Rev. Charles` D. McCullough

  • Born: December 21, 1931
  • Died: June 9, 2019
  • Location: Helotes, Texas

Porter Loring Mortuary North

2102 North Loop 1604 East
San Antonio, TX 78232

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Tel. (210) 495-8221

Tribute & Message From The Family


Charles D. McCullough, a retired clergyman of the United Methodist Church, died Sunday, June 9, 2019 following a lengthy illness.

Like everyone, a column in a newspaper cannot really tell us about a life lived. This text will not define Church, but is an attempt to celebrate his years with us. Born in Central, Indiana his boyhood was in Alexandria, Indiana where he graduated from High School in 1949. Though athletically inclined, his parents did not allow Charles to participate in his beloved sport, basketball, through his public-school years, "not a good thing for a Christian boy to be doing."

He experienced his home as being loving and God-fearing, with a heavy emphasis on God's judgement and the need for one to find "the will of God" and fulfill it in every phase of life. Failure to do this, he was taught, would condemn him to the fiery depths of hell – eternally!

While earning his undergraduate degree in Psychology at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois, his basketball aptitude was allowed to flourish. He was honored as one of their All-time Outstanding Athletes in Olivet's Homecoming ceremonies in 2005.

At the Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, where he earned a Master's Degree in Church History in 1960, he continued his athletic prowess on the seminary team which played against the military bases in that area.

A number of years later, while serving as a campus minister at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, he earned a second master's degree in Education in Guidance and Counseling.

Other graduate studies with which he was credited were: in Race Relations at Fisk, University; in Nashville, in Psychology at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas; in History at Central Missouri State in Warrensburg, Missouri; in Gestalt Psychology at the University of California Santa Barbara; and in Human Sexuality at Kent State University at Kent, Ohio. His first marriage to Doris Ammons in 1957 produced two daughters and many productive years, but ended after 34 years…perhaps both were suffering wounds to their souls for which they never found healing.

Reverend McCullough's ordained ministry began in Kansas where he served the Camp Creek Emmanuel United Methodist Church near Atchison, Kansas, 1957-63; and the College Avenue United Methodist Church in Manhattan, Kansas 1963-67.

The next segment of his life was invested in ecumenical campus ministry chaplain's posts: Central Missouri State University at Warrensburg, Missouri, 1967-69; Ohio University at Athens, Ohio, 1969-78; and Texas A&M University at Kingsville, Texas, 1978-85. Chuck's 18 Campus Ministry years were during world-wide social trauma – the anti-Vietnam War protests…the Civil Rights Movement; the "Women's Rights" challenges; and the beginning of the problem pregnancy/abortion conflicts and even the earliest public outcry for and against Gay Rights.

Reverend McCullough found his stays at Central Missouri State University alongside that at Ohio University, as a showcase of our nation's polarity.
At Central Missouri State the University President asked Chuck's Bishop, and the Bishop over Dr. Larry Guillot-the Roman Catholic Campus Minister, to remove the two clergy from the campus – to the surprise of both Chuck and Larry, President Lovinger gave the two clergy credit for stirring campus unrest.

When the Bishops asked for reasons for removing clergy in good standing, President Lovinger did not respond. This led the two Bishops to release a letter to the Kansas City Star (the only major newspaper in Kansas City) – over both their signatures; that the Kansas City Star published on their front page alongside pictures of the two young clerics; which became a BIG story of a University President trying to have two ministers removed from their posts.

Contrast that with Chuck's post at Ohio University where the Ohio University President named him on a committee of faculty to study campus unrest.

Returning to the parish, Chuck pastored First United Methodist Church in Mission, Texas, 1985-95; and Oxford United Methodist Church in San Antonio, Texas, 1994-95 before retiring from the Methodist itinerancy.

In the same month of his retirement (June '95), Mr. McCullough entered the Clinical pastoral Education (C.P.E) program in the Baptist Hospital System in San Antonio. A year and a half later, when he turned 65, he fully retired.

Though his love of sports was not encouraged during his boyhood, it continued throughout his adult life. While basketball was the only sport in which he truly excelled, he also enjoyed golf, bowling, table tennis, and racket ball. During 20 years of participation in Senior Olympics, he never failed to get at least one medal, accumulating, in basketball: 32 gold, 4 silver, and 3 bronze medals. And in table tennis, 2 gold.

Despite a childhood atmosphere that emphasized God's judgement against those who question their faith, Charles could not forever suppress his wonderment as he poured over the scriptures and readings in psychology and philosophy. By the time he finished seminary he was in serious struggle to find a faith that had integrity, and to which he could give his life.

Those who were disenfranchised, marginalized or in any way discriminated against drew his attention. He was likely to be among the first to speak on their behalf – in the civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnamese War protests, the women's or gay rights causes, problem pregnancy concerns, etc.

It troubled him greatly that he could not convince himself that the church is on the side of healing in such issues, but that the church is more regularly found as a part of entrenched systems that maintain the status quo. This left him in a rather schizophrenic position of having a love/hate relationship with the institutional church.

His marriage to Jean Dempsey in November 1997 made it easier for him to believe in a great reservoir of love that can be a daily living foretaste of what one hopes for should there be another world or life to come. Could someone like her have evolved by chance over the short history of the human race? Possibly…but not likely, he reasoned. Others have found love like hers in their faith – in their church – maybe Chuck was too wounded by his childhood to recognize it there as well. Out of the pain of his youth…attempting to serve in a perfection-demanding God…one capable of great love but also vicious, eternal damnation. Chuck, after retirement, wrote his youthful biography and published "Gaither's Corner" – the account of a young boy's struggle with a fearful God (still available in book stores).

Preceding Chuck in entering into peace were his parents; Herman and Bertha, and brothers, Arvil (Al) and Paul McCullough. Also preceding him into peace were step-sons David & Jim Spalding and son-in-law, Todd Morrison. Mr. McCullough is survived by his wife Jean, who he often said is the most nurturing person he has ever known.

Also surviving are two daughters: Mrs. Kira Ciupek of Temple, Texas, and Mrs. Dana Morrison of Pipe Creek, Texas. He was the proud grandfather of his daughters' 6 children: Evangeline, Clyde, and Joy Ciupek; and Tiffany Lopez, Jessica Buikema and Ryan Stevenson. His great grandchildren: Zoe & Bradly Lopez; Dylan, Joshua and Jasmine Buikema; and Mia & Layla Stevenson.

He was the step-father of Trish Martinez of Helotes; and Mrs. Jenne Duerler also of Helotes. Also remaining from Jean's family are 10 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren & 6 great-great grandchildren.

Surviving from his family of origin are brothers: Lee McCullough of Rochester, MN; Doyle McCullough of Brazil, TN; and a sister, Eileen Morgan of Peoria, AZ., along with a large number of nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at Helotes United Methodist Church on Saturday, June 22, 2019 beginning at 2:30 PM with Pastor Jim Sweet presiding.