometime after she and Brother Hailey were married, Lois showed signs of Illness. She desired to be alone and away from crowds and suffered constantly from headaches and nervousness. Brother Hailey took her to every doctor that he thought would be of help to her. However, her health did not improve.
In the spring of 1954, her condition became such that she would lose consciousness for a while. She was taken to the hospital and after careful examinations, the doctors would release her, stating that they were afraid that she had brain tumor, but could not definitely diagnose her case. On the afternoon of April 27, she went into a coma and died.
An autopsy was performed on her by a group of medical doctors. They reported to Brother Hailey as follows:
"It was found that Mrs. Hailey died because of the presence of an extremely rare type of brain tumor. The famous brain surgeon, Cushing, encountered only 11 such cases in his experience of over 2000 brain tumor cases. I have only been able to find record of one case in which this type of tumor occupied the same part of the brain as in Mrs. Hailey's case.
"The tumor has been given various names, the most accurate of which is probably the term Epidermoid. It is also known as "pearly" tumor. In her case, the tumor arose from the Chroid Plexuses of both lateral and third ventricles of the brain. The third ventricle of the brain lies almost precisely in the middle of the cranial cavity and the extension of the tumor was such as to have made its surgical removal impossible.
"This type of tumor is not cancerous, but because of its location, encroached on vital tissues of the brain. It is an extremely s low growing type of tumor, the origin of which is thought to be certain mis placed cells which have the nature of skin tissue, the faulty development occurring even before birth of the individual. It is not, however, hereditary in any sense of the word. or familial, and more than one case in the family has never been described."
It will be observed that the doctors state that this condition could have been developing even before birth. This gradual development of brain tumor has been the ca use of Sister Hailey's having such ill health over such a long period of time.
For some time before her death, she had been lapsing into unconsciousness, reviving aga in and getting along seemingly pretty well. In the report from these medical doctors, there was a statement as follows:
"In the case of such a tumor in such an area, death occurs as a result of a sudden blockage of the spinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain. ln retrospect, there can be no doubt that her sudden losses of consciousness were all due to such a stoppage which somehow was released in previous episodes."
Life is to most of us a puzzle. We will never know why that good Christian people have to suffer so long and so seriously. Sister Hailey leaves a rich heritage. She was a good, devoted companion and faithful mother, and beloved by all who knew her.
Brother Hailey will continue his activities with Florida Christian College and will need the prayers and encouragement of all Christian people.
Wallace, G.K., Firm Foundation, 25 May 1954, page 5.
Chronology On The Life Of Homer Haley
October 25, 1876
Thomas Hailey married Mollie G. Williams in Marshall, Texas
Birth of Mary Eunice (Mamie) Collins, mother of Homer
September 2, 1879
Robert T. Hailey – 2nd of six sons born to Thomas and Mollie Hailey
Marriage of Robert to Mary Eunice (Mamie) Collins
August 12, 1903
Homer Hailey was born on the Hailey farm NE of Marshall, Texas.
Homer’s brother, Rob was born
Family moves to Turkey, Texas
Homer’s sister, Ruth was born
Homer’s brother, Jack was born
Family moved to New Mexico territory
Family moves back to Lamesa, Texas
Family moves back to family farm in Harrison County, Tx
Kids were sent to Willcox, Arizona to stay with Mamie’s parents. Homer was eleven years old – his home for the next twelve years.
Homer’s brother, Roy, was born
Homer finished his studies at Lompoc School
Robert T. Hailey dies in the flu epidemic, Mamie is 5 months pregnant, with five children – Homer is 15, in 2nd year of High School – quits school to work
Other tragedies: Mamie’s brother Jack is killed in France; Grandfather Collins dies; the rented house in which Homer and the others lived burned; and his 13 year old brother, Jack, is accidentally shot to death on a hunting trip.
Homer’s baby sister, Mary Ida is born.
Homer goes to work for Thomas Huffman – 16 yrs old
Homer is baptized in the Christian Church by a preacher by the name of Talbot, along with his girlfriend, his brother and a few others
At age 22, Homer graduate as valedictorian of his class of 25 – He and his brother Rob borrow money to go into a general merchandising business with two older businessmen – The Valley Store
August 2, 1926
Homer and family move back to Texas to go to school to become a preacher
Homer enter Abilene Christian College @ 23 yrs old
Preached his first “real” sermon at Buffalo Gap, a few miles south of Abilene – Preached on subject of Hope
Preached his first Gospel Meeting at Willcox Christian Church, Willcox, Arizona – Though he had given up the instrument, it was used in the meeting.
