Dr. Ron Baker

Dr. Ron Baker, 76, a former UB missionary doctor in Sierra Leone, passed away on Friday, March 10, 2023, in Berrien Springs, Mich.

Visitation: 5-8 pm Friday, March 17, 2023.
Funeral: 10 am Saturday, March 18, 2023, with visitation one hour beforehand.
Visitation and Funeral Location: Berrien Center Bible Church, 8830 M-140, Berrien Center, MI 49102 (berriencenter.church)

Ron grew up mostly in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where his parents, Dr. DeWitt and Evelyn Baker, were United Brethren in Christ missionaries. In 6th grade, at the Kabala-Rupp school for missionary children in northern Sierra Leone, he committed his life to Jesus Christ. He was able to immerse himself in the local language and culture, which would serve him well when he came back as an adult to serve as a missionary doctor.

Ron graduated from Huntington University, where he met his wife, Jane, and from Indiana University Medical School. In 1974, the Bakers arrived in Sierra Leone as fulltime United Brethren missionaries. Ron become Chief Medical Officer at Mattru Hospital. During the next 16 years, Mattru became a thriving, well-known hospital with a strong spiritual foundation. By 1981, the hospital had grown to 69 beds with pediatrics, obstetrics, surgical, and out-patient units. Many new buildings arose on the hospital’s 15 acres.

Being one of only a few white men who were fluent in Mende, the local language, Ron was greatly respected. He recalled years later, “Every time we did surgery, we prayed out loud. We had guys who could pray in several different languages. I could pray in Mende or Krio, Solomon could pray in Temne or Sherbro, another guy could speak Limba. We couldn’t speak all of the languages, but we covered a lot of them.” The locals were also drawn to him and his family due to the love of Christ demonstrated to them.

Upon leaving the field in mid-1990, Ron began working permanently at Southwestern Medical Clinic in Stevensville, Mich., where he had worked during his furloughs since 1981. It was a way-station of sorts for a number of missionary doctors. Over the years, Ron made a number of trips back to Sierra Leone, often leading short-term medical teams.

Ron’s motto was “Work Hard. Play Hard.” He loved to share his passion for hunting and fishing, mentoring many in the craft. Ron was very active at Berrien Center Bible Church. Most importantly, throughout his life he made it a priority to share his faith with countless people in the US and overseas.

Ron was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. DeWitt and Evelyn Baker; and his younger brother, Norman, who was killed as a boy in a boating accident while on a school trip in Sierra Leone. He is survived by his wife Jane; children Jennifer, Jeff, and Julie and their families; and sisters Joyce Hewitt and Annette Shepherdson.

As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be sent to Huntington University (huntington.edu), UB Global (ubglobal.org), or Berrien Center Bible Church (berriencenter.church).

Messages and memories may be shared online at allredfuneralhome.com.

Luella Hamblin

Luella Rose (Knight) Hamblin passed away on February 24, 2023, 55 days short of her 101st birthday.

Luella was born on April 20, 1922, in Lakeview, Mich., the seventh of nine children. She did some factory work during World War II and then went on to Calvin College and then Huntington University, where she met her future husband, Howard Hamblin.

Luella taught grades K-8 for two years, then left teaching to marry Howard in 1949. They had three children: Bruce, Carol and Stanley. The Hamblins pastored United Brethren churches at McCallum, Baltimore, and Lowell. Luella was a faithful stay-at-home mom, pastor’s wife, and Sunday school teacher for many years.

Howard passed away in 2001. Her sons Bruce and Stanley also preceded her in death.

Memorial contributions can be made to Michigan Right to Life rtl.org/donate/, P.O. Box 901, Grand Rapids, MI 49509-0901) or to Pleasant Valley United Brethren Church, where Luella has been a member for many years.

The funeral service was held on Monday, March 6, at Pleasant Valley UB church, 13120 Bell Road (M-50), Lake Odessa, MI 48849. Luella’s full obituary can be read on the website of Girrbach Funeral Home.

Phil Fiedler

Philip Arthur Fiedler, 85, of Olive Branch, Miss., passed away January 26, 2023. He and his wife, Carol, served many years as UB missionaries in Sierra Leone–during the 1970s as maintenance superintendent, and later returning to teach at Sierra Leone Bible College in the Freetown area. They, along with nurse Sara Banter, were the last UB missionaries to be evacuated during the country’s civil war of the 1990s. It would be another 15 years before UB missionaries were once again sent to Sierra Leone.

Phil Fiedler was born in 1937 in Columbia City, Ind. He and Carol, who preceded him in death, were married in 1958 and had four children–Glenn, Greg, Galen, and Tanya.

Phil was a faithful believer in Christ, had a lifelong passion to share the Gospel with others, and lived as God’s ambassador to all. He served in many capacities including public schoolteacher, church songleader, Sunday school teacher, and Spanish teacher. He was a faithful member at Longview Heights Baptist Church in Olive Branch, Miss.

The family asks that memorial contributions be made to UB Global. You can donate online at ubglobal.org/give. Or send a check to: UB Global, 302 Lake Street, Huntington, IN 46750. Include a note saying your gift is in memory of Phil and Carol Fiedler.

