Submitted by Gary Arnold
The Silver Valley Civitan Club held a memorial meeting
May 14 honoring the late Luther B. Pope, 88, and his wife, Ola Mae Arnold Pope, 84, who both passed in March.
Honored guests were their sons, Dale and Tony Pope and their families including two-month old great grandson
The Pope couple were described as kind, caring, thoughtful, humble and
compassionate people. Luther was known for witty sayings. One of his frequent retorts was, “I feel good all over. If
I felt any better I couldn’t stand myself.”
Born June 8, 1929, Luther was reared on a farm in the Hasty community
during the Great Depression and was only 16 years old when World War II came to a close. An older brother, Clayton, died in
B-24 Bomber crash in Italy during the war. Despite these hardships he always had a positive outlook on life.
For years Luther’s phone answering system carried the message, “May your cup of joy overflow and
fill up your saucer.” People were known to call just to hear the message again.
Luther served as a ship’s
cook in the US Army during the Korean Conflict, 1951 through 1953. The troop transport ship he served on traveled the east
coast of the United States.
Ola Mae also grew up on a family farm on what is now Old Highway
64. She was born October 22, 1933 to Irving and Ola Arnold in the Tabernacle community of Randolph County. Ola Mae’s
mother passed a couple of hours after giving birth.
Ola Mae’s uncle and aunt, John
and Bettie Arnold, immediately took her in and raised her as their own. With her two families Ola Mae had nine sisters and
three brothers although some were first cousins to each other.
The Pope’s were married
Christmas Eve 1955 in the Cid (United) Methodist Church Parsonage. They lived in an area near the Hasty and Wallburg communities
of Davidson County until moving in 1964 to live at Ola Mae’s home place with her ‘mama,’ Bettie Arnold.
A few years later they built their home next door.
They sang country and gospel music as
a duet in their younger years performing for two years on WTNC-AM radio in Thomasville in late 1950’s. Later they performed
many times at church and Civitan functions.
Luther used the GI Bill to attend training for radio repair and worked at
Warren Radio & Television for five years. This led to his interest in HAM radio. He was a member of the High Point Amateur
Radio Club with a call sign of WD4NTF and received his federal license in 1978.
from radio and television repair to the furniture industry working at Heritage Furniture of High Point. He then worked for
Woodmark Originals retiring from there after more than 30 years service. Ola Mae also worked at Woodmark as did their sons
during their teenage summers. They give the impression they did not have a choice.
be noted that Luther was not always successful. He failed at his first try at retirement. Within a few weeks he took two jobs,
working the cash register in the mornings at Parrish Grocery and in the afternoons as a shipping clerk at Die-Tech Inc. of
Thomasville. He also worked for a part time for a while at J & A Foam Company.
grew up in the Baptist church and graduated from Piedmont Bible College in 1966. The couple were members of Pleasant
Grove United Methodist Church on Old Highway 64 at the Davidson and Randolph County line, Ola Mae’s family church. They
were active in many church activities.
Luther was a certified as a Lay Speaker by the United
Methodist Church. He served in various church leadership roles including chair of the administrative board, Sunday School
superintendant, president of the Methodist Men and many years as a teacher. An adult class has been named the Pope-Green class
for many years. The other namesake was Robert Green, a brother-in-law.
In community leadership
Luther was the Charter President of the Tabernacle Volunteer Fire Department and served as president of the PTA at Tabernacle
Luther was quoted in a profile in 2003, “Besides The Church, I
believe Civitan is one of the most important organizations in the world, because our Motto is ‘Builders of Good Citizenship’
and our purpose is to help others in need.”
Luther B. Pope
is considered one of the most important members ever of the Silver Valley Civitan Club. He joined in December 1966 and served
the Fall of 2013 when his health would no longer allow him. Pope was a member longer than any other person, 47 years,
and served as president three terms. The first being1968-69, then 1974-75 and lastly 1998-99 when the club celebrated
its 40th anniversary.
He was a volunteer with Civitan Project Santa for more than 40 years,
being there in the first year, 1967. Three generations of Pope’s have been Project Santa volunteers.
Luther Pope is best known for serving as chaplain and newsletter editor for multiple years. He served more
than 16 times, the exact number has not been determined, as the club chaplain and one term for North District West Civitan
in 1988-89. The district governor at the time, Rev. Allen Bullard of Randleman, was fond of telling other Civitan governors
that ‘The Pope’ was his chaplain.
He also was editor of the Bulletin for at
least 26 years over a 30 year period, 1977 through 2007. His humor and his ‘Chaplain’s Corner’ led
the way to many district awards for the newsletter.
Luther Pope was a lieutenant governor
(1995-96) for Area Five East composed of clubs in Randolph and Davidson Counties.
Pope was presented The Club Honor Key, the highest club award, in 1987. It was only the third key presented at the time
and there have only been eight awarded in the 59 years of the club. Other accolades include being elected by the members as
the Distinguished Civitan award recipient three times and selected as the Area Distinguished Civitan in 1985.
In 1998-99 Pope was an Civitan Internationally Distinguished Club President with the club earning three international
competitive service awards that year as well as a top ten award in the district.
Bakery, Inc. presented annual sales awards to Luther a dozen times. He was the top club salesman of candy and cake several
times. During his final year as president he sold 718 bags of Tootsie Rolls and 416 pounds of Claxton Fruit Cake.
of memorabilia and DVD of Pope family photos preceded the program. A meal was enjoyed by the 34 people in attendance.
President Stephanie Tucker presided with Gary Arnold providing family and club history. Other Civitan members speaking were
Chaplain Joyce Parrish, Rev. Chris G. Smith, Harold Parrish, John Hughes and Chad Montgomery. Dale and Tony Pope shared remembrances
of their father.
Contributed photos:Luther B. and Ola Mae Pop/ The Pope family gathered to celebrate the
lives of Luther B. and Ola Mae Pope at a meeting of the Silver Valley Civitan Club. Seated (from left) are Shelia &
Tony Pope and Dale & Kim Pope and standing is Will Patterson holding son Wesley, Emily Pope Patterson, Haley Pope, and
Whitney & Matthew Pope. Courtney Pope was unable to attend.