H.H. became known as one of the preacher boys of ACC, along with Paul Southern, Glenn Wallace, and Don H. Morris
Returned to Willcox, Arizona for summer work. Preached another meeting at Willcox Christian Church – this time without the use of an instrument.
Year End 1928
Had developed a small circuit of churches he preached for each month; involving churches in Hamby, Gustine, Santo & Lamesa.
Through his leadership in the Mission Study Class at ACC, H.H. organized a school for colored people in Abilene = Began preaching for local churches
Preached meetings all summer in Arizona and Texas
In the early 30s HH held a debate with a Baptist in Gustine, Texas
June 1, 1930
Graduated 3rd in his class, and had served as its vice-president. He and Paul Southern preached the senior sermons.
Preached meetings during summer in Arizona, HH sent reports to the Firm Foundation & a good report to the Gospel Advocate of the state of the work in Arizona.
Returned to Abilene to become principal of the small elementary and high school operated by ACC.
December 20, 1930
He also married Lois Manly.
The Haileys move to Arizona
September 20, 1931
First daughter, Roma, is born in Wickenburg, Arizona
Moved to Tempe, Arizona
Nearly broke they headed back to Abilene, preaching along the way in gospel meetings
Took the position of regular preacher for the Fifth and Highland Church in Abilene – During the summers he traveled, doing gospel meetings
Family purchased a small house on Meander Street in Abilene
February 4, 1934
Mary Lois is born - Homer and Lois' second daughter.
10 day meeting at Wichita, Kansas at the University and Walnut Street church were his former school classmate, G.K. Wallace preached
Began teaching a 3/5ths load in the Bible Department at ACC
Preached in meetings as far as California
Preached in meetings as far as California
Mr. Manly, Lois’ father, gives the couple a 130 acre farm, and family moves to the ranch
Preached in Dodge City, Kansas on the way to doing meetings in Oregon
HH resigned his teaching position at ACC due to expansion in the church at Fifth And Highland.
Held a successful meeting for the college church in which 19 were baptized, 11 of which were members of the ACC football team
Baccalaureate speaker at ACC graduation
Preached in Denver, Co. at Park Hill church where his friend Yater Tant preached.
Mr. Manly gives the Hailey’s a three-acre plot about 3 miles from ACC campus. HH builds a home there in 1941, and family moved back to town
Returned to teaching at ACC’s Bible Department
October 14, 1939
Rob, the Hailey’s first son, is born in Abilene
Preached in Chicago, Ill at Northwest church where Yater Tant then preached
September 17, 1941
Dennis, the Hailey’s second son is born in Abilene
Resigns as teacher at ACC, but continues preaching for Fifth And Highland Church
Held a debate with Percy Krewson, a Christian church preacher in Douglas, Arizona on the subject of instrumental music in worship
Leaves Fifth And Highland to pursue a graduate degree / Held a debate with a Seventh-Day Adventist in Oklahoma City/ Conducts meetings as far as Helena, Montana.
September 15, 1943
Began preaching for the Shamrock Shores church in Dallas, Texas and enrolled in Perkins School of Theology on the campus of SMU, Southern Methodist University. Lois remained in Abilene, while HH lived in a boardinghouse
Graduated with a graduate degree from SMU, having completed his courses and thesis in 9 months
Founding out that a return to ACC was not possible he conducted his regular meeting work, as far as Los Angeles, California
To Houston for surgery and treatment of a cancer that had developed. There for four months
Moved to Los Angeles, California to preach for the San Leandro church
Went on his summer meeting work in good health
Re-wrote his Master’s Thesis and released it through the Old Paths Book Club under the title, Attitudes and Consequences of the Restoration Movement
Family moves to Hawaii to work with the church and start a school. However Lois was not able to join the family initially, but stayed in LA with daughter Roma.
Began Honolulu Bible School – two year course teaching Bible and Personal Evangelism on the island
Returned to ACC to delivered closing address at the annual lectureship on Worldwide Missions
Returns to the mainland for a series of Gospel Meetings that took him all over the country
Became Associate professor of Christian education at ACC, and returned to Abilene, began preaching for the Graham Street church
One of the featured speakers on a 22 congregation cooperative meeting in Fort Worth, Texas
Wrote and produced the book, “Let’s Go Fishing For Men”, Published by Christian Chronicle Publishing Co.