There will be no memorial service at this time, but one will be held perhaps later in 2023. The family would like to express their appreciation to everyone for their prayers and loving support.

Rev. Russ and Nellie Birdsall

Nellie Birdsall passed away Monday, January 16, 2023. She and her late husband, Russ, who passed away in 2021, were United Brethren missionaries in Sierra Leone and Macau, and served ten years in pastoral ministry.

Visitation: 3-7 pm Friday, January 20.
Visitation location: Bailey Love Funeral Home, 35 West Park Drive, Huntington, IN 46750
Funeral: 12pm Saturday, January 21, 2023. Visitation one hour beforehand.
Funeral location: College Park UB church, Huntington, Ind.

Nellie was born in Chambersburg, Pa., in 1931 and grew up there. She and Russ met at Huntington University and were married in 1951. On September 4, 1957, they and their young daughter, Sharon, boarded a ship for Sierra Leone, where they served as UB missionaries for the next 11 years.

In July 1968, the family returned to Huntington at the request of Dr. DeWitt Baker, another former Sierra Leone missionary, so Russ could become dean of students at Huntington University. Nellie was a public schoolteacher in Huntington for 22 years. She held masters degrees in Education and in Counseling from Indiana University-Fort Wayne.

In 1979, Russ and Nellie began ten years serving the New Hope UB church in Huntington, Ind. Between 1994 and 2006, they served seven times in Macau as short-term missionaries, always going at their own expense. They taught in the English Language Program, conducted Bible studies, and provided pastoral care for the other missionaries.

Russ passed away in February 2021. Nellie is survived by their only child, Sharon Cherry, who lives in Huntington with her husband, Kevin.

At the time of her death, Nellie was a member of College Park UB church in Huntington. Preferred memorials are to Huntington University or UB Global, in care of Bailey-Love Mortuary, 35 West Park Drive, Huntington, IN, 46750.

Rev. Gar Hull, 61, passed away January 9, 2023 in Jackson, Mich.

He graduated from Huntington University in 1984 and from the Graduate School of Christian Ministries in 1985. He was ordained in 1986. He served at four United Brethren churches in Michigan up through 2010. They include Homefront (now Maple Hill) in Grandville; East Washington in Ashley; and Hillsdale UB in Hillsdale.

Rev. Hull is survived by four children and one grandchild. His wife of 39 years, Lisa, preceded him in death.

Please visit hamptonfuneralhomes.com to sign the guestbook and/or send a condolence to the family.
Hampton Funeral Homes – Hillsdale

Donald W. Dennie, 91, a longtime United Brethren in Christ minister, passed away the evening of Friday, December 30, 2022. He died at the home he shared with Gloria, his wife of 67 years, in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Don Dennie grew up around Lake Odessa and Lowell, Mich., the youngest of five children. Growing up, he attended Pleasant Valley UB in Lake Odessa. He went off to Huntington College in 1951, but was drafted and served two years in the US Army, mostly in Germany (he was a chaplain’s assistant).

After mustering out, he returned to Huntington and completed his degree in Social Studies in 1957. He added a Masters in Elementary Education and Administration in 1964 from Ball State University. Further coursework occurred at the California Graduate School of Theology, the HC School of Christian Ministries, Long Beach University, Biola University, and other schools.

Don and Gloria met at Huntington College and were married in 1955. They have three children: Steve (now age 66), Stu (63), and Rick (58). Steve is Communications director for the United Brethren in Christ denomination; Stu owns an automobile sales and repair shop in Van Wert, Ohio; and Rick is director of Student Support Services at Indiana University-South Bend. There are seven grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild, all living in Indiana and Ohio.

Don taught elementary school in the Huntington area and worked six years as assistant business manager at Huntington College. In 1966, the Dennie family moved to Harrisburg, Pa. Don taught sixth grade, and he and Gloria provided leadership to the recently-started Devonshire Memorial United Brethren church. Don also directed junior camp at Rhodes Grove Camp in Chambersburg, Pa.

In 1969, the family moved to Lake Havasu City, Ariz., where Don taught junior high while providing leadership, particularly in youth ministry, to the new First UB church started by Rev. Marvin D. Price.

In 1973, Don Dennie left teaching to become a fulltime United Brethren minister. He was assigned to the UB church in Pixley, Calif., serving there 1973-1983. He was ordained in 1983 by Bishop Raymond Waldfogel. Five more UB senior pastor assignments followed: Fountain Hills Community in Fountain Hills, Ariz. (1984-1989); Olive Branch in Lakeville, Ind. (1989-1995); Third Street UB church in Fort Wayne (now Anchor Community, 1995-1998); Convoy UB in Convoy, Ohio (1998-2001); and a second stint at Olive Branch (2002-2006).

A small memorial service will be held. There will be no body (cremation was chosen), and no meal afterwords.

Time: 2:00 pm Sunday, January 8, 2023. People can visit with the family one hour beforehand.

Location: Anchor UB church, 1529 Third St., Fort Wayne, IN 46808

Gloria asks that memorials be made to UB Global, the mission arm of the United Brethren in Christ. Contribute online at UBGlobal.org, or send a check to: UB Global, 302 Lake Street, Huntington, IN 46750.

