Doin Pitchford was born
July 7, 1921 in the
Mountain area of Gainesville,
His parents were William Allen and Ethel (Luna) Pitchford.
He had two sisters, Gail and Norma and one brother, Loyd.
Doin, When A Small Child
L to R - Loyd, Gail, Norma, Doin
The photo above is taken on what is still called “the flat rocks”.
It is an area on Caney Creek which runs through the old Pitchford
home place of Doin’s parents in Gainesville, MO.
Doin’s early days were spent playing on the flat rocks by the
creek. This was a place where the weekly washing was done.
Also, it was where Doin would take his soap and towel and bathe
himself in the cool water.
One day while playing with the neighbor
boys, one of them threw an acorn, hitting Doin in the left eye.
He lost the sight in it except for peripheral vision.
Another time his trusty old dog bit him on the face causing a
scar or two. He was just a
small child at that time.
Doin loved to fish.
When he was a lad, he would fish in Caney Creek with his hands,
called “noodling.” He and
other boys caught lots of fish that way.
One time he was reaching back in a hole and caught a big water
He had animal traps set on the way to
school. He regularly went by
and checked them. Sometimes during cold weather, he would come and warm
himself by the old wood stove at school.
A skunk smell would fill the house. He must have been happy since
their fur sold for a better price than possums and rabbits.
He was a good student and made good
grades. He especially liked
Arithmetic and Geography. He
also liked sports, especially baseball.
He had a strong arm and was a good batter.
At home he helped with the chores, later
worked at other farms for fifty cents a day.
He worked in the hayfields in the summer.
Doin loved to read, mostly the Bible.
They didn’t have many other books.
He would lie on the floor and read the Bible so much that his
mother would say, “I think he will be a preacher.”
Their social life was visiting with
neighbors and relatives. His
family didn’t attend church services, but Doin and his sisters went to
the Luna Church of Christ occasionally.
When the Baptist
Church was started at the
Brushy Knob school building, Doin’s dad and mother joined it, as well as
several other members of the Luna and Pitchford families.
Doin was about eleven years old at the time. He joined the
Baptists too when he was about fourteen but continued to also attend
Churches of Christ in the county.
He later dated three girls who were members of the Church of Christ.
When he was fourteen, he began attending
High School in Gainesville.
He met the bus at the highway about a half mile from home, but
some times he would walk or run the seven miles to school.
He seemed anxious to grow up, so he took a correspondence course,
and in three years graduated from
High School (1939). He
began teaching at the two-room school house called Brushy Knob, near his
He attended Springfield Teachers’ College one summer session and
another at Bolivar
in Boliver, MO.
He taught for two years.
While attending Springfield Teacher’s College, he roomed with
Marvin Kirkpatrick. He
mentioned to Marvin that all girls gave him a pain in the neck.
(He had just broken up with some girl).
Marvin told him he knew a girl that he thought he would like to
date. Her name was Lozell
Hamilton. Doin wrote her a
letter, and they corresponded some and finally met at a singing
convention in Bakersfield.
Lozell was an Ozark
girl, growing up near the now historic Old Dawt Mill near Tecumseh, MO.
Her parents, Elmer and Gladys Hamilton, and she and her sister,
Jaretty, were members of the Church of Christ
there at Dawt, MO.
Elmer, Lozell, and Jaretty were
performers in the area. The
girls sang, and the three of them played the fiddle and guitars at
several conventions, pie suppers, home parties and even a political
rally. Doin and Marvin went home with the
one afternoon, and thus began the romance of Doin and Lozell.
She remembered seeing Doin once before when he had come to
Marvin’s home to borrow some school books.
He was fourteen, and she was thirteen.
She didn’t speak to him, but remembered that he was the cutest
boy she had ever seen and had such beautiful blue eyes!
At that time, Doin didn’t have a car so
he rode his horse, “Old Pet” to Lozell’s house.
One time the old horse threw him into Bryant
During the depression, Doin and John
didn’t have much money to spend on dates. They occasionally took their
girlfriends to a movie and to a restaurant.
One afternoon they attended a rodeo in Thayer, coming home with
sunburned noses as it was a very hot day.
On winter evenings they spent time playing Chinese Checkers.
Gladys always had a delicious meal cooked.
Cooking was her specialty.
In 1939, Doin bought a 1935 Chevy.
He had never driven a car, but bought it and drove it home. (So
much for Driver’s Education.)
Doin and John Nesbit took turns with their cars, driving over to
see the Hamilton
girls. John’s car was a 1935
Ford, V8. He was dating
Lozell’s sister, Jaretty.
They later married in 1940.
