James Lawrence Plumley
EDUCATION: James Plumley graduated from the public schools and Central High of Washington, DC. In 1933, he graduated from the University of Maryland. In 1936, he graduated from Sewannee (Tenn.) Episcopal Seminary.
OCCUPATION: He held pastorates in Freeport and Houston, Texas; In 1942, he was serving as Rector of St. Mary's Church in Houston, TX.
MILITARY: He held the rank of Captain in the Texas State Guard.
OBITUARY: The Vestry of St. Mark's Episcopal Church - Shreveport, Louisiana - Memorial to James Lawrence Plumley - July 19, 1910 - April 26, 1972
James Lawrence Plumley was born in the City of Washington on July 10, 1910, the son of Walter Preston Plumley and his wife, Nellie Garfield Plumley. He died in Shreveport on April 26, 1972, after a distinguished career covering 35 years as a minister of Christ's Church, the last twenty years as the beloved rector of this Parish.
This expression of the Vestry of St. Mark's Church records our sense of loss upon the death of our minister and friend and, as a part of our archives, will be a permanent memorial of the life, the accomplishments, the character, and the warm personal qualities of this notable man.
Dr. Plumley spent his early life, and received his schooling, in Washington. He attended the University of Maryland, where he was active in athletics and other college activities, from which he was graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He received his theological education at the University of the South, Sewanee, from which he held a Bachelor of Divinity degree. Later, the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Kentucky conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity.
He was ordained to the priesthood in 1937, and from then to the time of his death was a devoted servant of Christ and His Church, a warm loving and tireless pastor of the people to whom he ministered, and an inspiring preacher of God's Word.
The first part of this ministry was spent in the Diocese of Texas, where he was a missionary priest in St. Paul's, Freeport, and Holy Comforter, Angleton; then he was assistant at Trinity, Houston, and inaugurated an outstandingly successful youth program. He established St. Mark's, Houston, in 1940, and was its first rector, with a membership of 27. When he left it ten years later, to go to Pittsburgh, it had a congregation of 1600.
In Texas he served as dean of the Southwest Convocation, secretary of the executive board, as a member of the Board of Missions and the Standing Committee, and as first chairman of the Episcopal Hospital Board.
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he was rector of the Church of the Ascension and held various positions in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
In 1952 he came to Shreveport to become rector of St. Mark's Church where he served with distinction until the time of his death. Dr. Plumley was a member during four terms on Bishop and Council of the Diocese of Louisiana and was also a member of various other boards and committees of the Diocese. At the time of his death he was Dean of the Shreveport Convocation and a member of the Boards of Trustees of the University of the South and of All Saints' Junior College, Vicksburg. He also rendered services to this community as a member of various Shreveport civic and charitable organizations.
Dr. Plumley was an outstanding preacher and pulpit orator, and much labor and thought went into each of his sermons. He had the rare privilege of being heard regularly not only by his own congregation but also, for at least fourteen years each Sunday, by a radio audience of thousands. For about the same number of years he appeared on television with a short (taped) sermon which concluded the day's broadcasting. Most of us know of many people, over a wide area, who have testified to the worth and inspiration of his radio and television sermons. He was also constantly in demand as a guest preacher in other churches, some far removed from Shreveport, and he responded as he was able to such requests. His outstanding qualifications were recognized in 1961 by his selection as one of the ten leading clergymen in the nation by the British-American Preachers Exchange Program.
Larry Plumley's wife was Martha Franklin, of Winchester, Tennessee, to whom he was married in 1937 and who survives him. He is survived also by three children, James Lawrence, Jr., Pam, Mrs. John Barineau, and Marty, Mrs. Ralph Parnell, Jr., andby a brother, Walter, a retired priest of the Church. He was a devoted and attentive husband and father, and we remember him for this with particular admiration.
The Vestry believes that it would be appropriate to record in this memorial our appreciation of Larry Plumley's outstanding qualities, his humanity and his devotion and dedication to Christ and His Church. Spiritual devotion and zeal were made effective in his Parish and in this community by his own human qualities, and his understanding and sympathy with the humanity of others.
He was the rector of St. Mark's Parish during a time of stirring change: First, when the Parish moved to a new location and under his leadership, built and paid for our present beautiful church; and more recently, when differences of opinion in the National Church, the Diocese, and even in the Parish, could have been the occasion for serious divisions which a lesser man might not have averted.
We know that Lawrence Plumley was a worthy successor to the many able, conscientious and devoted priests who have served St. Mark's Church as its rector during its long and honorable history; therefore
BE IT RESOLVED, That the Vestry of St. Mark's Church directs this expression of our regard and affection for Lawrence Plumley and this memorial of our convictions as to his worth as a man and as the rector of this Parish, which have been impressed upon us during our long association with him, be inscribed in the minutes of the Vestry; and that a copy be sent to the family of our friend and pastor, whose memory will long inspire us in the affairs of this Parish.