Rev. George D. Cole, 96, passed away Thursday afternoon, December 29, 2022, in Huntington, Ind.

Visitation: 5-7 pm Thursday, January 5, 2023.
Funeral: 10:00 am Friday, January 6, 2023. Visiting one hour beforehand.
Location for both: Myers Funeral Home Huntington Chapel, 2901 Guilford Street, Huntington, IN 46750.

George was born in 1926 in Fulton County, Ohio. After graduating from high school in 1944, he enlisted in the Army Air Corp Cadet program, and went on to serve 13 years in Search and Rescue with the Civil Air Patrol.

George received his Bachelors in Psychology in 1966 and his Bachelors in Theology in 1967, both from Huntington University. He was ordained in 1967. He served three UB churches in Ohio (Montpelier, Kunkle, and Nettle Lake), as well as the Hudson/Corunna and Olive Branch churches in Indiana. After 24 years of ministry, he retired from Convoy, Ohio in 1988.

George is survived by his wife of 75 years, Aldene. Also surviving are two brothers and a sister preceded him in death. two sons, five grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, and twelve step-great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations can be made to the New Hope United Brethren Church sent in care of Myers Funeral Home, 2901 Guilford Street, Huntington, IN 46750.

Dr. Paul R. Fetters

Dr. Paul R. Fetters, 88, of Fort Wayne, Ind., passed away early Monday morning October 31, 2022, in Fort Wayne, Ind. Paul lived out Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” in his leadership roles in the Church, ministerial education, and family, which he loved deeply.

Visitation: 4-8pm Friday, November 4, 2022.
Visitation location: Myers Funeral Home Huntington Chapel, 2901 Guilford Street, Huntington, IN 46750.
Funeral: 10:30 am Saturday, November 5, 2022. Viewing one hour beforehand.
Funeral location: College Park United Brethren Church, 1945 College Ave., Huntington, IN 46750.

Dr. Fetters was an ordained minister in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ and served churches in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. In 1972, he founded the Graduate School of Christian Ministries at Huntington University and taught theology and Bible for over 45 years.

He is survived by his wife Barbara, whom he married in August 1956, three sons, eight grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

Dr. Fetters was born in 1933 in Celina, Ohio. He graduated from Huntington University in 1955, and from the HU Theological Seminary in 1959; he was ordained that year as a United Brethren minister. He went on to earn a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1980.

His pastoral ministry began in 1954 as pastor of Calvary UB church in Rockford, Ohio, followed by a year at Hopewell UB (Auburn, Ind.), and then 1957-1962 at Third Street UB in Fort Wayne, Ind. (now Anchor Community Church). He pastored a United Methodist congregation in Pennsylvania for two years while working on his MDiv at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He then returned to pastoring UB churches for eight years: 1964-1966 at Park UB (Bluffton, Ind.), and 1966-1972 at Kettering UB (Dayton, Ohio).

In 1972, Dr. Fetters moved to Huntington to found the Graduate School of Christian Ministries, a new paradigm for training UB ministers. He served as dean of the GSCM for the next 25 years. He then stepped down as dean, but continued teaching fulltime at Huntington University at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Over the years he served as general editor for several books related to the United Brethren church, including Trials and Triumphs (UB history), Theological Perspectives, and two volumes about UB bishops since 1889. He also wrote various other UB materials for the denomination–curriculum, booklets, pamphlets, and articles.

Paul and Barbara’s three sons are ordained United Brethren ministers and currently live in Huntington. Brooks is a former UB pastor, church planter, and two-term mayor of Huntington. Luke, a former UB church planter and missionary in Macau, is now Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Huntington University. Todd, a former UB pastor in Michigan and Pennsylvania, has been bishop of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ USA since 2015.

Interment will be at the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Huntington.

Memorial donations can be made out to Paul Richard Fetters Scholarship at Huntington University in care of Myers Funeral Home, 2901 Guilford Street, Huntington, IN 46750.

Other funeral information can be found on the Myers Funeral Home website.

Harold Hancock, a UB Global missionary, passed away August 1, 2022. Both visitation and the funeral will be held on Saturday, August 6, at New Hope UB church in Camden, Mich. Harold and his wife of 53 years, MaryAnn, served eight years as UB Global missionaries in Jamaica, concluding in 2020.

Visitation: 11am – 1pm Saturday, August 6, 2022.
Funeral: 1:00 August 6, 2022.
Location: New Hope United Brethren Church, 5051 W. Montgomery Road, Camden, MI

Harold and MaryAnne Hancock joined the UB Global staff in 2012 and served at Jamaica Bible College in Mandeville, Jamaica (now Regent College of the Caribbean). Harold spent his career working in various trades–welding, electrical work, plumbing, etc. He taught those skills at a vocational high school located on the college campus, while MaryAnn worked in the college library.

Harold and MaryAnn have eight children. They have been longtime members of New Hope UB church. MaryAnn worked many years there as administrative assistant for the church and the former New Hope Christian School.

View Harold’s online obituary here.