Adopted Carol Ann, four year old
Family moves to Temple Terrace, Florida where he becomes VP of Florida Christian College and head of the Bible Department – HH is 47 years old
Launching of The Preceptor, a journal made up of professors of Bible in the Florida Christian College, Jim Cope served as editor – Sold to some Texas Christians in 1955, but in the 3 ½ year it was edited at FCC it was a scholarly paper, and was enmeshed in the promotion of non-institutional concepts – HH was not as radically involved as other writers
Lois passes away, funeral held at the Highland church in Abilene, burial following at Round Mound Cemetery near her family ancestors.
October 4, 1955
HH marries Widna Kirby, a widow. He was 52, she was 38
Florida Christian College changes its name to Florida College
Mamie Collins, the mother of HH, died at Temple Terrace, Florida
HH produced his Commentary on the Minor Prophets, published by Baker Book House / Christianity Today chose it as one of the 25 most significant religious books of 1972
HH produced his book, That You May Believe, a study of the deity claims of Christ in the book of John, also produced by Baker Book House
Retired from Florida College, family moves to Tucson, Arizona
July 18, 1973
Widna arrives at her newly built home
Commentary on Revelation Release by Baker Book House
Produced From Creation To The Day Of Eternity, Nevada Publications
Just past his 79th birthday, he quit regular meeting work. Began preaching for a little congregation in Oracle, Arizona. Preached there fifteen years.
Commentary on Isaiah released by Baker Book House
Hailey’s Comments, a two-volume set compilation of H.H.’s articles. Published by Stanley W. Paher.
H.H. was presented the Christian Service Award by Pepperdine University during their annual Lectureship program
Increased meeting schedule, about 16 per year
Meeting at Berlin on Marriage & Divorce, opened HH to a nation-wide confrontatio1985 n among non-institutional churches on the MDR question
HH pulls himself from the lectureship at Florida College for fears it was going to be boycotted if he participated
HH produces a pamphlet entitled, The Divorced And Remarried Who Could Come To God
August 12, 1993
Family gathered together in Nashville to celebrate Homer Hailey’s 90th birthday
Gave up his preaching at Oracle, Arizona, but continued to teach the Sunday morning class
January 8, 1997
Widna passed away. She was buried in Roanoke, Alabama by her first husband
February 6, 1997
Gordon, Widna’s son died in Tucson. He was buried by his parents in Roanoke, Alabama
Abilene Christian University honored Homer Hailey for his life of service
Family gathered on the Manly Ranch for Homer’s 94th birthday.
December 26, 1997
Roma, Homer’s eldest daughter, died
Florida College honored Homer Hailey and other pioneer faculty members
November 9, 2000
Homer Hailey died - burial in Round Mount Cemetery SE of Anson and just N of Abilene, Texas.
Chronology Prepared By Scott Harp
Direction To The Graves Of Homer and Lois Hailey
Homer and Lois Hailey are buried in the Round Mound Cemetery north of Abilene, Texas.
From Anson, Texas: At the intersection of US Highway 83/277 and 180. Go east on US Highway 180 for 11.0 miles to the Intersection of FM 600. Turn right (South) on FM 600 and go 11.4 miles to the junction of FM 1082. Turn left (East) on FM 1082 and go for 5.2 miles around the north end of Lake Fork Phantom, and on to the cemetery on the left (East) side of the road. Head into the main gate, and head to the second section on the left and head toward the north. The Hailey monument is just behind an old cedar tree, not more than forty feet from the drive. See map below for exact location. Be sure to zoom in and out for best results.
From Abilene, Texas: Get off I-20 heading west, take on Exit 290 to and drive on the frontage road until you come to Hwy. 351. Turn right, heading NE. Turn left on FM(FarmToMarket) 1082. Go about five miles and the cemetery will be on your right. Head into the main gate, and head to the second section on the left and head toward the north. The Hailey monument is just behind an old cedar tree, not more than forty feet from the drive. See map below for exact location. Be sure to zoom in and out for best results.
GPS Location of the Grave
or D.d. 32.570226,-99.656399
For years I have known of the work of Homer Hailey. I had his books on the prophets and the book of Revelation in my library. In 2009 while on a mission effort to the Fiji Islands, it was my privilege to read David Edwin Harrell's book, The Churches of Christ In The 20th Century: Homer Hailey's Personal Journey Of Faith. This is must reading for students of Restoration History. From it I was able to glean the chronology that appears on this website. The photo at the top was scanned from that book as well. My deep appreciation is extended to David Edwin Harrell, Jr. for his work in the production of the book. Please order your copy of it from the Gospel Advocate, or the Freed-Hardeman University Bookstore.
It was my privilege to visit the Round Mound cemetery where the bodies of Homer and Lois Hailey await the coming of the Lord. My Jenny and I were there in January, 2010. The photos of the grave you see here were taken from that visit.