History of the Restoration Movement

Gospel Advocate Obituaries


In 1996, the preacher for the Lehman Avenue church of Christ in Bowling Green, Kentucky was Jack Ray. At his suggestion, a group of members of the congregation gathered regularly at the building for the purpose of scanning through the pages of the Gospel Advocate. Their purpose was to locate the names of every person listed in the Obituaries and Notices pages of each issue. As the earliest issue of the Advocate is as far back as 1855, it took several months to glean through every page searching for notices of deaths that had been printed in the Advocate.

As a result of their efforts an exhaustive list of names, along with volume, date, and page number of its appearing in the Gospel Advocate was made available to a number of colleges and libraries around the country. Lispcomb University, with the assistance of Jim McMillan, built an online database making a search of these names possible.

In a recent visit with Mary Lois Hughes, member of the congregation at Lehman Avenue, it was revealed that when the database began to surface online, the church began receiving a large call volume of requests for someone to look up the names in the Gospel Advocate and to provide a copy of the obituary in its entirety. Upon receiving these requests it became quickly apparent that a copy of the entire obituary was needed. Jack Ray suggested that what was needed was a collection of all the obituaries and for them to be placed in a book.

So, on her own, Mary Lois began the search once again of all the obituaries of the Gospel Advocate. This time she copied each obituary and proceeded to enter its contents into a word processor. Upon completion of this laborous and time consuming task she reported:

This project has been on-going for nearly 10 years. After doing the Obituary and Death Notices and putting them on disc in 1996, it was suggested that I should have the entire obituary in written form and not just the names and page numbers. This would be for those who would not have access to the Gospel Advocate issues.

When I began this project it was no small task, knowing that there would be as many as 20,000 obituaries. I began my project in 1998. Recorded were obituaries from 1855 thru 2006. Those of children were not recorded because of the lack of parental information and being very wordy. Notices and tributes were not recorded also.

A project of this magnitude will have errors. After two computer crashes, a section being destroyed by other causes, and other problems beyond my control, I have recorded what I could retrieve. There may be some that I failed to print, because of these problems. In doing this work there were many names that were spelled in various ways, (Lowry, Lowrey, etc.) I sincerely hope that genealogist and others will benefit from this work. The obituaries are written as they appeared in the Gospel Advocate. Mistakes were left as they were originally recorded, (misspelled words, punctuation, etc.) This is not in alphabetical form entirely.

Thanks to Jack Ray for giving me this opportunity to do this project and the use of his Gospel Advocates. Thanks to David Lipscomb University for the the use of their library on many occasions. A special thank you to my family in their support and help, without which I could not have done this.

Hence, it should be understood that the obituaries and death notices that appear on this site number in the thousands. However it is not an exhaustive list. There will be typos along the way as it was produced as a labor of love. If the information that has been produced were to be placed in a book format, it would be in excess of over 3400 pages, making such an effort impossible.

Special thanks is extended to Mary Lois Hughes for her enduring and almost unending tenacity in undertaking such a large project and seeing it through to the end. Also special thanks is extended to her for sharing this information with www.TheRestorationMovement.com as the venue through which the obituaries of the Gospel Advocate will be made to the world wide web.

On a personal note, from 2006-2016, it was a pleasure for me, your web editor, to preach for the church of Christ in Buford, Georgia where Mary Lois Hughes' children and grandchildren attend. Russ and Lisa Hughes are mainstays in this congregation. He is one of the deacons, and they both, along with their family have long been important parts of the work. Thanks again to Mary Lois, and it is my hope that this information will be a blessing to geneologists and historical researchers for many years.

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