Doin and Lozell married
March 1, 1941
Court House. They spent
their honeymoon in Springfield
and Bolivar where Doin had attended college, as he wanted to show his
bride these places. When
they returned to her home on Sunday night, Lozell’s mother had cooked
them a fine supper. (Doin
especially liked Gladys’ cherry cobbler). Just as they sat down to eat,
there was a gunshot at the south of the house and tin pans and bells
making a terrible racket near the window where they were eating.
About seventy-five neighbors and relatives had come to “chavari”
the newlyweds. They brought
gifts, quilts, lace table cloths and depression dishes.
Doin treated them with candy.
The Pitchford and Hamilton families
showed their approval of the young couple.
Doin’s mother had encouraged him to either quit his girl or get
married before he went broke going to see her so often.
Money was hard to come by in those years.
Doin’s teacher salary started at $80.00 a month; the second year
was $85.00 per month and about $90.00 at the end of school.
At the Dawt Church of Christ, in order to
better harmonize, the people sat together according to what part they
sang. Doin had a beautiful bass voice, so he sat in that section.
Jaretty was soprano, and Lozell sat in the alto section. Everyone could
read shaped notes, since they learned them in singing schools that were
directed in school and church buildings throughout the county.
Doin and Lozell attended many of these lessons and could sing any
Shortly after marriage, Doin and Lozell
moved their meager belongings to Springfield, MO.
They rented an apartment for $3 a week.
They had to share a bath and had an ice box (no refrigeration in
their home at that time).
Later, they moved into a nicer apartment for $5 a week. The couple
decided to go to California
where Doin’s brother worked in the Imperial Valley
in Brawley, southern
Doin had heard through a friend that there was work in the
Lockheed Airplane factory.
So the newlyweds headed west.
Neither had been out of the state (except
Northern Arkansas where Lozell had been one time).
Doin and Lozell left
early one morning in August and by nightfall; they could see the lights
of Oklahoma City.
Since neither of them had ever traveled in level country before,
as soon as they began to see the lights, they thought they would enter
the city in a few minutes.
They were surprised to find that it was at least twenty-five miles away.
This trip was a great adventure for both of them.
The weather was very hot (no air conditioning in cars at that
time), but the happy couple sang songs enjoying the harmony on “Lonesome
Pine Special” and even did some yodeling.
They made such wonderful memories of that trip; it was really
their honeymoon since they had only been married four months.
The second night they stopped in
New Mexico and rented a cabin.
They bought a can of beans, since that’s what was eaten a lot at
home, but found out that they were Mexican beans!
The next stop was Phoenix, Arizona
where they visited Ray Robinson at his business, Upton’s Ice Cream Place.
An Ozark county man, Clifford Upton, had a chain of
confectioneries in the Phoenix
area, and employed mostly
He said they were good workers.
Both Doin and Lozell were offered jobs selling ice cream.
They lived in an apartment in the back of the store.
Doin’s Uncle, Clifford Luna, called to
tell Doin that he had a job for him in Hobbs, New Mexico
- working as a sales clerk for J.C. Penny.
Uncle Clifford and Aunt Pearl lived in Portales, New Mexico,
where he was a manager of the Penny store. Lozell was offered a job as
well. Since Doin wanted to train for manager, the wives were also
trained in most departments.
Doin and Lozell lived in a garage
apartment. They found it
hard to make ends meet on their meager salaries, but they occasionally
enjoyed going to the movies.
One night, while standing in line for tickets, someone picked Doin’s
wallet from his hip pocket.
They had been saving for a vacation in
to visit their folks. They
were devastated. Doin told
his manager about it, and he advanced their salary so they could make
In December 1941, the Japanese attacked
Pearl Harbor, and the war with
was already on. Coming back
to Hobbs from one of their
visits to Missouri,
Doin found a notice in the mail box for him to report for induction into
the army at Ft. Bliss, Texas.
They assumed that he would fail the exam because of his damaged
eyesight in his left eye, but he passed it and had a few days to take
Lozell back to her folks before he left for
Doin’s mother, Aunt Mattie and Lozell accompanied him to the bus
station. Poor Ethel was so
overcome with grief to see her baby boy go off to war, that Lozell and
Aunt Mattie had to hold her up.
It was a sad time for lots of people.
Lozell stayed with her folks while Doin was in basic training.
After that, Lozell went to El Paso.
Doin met her at the station.
He looked so different in uniform, and he had gained up to 175 pounds.
Basic training was good for him.
In The Army
He had found an apartment for them to
live in and had located a Church of Christ
nearby. Many friends were made while worshipping there.
The Pitchford family grew while living in
with the birth of two sons.
Larry Jo was born
August 27, 1943
at the Biggs Field Army air base hospital.
The family moved into government housing, a nice brick apartment.
