Charles Leslie Houser, Jr.
Charles L. Houser
Brother Houser is a Kentuckian. He was born in Paducah, Ky., September 18, 1902. His father is one of the elders in the church in Paducah, and has done much to establish the truth in that city. He has been an example and inspiration to his son. Charles L. Houser became a Christian in his early teens at the old Gobel Avenue congregation, in Paducah. This was moved into a new building, and is now known as the Nineteenth and Broadway Church. Charlie Taylor and C. M. Stubblefield had great influence on Brother Houser and encouraged him to preach the gospel. Brother Houser attended the public schools of Paducah and studied much at home. He engaged in business for a number of years, and did not begin preaching until twenty-five years of age. He continued his position as bookkeeper for a wholesale grocery, and preached Lord's days and held meetings at night at various places within driving distance of Paducah. He had regular monthly appointments with various congregations in Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He was the regular preacher for the Clements Street Church, Paducah, Ky., for four and a half years. He was the first "full-time" preacher that church had. In 1937 he resigned as bookkeeper and attended Freed-Hardeman College to prepare himself better for preaching the gospel. He has been with the church in Fulton, Ky., since April, 1939. He has done evangelistic work in Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.
-H. Leo Boles, Gospel Advocate, May 14, 1942, page 468
Out Of My Memory . . .
Charles Houser, Jr. At Locust Grove
About 40 years ago I heard Charles L. Houser, Jr. preach at Locust Grove near Bradford, TN on why he attended the worship services of the church. I think he and his first wife, Doris, lived at Fulton, Kentucky at the time. He served as evangelist for the church there it seems to me about ten years, and after preaching for many years for other congregations, he preached several years again for the Fulton congregation. Many years ago I heard about the visitation work he and sister Doris did in Fulton, and that has over the years been a sort of model in my mind for such work.
Sister Doris went to be with the Lord several years ago. In that sermon at Locust Grove, brother Houser clearly presented scriptural reasons for his faithfully attending the assemblies of the saints.
Brother Charles delivered that sermon during a Sunday afternoon service. Some churches in those days had Sunday afternoon services in order to get preachers to preach for them. That may have been the case at Locust Grove.
Brother Houser's voice was strong and clear. He preached with a pleasant facial expression. It was a joy to hear him.
I was not a member at Locust Grove, but I attended there some because I had so many relatives who attended there. Many of these loved ones, beloved saints, have long been gone to be with our blessed Savior whom they loved, praised, and served.
After I started preaching, the Locust Grove Church let me preach for them many times. I will always be grateful to those dear saints and loved ones for allowing me to try to speak to them about the Lord of life and love and our serving him.
I served 1953-1955 as regular preacher for Murrell Boulevard Church of Christ in Paducah, Kentucky. Later, Charles Houser was the regular preacher there. He makes reference to this in a letter which he wrote me March 21, 1983. He told me more about the Colleys about whom I have written in previous columns. In his letter he said:
"This information brought back childhood memories to me. My father and others who had been converted at rural congregations out from Paducah, not knowing the differences between churches of Christ and the Christian Church, began to attend the 10th Street (later Murrell Blvd.) Christian Church. Brother W. T. Boaz learned about this fact and persuaded three other preachers, namely, brethren A. O. Colley, G. Dallas Smith, and John T. Smith to work with him in a mission meeting in Paducah. John T. Smith led the singing, and brethren A. O. Colley and G. Dallas Smith and W. T. Boaz did the preaching. I don't know whether each of the men preached one week, or two weeks. At any rate, they established a new congregation of the Lord's church in Paducah in 1906 (I think) of 63 members. My father and mother were among them. I was four years old at the time."
I think brother Houser related the beginning of what was known as the Goble Avenue Church of Christ, which later became what is now Broadway Church of Christ. Brother Houser's father, Charles Houser, Sr. served many years as an elder of the Broadway congregation in Paducah. When we lived in Paducah, he had passed away, but I believe we heard more about him than about any other, including any preacher who had served in Paducah.
In that recent letter, brother Houser states that there are now two Christian churches, and seven churches of Christ in greater Paducah.
Brother Charles and his wife, Nettie live near Union City, TN. Their address is: Mr. and Mrs. Charles L. Houser, Route 3, Box 280, Union City, TN 38261. Brother Houser also said in that recent letter:
"I am no longer preaching. Nettie, her sister Bernice Minter, and I attend Berea Church which is just two miles from our home. Nettie's father gave the land and furnished the lumber for the original building in which the Berea congregation has worshipped. I am to teach the auditorium Bible class next Sunday morning, and I have promised to fill-in for the preacher on Sundays and Wednesdays. I am thankful to be as active as I am for one who is eighty."
Charles L. Houser, Jr. has served long and well in proclaiming the gospel. He has had a good influence on many, many souls. I am one of them! God will take good care of him!
