June 8: Rev. D. Howard Elliott

Today we are pleased to present a guest post submitted by Kathy Stegall, daughter of the Rev. D. Howard Elliott.

D. Howard Elliott: June 8, 1915 – January 1, 2001

elliottDH_WinifredDelber Howard Elliott was born on June 8, 1915 in Winchester, Kansas where his father, Delber Harvey Elliott, was the pastor of the local congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. As his father was called to various ministries, Howard spent his growing-up years in Topeka, KS and Pittsburgh, PA. After graduation from Geneva College it became apparent that he felt a strong call to the gospel ministry and thus went on to the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, graduating in 1940. Soon after he married Winifred Coleman and together they took up his first pastorate back in Winchester, Kansas, the congregation of his baptism.

Pictured at right, Howard and Winifred in Winchester, in 1940.

Elliott pastored RPCNA congregations in Winchester, Beaver Falls, PA, and Topeka, KS. In addition to pastoral and denominational duties, Elliott volunteered as a lobbyist for the Christian Amendment Movement, was the RPCNA representative to the National Association of Evangelicals, and served on the Geneva College Board of Trustees. Elliott was clerk of the RPCNA Synod for many years and elected as moderator in 1972. After his retirement in 1980 he  returned to Winchester again to serve in a new way as a layperson. Elliott died at their Winchester home on January 1, 2001.

elliott_mr_mrs_dhThese brief facts and even the awards and recognitions he received along the way do not begin to tell the story of Dr. Elliott’s greatest contribution to Christ’s Kingdom—his exemplary pastor’s heart. He always served with hard work and discipline, yet with the greatest tenderness and kindness towards all. Along with faithfully preaching and teaching God’s Word twice each week on Sundays along with many other presentations and meetings, he endeared himself to his communities by loving his women, his wife and four daughters, hanging out with the guys at the neighborhood gas station, making thousands of visits to the homes of his church families, driving the church Sabbath School Bus, on call as a police chaplain, or playing endless games of softball during annual Daily Vacation Bible Schools and Sabbath School picnics, always undergirded by faithful family and personal Bible study and prayer. His attentiveness to his flock was intense as he noted each week who was absent from worship, who was sick, who needed encouragement or counsel, who had a significant family or work event; and a relevant response always followed. Organization, planning, consistent hard work and methodical devotion characterized his pastoral mission. He led with the intelligence and creativity of a  CEO, yet with the humility and compassion of a shepherd. As a result those in his congregations trusted and loved him in return. Each congregation viewed his leaving for the next step in his life with disappointment yet confident in God’s sovereign goodness, just as they had been faithfully taught.

Pictured above, Howard and Winifred, in 1995.

Words to Live By:
In 1980 Dr. Elliott chose 1 Thess. 4:11-12 as his theme for retirement  “…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” Soon after he accomplished a life-long dream by building with his own hands a home for Winifred and himself in which he lived out his days.

Additional Sources:
Some further record of Rev. Elliott’s life and ministry can be found in Covenanter Ministers, 1930-1963, by Alvin W. Smith, pp. 71-72.

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  1. Joye Huston’s avatar

    Dr. Elliott was my first pastor. His genuine care for the flock was his passion. I greatly treasure a small New Testament of his which shows the years of use, carried in his jacket pocket as he visited peole in their homes. His name is shown on the stained glass windows of our church along with the other past pastors of the WInchester Reformed Presbyterian church.

  2. Meg Garber’s avatar

    Thank you for this wonderful post on our dear dad’s birthday! He was all this and so much more too than can be expressed here. It’s wonderful to have him remembered.

  3. Ron Stegall’s avatar

    As Dr. Elliott’s son-in-law he accepted me and loved me fully. One of my fondest memories is going to Winchester to visit and I would sit in one orange rocking chair and he in the other and we would while away the afternoon discussing wide ranging topics of every kind. He was everything Kathy described him to be and more. I miss him.

  4. Christina Hitchcock’s avatar

    Happy Birthday, Grandad! I’m thankful for you and for the road you paved for me and the others in our family.

  5. Bruce Parnell’s avatar

    I grew up in the Topeka, KS Reformed Presbyterian Church where Howard Elliott served as pastor. I can attest to his outstanding commitment to pastoral ministry. He sought to communicate the truth of the gospel in a variety of ways and settings. I remember him using an overhead projector to outline his evening service sermons, a way that helped me follow and understand. During the summers, the church moved a series of evening services outside into the adjacent shopping center parking lot. You could “come as you are and sit in your car.” He always participated in VBS – playing softball, telling the story of Pilgrim’s Progress with flannel graph, leading fun songs during refreshments, etc. But God had something even more significant for me through Howard Elliott’s ministry. As a young boy, after morning worship, I would run up to Dr. Elliott where he was greeting the congregation. I would tug on his sleeve and say, “When I grow up I want to be a pastor just like you.” In God’s providence, I have followed his godly example into the pastoral ministry in the RPCNA. I hope that I serve as willingly and diligently as Howard Elliott did.

  6. Eden’s avatar

    What a wonderful tribute! He was my beloved granddad, good at funny faces, reading aloud, leading daily family worship, sharing Starburst candies, and creating lots of fun on the tractor lawn mower!

  7. elizabeth stegall’s avatar

    How I miss him! Grandad was tenderhearted, kind, and gentle. He gave me all the love I ever needed! I loved him dearly!

  8. Nancy Walton’s avatar

    Dad, I’m so pleased and blessed that you are being honored on the date of your birth. You were a wonderful parent with Mom and we have all been blessed with your wisdom. My prayer is that we too may impart your Godly ways to the next generations. I’m looking forward to much more perfect fellowship with my parents in Heaven.

  9. Jerry O'Neill’s avatar

    Kathy, thank you for sharing these comments about your dad. As you know, the O’Neills and Elliotts were close family friends, even though we were separated by nearly 1,000 miles during most of my/our growing up years. But we spent quite a bit of vacation time together. I will never forget your dad–thoughtful, gracious, caring, encouraging, with a way with words. I remember one sermon he preached during our high school years on patience, and to this day I remember his words “Patience is a virtue; catch it if you can. It’s seldom found in women, and never in a man!” (Ironically, he may have been the exception!) He was deeply loved and appreciated all who knew him. Among many other things, he was responsible for getting me as a young pastor elected by Synod to be his successor on the Board of the NAE, which proved to be a tremendous opportunity for me.

  10. Elliott’s avatar

    Thanks for sharing these memories, Aunt Kathy. I’m proud to be related to Grandad and to carry on his family name. I wish I could have known him as an adult but am thankful that I’ll get to spend all the time I want getting to know him more fully one day.

  11. Kara’s avatar

    Missed this on his birthday, but it was great to catch today. Thanks for posting this here. Hard to believe how much has happened since I last saw him on this earth . . . agree with Elliott, I look forward to being with him again someday . . . and the rest of the family!

  12. Alice McDaniel’s avatar

    Thank You for posting this! — just found this page today
    I didn’t know Mr. Elliot until he was retired in Winchester… and we were there … a few years. But he and Winfred’s loving and caring hearts were an inspiration & blessing to me then, and continue to be!

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