Doin was put in limited service because
of his eye. He measured the
soldiers for their uniforms at first (He suited up Ernie Pyle who was to
be a war correspondent), but since he had had experience as a teacher,
he spent the rest of his time teaching men to read and write.
Lots of them were Mexican.
They didn’t want to be inducted so they would say “No Savvy”!
One Arkansas man had never learned to read and
write. Doin took a special
interest in him, and he learned so fast he was able to write to his
The second son, Gary Lee, was born
August 15, 1945, the day the war ended.
At that time, Doin applied for a transfer
with J.C. Penny and got a job at the Popular Bluff, MO store.
It was good to be civilians again.
Lozell stayed at home with her children.
J.C. Penny just did not pay good wages,
and an ad in the St. Louis
paper led Doin to a new job in Hillsboro, IL.
He managed Wolf Department Store there and another son, David
Hamilton, was born February 6, 1948.
Doin always wanted to be a preacher, so in 1950, they decided to move to
Abilene, Texas so he could attend Abilene Christian
As a result of this decision, he was baptized into the Lord’s
church in 1951 at Odessa,
Texas by Eddie Myers. While
attending college, he was able to get assistance on the GI bill.
He also worked for a building contractor.
His first fulltime preaching job was at
He drove back and forth to
to attend Bible classes.
While living in Dunn, a daughter, Mary Katherine (Kathy), was born June 18, 1951.
That same year, the church at
Gainesville, MO decided to hire their first full time
preacher, so they asked Doin to come.
In November, 1951, the Pitchford family moved back to Gainesville.
Doin held their first
and began teaching a Ladies’ Bible Class and Men’s Training Class.
On week nights, he preached at neighboring congregations.
During the three years we there, he baptized many folks and
preached several funerals.
He was the only full time preacher in the county.
In the early 1950’s, they had to break
ice in order to carry out a baptismal service at the Tecumseh picnic
ground at the North Fork of the White River.
There were no waders for the preacher to wear, and the husband
and wife being baptized wore regular clothes as well.
As they came out of the water, their pants legs and hair were
A fifth child, John Wesley (Johnny), was
born on September 28, 1953.
The family enjoyed living in the country.
It was a good place for the children, and Doin and Lozell were
able to visit their parents regularly.
It was then that the family purchased their first TV.
In 1954, the family again made a move,
this time near Diamond, MO to the West Union
congregation. Doin helped them conduct their first VBS.
It was an old established congregation.
The family lived in a church owned house next to the church
building. While there, Doin
helped build a baptistry, helped work on a nursing home and with other
preachers, began a new church in
In 1956, some of the Ozark county folks who had moved to
Derby, Kansas to work for Boeing Aircraft Factory,
heard about Doin’s preaching and asked him to move there.
So in August 1956, another move took
place. Derby was known as the
fastest growing town in the
The Post Office moved three times in one year, and the school
system couldn’t furnish buildings fast enough and had to use barracks
for some of the classes. The
streets were new and
dusty. Planes were heard
overhead so often and loud, that anyone using the telephone had to stop
talking until they passed over.
The church was meeting in a lodge hall while their new building
was being built. There were
eighty some folks attending at that time. Doin contacted a lot of Ozark
county folks, and attendance began to grow.
He did quite a bit of TV preaching on the “Let the Bible Speak”
It was at Derby
that the sixth child, James William (Jimmy), was born July 24, 1957.
At last the family was complete.
A Young Pitchford Family
Back - Larry
Middle Row L to R - Dave, Gary
Front Row - Johnny, Doin, Jimmy, Lozell, Kathy
The next move was in 1960 to
When they left Derby,
the church had a little over
300 in attendance.
They felt that was one of the best works they ever had.
was like a mission point, only sixteen miles from Derby.
There were sixteen congregations supporting the beginning of that
work. They asked Doin if he
would build it up. There
were only two or three other families who helped get it started.
The church was able to buy an old church building.
furnished a song leader and several other families helped there for a
while, coming from Mulvane,
began to help with the work.
They rented a big house a little over a mile from town.
It was ideal for the large Pitchford family with lots of bedrooms
and a basement.
Doin had promised Granby if they would keep
the church going, he would come back, so in 1962, the family moved back
The church bought a house that had been an old funeral home; so
once again, there was plenty of room for a large family.
Jimmy started to school there.
The children made many new friends.
Larry was in college when they moved there.
During that year, they made a trip to
They had been there before, helping a small church there with
VBS. Doin helped Brother
Hancock raise money to hire a full time preacher for the church in
Portage La Prairie. They
went and talked to churches in
Doin had held a meeting in Brandon, Manitoba
and realized the need for help there.
While in Granby, Doin and Lozell
became interested in school activities and realized they needed money to
have a better school system.