-Basil Overton, The World Evangelist, April 1983, page 3,4
Charles L. Houser
On October 27, 1989, while I was in Russell Springs, KY engaged in a series of gospel meetings with the little new congregation there, an old friend and dear brother in Christ, W. L. Beasley of Paducah, KY called me.
W. L. asked me to write a letter to him about his brother-in-law, Charles L. Houser, whom he and his wife Jessie, and others were planning to surprise on the next Tuesday, October 31, with a luncheon honoring this veteran gospel preacher.
Brother Beasley asked me to write the letter about brother Houser because I had known him for nearly 50 years. I was pleased to express my affection and appreciation for Charles Houser in the letter.
I received a letter from W. L. Beasley which he wrote November 9, 1989, which included the following.
"Your letter about Charles Houser arrived the morning of the luncheon, October 3 1. The timing was perfect. I read it aloud to the guests then handed it to him. He and we all, were so touched Thank you so much for it. . . . "If you care to run a brief story about the luncheon this is what happened. Realizing that Charles is now 87 and has preached the gospel for 62 years my wife, Jessie, and I readily agreed that some form of recognition was long overdue.
"We arranged for the private dining room of the Ritz Hotel Which seats 34 people. Thirty-two were invited out of a possible many more, 32 who we felt were especially close to Charles in years gone by. Another couple invited him and Nettie to come to Paducah implying that they were simply taking them to lunch for old times' sake.
"The luncheon was a complete surprise. A large banner on the wall said: 'Charles Houser -- Gospel Preacher For 62 Years -- We Love You.'
"Jim Cannon, minister of the Lone Oak church, returned thanks and later dismissed us with prayer. Every guest, in turn, had Some humorous or touching recollection about Charles to share with the rest of us. Charles then responded in his kind, humble manner but not without giving us all the feeling that he was still the stalwart defender of the truth that he always was.”
Twelve days after that surprise luncheon for brother Houser he left fro the banquet of bliss where he can “sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Matthew 8:11) and with the rest of the redeemed of that ages. I rejoice in knowing I let him know a few days before his departure that I loved and appreciated him and had many fond memories of him and his work for the Lord.
Brother Houser was born in Paducah, KY September 18, 1902. His father, Charles Houser was an elder of 19th and Broadway Church of Christ in Paducah for many years. Even though he has been dead several years when my family and I lived in Paducah, I think I heard more commendable things about him than anyone else while we were living there. I preached for the Murrell Boulevard Church of Christ in Paducah 1953-1955.
Charles L. Houser’s first wife was the former Doris Beasley. They were married November 6, 1929, Doris was a lovely Christian woman, and served with her husband faithfully in his work of preaching the gospel. She died many years ago.
Later brother Houser married Nettie Shipp who stood by him faithfully many years. She lives in her home near Union City, TN.
Preached The Gospel 62 Years
Charles Taylor, a faithful and able evangelist, whom I knew and loved, baptized Charles L. Houser in 1915.
Brother Houser attended Freed-Hardeman College in Henderson, TN. He began his preaching career in 1927. He preached his first sermon in Paducah, and I imagine it was in his home congregation, 19th and Broadway Church of Christ.
Perhaps brother Houser’s longest tenure as a preacher in one place was in Fulton, KY 1939 to 1949. Fulton is near where I was born and reared and when I was born and reared and when I was a young man I looked upon the work of Charles and Doris Houser in Fulton as a model work of a preacher and his wife.
I believe brother Houser preached at Fulton another period several years later.
Brother Houser also preached regularly for churches of Christ in Paducah, KY; Tampa and Palatka in FL; Vicksburg, MS; and Birmingham, AL. He also preached in many series of gospel meetings. Only the Lord knows all the good he did, and how many people will make it ta heaven because of his work.
The Funeral Service
Charles died at his home near Union City, TN, November 11. 1989. For several years he and sister Nettie attended Berea Church of Christ near their home.
The funeral service for brother Houser was conducted in the meeting house of the Parkway Church of Christ in Fulton, KY on November 14. Harvey L. Elder presented the sermons. In a letter to me, W.L. Beasley said, “We think Harvey Elder’s services well equalled the occasion.”
Brother Houser’s body was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Paducah.
The Parkway Church of Christ is the same congregation formerly known as Central Church of Christ where brother Houser preached for so many years. It meets in a relatively new meeting house in a new location, and was formerly Central Church of Christ
-Basil Overton, The World Evangelist, January, 1990, page 4.
A Valiant Soldier Departs--Charles Houser, Sr.
The Father of a Great Preacher
Hundreds of souls have been inspired by the life of Charles Houser, Sr. For forty years the history of the church at Nineteenth and· Broadway, in Paducah, Ky., has been inseparably linked with the life of this good man.
Brother Houser's broad acquaintance and influence throughout the brotherhood entitle him to this brief remembrance in the columns of a gospel paper be loved so well. During the days of his physical vigor he was a familiar figure at gospel meetings, debates, and preachers' meetings.
Early in life he was greatly influenced by a kindly, religious uncle, who was a country doctor, and by an elderly neighbor whom others regarded as "the best man in the community." Though this elderly neighbor was not a Christian, those conducting his service said: "If anyone has gone to heaven, old Uncle _______ has gone there." As a lad, Brother Houser resolved to be such a man. But later a sermon by a gospel preacher on "The Conversion of Cornelius" disturbed his settled state of mind, convinced him that morality alone is insufficient, and led him to obey the gospel that very day.
Having learned nothing of the digressive movement out in the country, when Brother Houser moved to Paducah he became affiliated with the Tenth Street Christian Church, and was later an officer there. Through his influence, a forceful young gospel preacher named W. T. Boaz was invited to preach. Brother Boaz declined, saying: "You people do not want the gospel preached." But when Brother Houser insisted that they wanted him to preach nothing but the gospel, he accepted.
Loyal preaching soon caused the young preacher to be relieved of his duties. Those of a loyal faith said: "If they are going to fire a man for preaching the gospel, then we are leaving here too." With a field "white unto the harvest," Brother Houser led in arranging a tent meeting of eight weeks' duration. Four gospel preachers participated, and the establishment of the first loyal congregation in Paducah resulted. Initial services were conducted by this faithful little band under the shade of an oak tree. Soon they met in very humble quarters on historic: Goebel Avenue. It was an inspiration to hear Brother Houser recall the bitter persecutions and opposition that confronted this struggling group in the early days.
In 1924 a lovely building site was purchased and a modem brick building erected on the comer of Nineteenth and Broadway, the present home of this congregation. It was in this building, where Brother Houser had spent so many quiet hours of worship, that a fitting service was conducted in the presence of hundreds of brethren and friends on June 3. An overwhelming floral offering appropriately symbolized the beauty and fragrance that adorned his rich life.
The writer conducted this service in association with Alonzo Williams and Homer A. Daniel.
The fruitage of his abundant labors now rises as a monument to his devotion and missionary zeal in scores of congregations in western Kentucky, southern Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee. During his forty years as a charter member. and elder of this congregation he labored vigorously both for the spread of the cause and the development of younger men.
Brother Houser was consecrated to the aim of going to heaven. Frequently be would arise in an impromptu fashion before the flock and deliver his unique exhortations, reproofs, or rebukes to the church. In his farewell message to the congregation on April 28, with a tremulous voice and through tears of devotion, he begged the congregation to give ''more time to the Lord." In this soulful message he said: "Brethren, I am going to heaven." On June 1 his spirit departed from the diminutive body which had been the tabernacle of such a dynamic personality in the kingdom of God.
Among his great contributions to the cause of Christ is a powerful gospel preacher in the person of his son, Charles Houser, Jr., now preaching in Fulton, Ky. Brother Houser rarely ever talked about his own "preacher boy," but he never lost an opportunity to render service and encouragement to other young preachers. He was truly "a preacher's friend."
Brother Houser trusted supremely in the providence of God. "If the Lord wills" was a daily expression of his life.
In 1 Sam. 20:18 we read: "Then Jonathan said to David; To morrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty." Figuratively, to us in his home congregation, the new moon has come. Brother Houser is greatly missed, and his .seat is empty. But his works do follow him.
I humbly thank our heavenly Father for having brought my life to an intimate acquaintance with this valiant soldier of the cross.
Trine Starnes, Paducah, Ky., Gospel Advocate, August 15, 1946, page 779.
Letter Written By Basil Overton In The Wake Of The Death Of C.L. Houser
Obituary - The Padukah Sun
The Paducah Sun, Kentucky, Monday November 13, 1989 p9
Directions To Grave
The Houser Family Plot is located in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Paducah, Kentucky. Located in the northwestern part of the city, the best directions to the cemetery and plot is to take note of the GPS and map below. I visited the grave in 2018 and took coordinates from the grave location. So, following the coordinates below will get you not only to the cemetery, but also to the plot of Charles L. Houser.
Note: As a side, this may only appeal to a historian that might visit the cemetery where the Housers are buried, but also buried in this cemetery is John T. Scopes. He is the infamous high school teacher who lived in Dayton, Tennessee in the early 1920s who taught evolution, leading to the now famous Skopes Monkey Trial. If visiting the cemetery, you'll appreciate from a historical standpoint, the opportunity to visit Skopes' plot. Click here for directions.
Section 43, Lot 7
Photos Taken 02.07.2018
Webpage Produced 01.08.2020
Courtesy Of Scott Harp