Doin helped them raise money by voting in a tax levy.
Lozell was very active in PTA there.
During the course of his ministry at
Doin served on the Advisory Board at
College, York, Nebraska.
In 1963, Larry married a preacher’s
daughter, Gail Fowler, whom he had met at Derby. He attended York College
and transferred to Rolla School of Mines.
attended York College where he met Sandy Harp (another
preacher’s daughter), and they were married in 1966 before he went to
In 1965, the remaining family moved from
to Emporia, Kansas, where brother Tinius had helped the
struggling church there. He
recommended Doin for the task, and they were happy to move where they
had good schools and a larger town of 20,000.
Emporia State College gave new
opportunities for ministry. The Pitchfords met new friends every summer
as they would be there for the summer session.
The church was blessed with a lot of young college students also.
At that time there were several Bible chairs on or near campuses
over the brotherhood, and Doin realized the need for one in
Brother Wilburn Hills had one in Topeka and helped Doin and
the church with plans. Doin
drove all over Kansas
getting support for that work and was able to find a building for sale
across the street from the college.
By 1968, they were ready for classes to begin, but they needed a
man with a Masters Degree in Bible to teach Bible for credit.
They checked around and found a man who had finished at Abilene Christian College.
However, the church couldn’t support him and Doin too.
They faced the dilemma of having found a Bible Chairman, but then
they realized they would have to either not have the Chair or lose their
preacher. Doin said “If you
don’t start the Chair now, I’ll be the biggest liar in the state of
since I’ve been telling folks their young people would have a chance to
have Bible education.”
Everything worked out fine.
The church at Portales, New Mexico was in need of a preacher, so
the same truck that moved the Pitchfords to New Mexico went on to
Abilene and picked up the young man, Jim Strait, and his family, and
moved them to Emporia.
While in Portales, the Pitchfords lived
in the nicest of homes. A
rich feed mill family had owned it, and when they moved to Clovis, they gave the
house to the Children’s Home in Portales who then sold it to the church.
There was plenty of room in that house for activities for the
The church in Portales was in turmoil.
Some (mostly college students) were in the Charismatic Movement.
There were three segments of the church there: the old timers, the Bible
Chair element, and the Children’s Home with their children which made a
congregation of over 600.
Doin’s Uncle Clifford Luna, was a member there and was instrumental in
Doin’s coming there. Doin
preached there for one year.
Their third son, David, who had finished
the two year program at York, was now finishing up at Harding College and in 1969 married a preacher’s
daughter he met there, Sandra (Gaither) Pitchford.
While living in Portales, their daughter,
Kathy, met Clayton King. He
became a Christian and followed Kathy to York
College. They married in 1970.
The Emporia Avenue
church in Wichita
wanted Doin to come there to work with them.
They had helped in his support for twelve years, off and on.
When Doin got a call from brother McCloud, one of the elders at
Emporia Avenue, he said that since they
already knew Doin, they wouldn’t have to have a “try-out” sermon.
Doin had preached for them on Sunday nights while living in Derby and when they were
without a preacher. That
church was instrumental in starting new congregations in several Kansas towns, and later began a new work in St. Cloud, MN.
At that time, most preachers moved about
more than they do now, so Doin and Lozell and their children just took
these moves in stride as many other families did.
While in Wichita, they lived across the street from
lovely Linnwood Park.
It was during their stay here that Kathy and Clayton were married
The next move was to
again. They were ready to
disband and had brought the church keys back to the elders at Emporia Avenue, as they were the ones that
started the church there.
Doin was so grieved, since he had worked so hard to begin the church
there. The elders asked if
Doin would go back and try to revive it.
They had bought a house across the street from the church
building. They spent about
eighteen months at Clearwater, and the church
was going well, so they very happily moved back to Emporia in 1974.
This was about the time that their son, Johnny had finished two
years at York
College and was at Harding
where he certified to teach music. By this time, all the other children
were married except for Jimmy.
Doin loved to fish, and always had his
fishing gear in the trunk of the car.
If he got through with his work and visits, he would stop by a
fishing hole and try his luck. It didn’t matter to him if he had on a
“Sunday shirt” and tie. Lots
of mornings, he would go fishing early, wearing his good clothes.
One morning, a newspaper photographer took his picture while
fishing with his good shirt and tie on in the Cottonwood River by the bridge.
And yes, he published it in the newspaper!
The caption called him a “fishing preacher.”
His son-in-law, Clayton King, recalls
memories of once when they were fishing together.
Doin always cast his rod real close to his head.
On this occasion, he caught the hook in his ear!
He calmly opened his tackle box which had a mirror in it, pushed
the barb through his ear, cut the barb with needle nose pliers and
pulled it out. Clayton said,
“I guess we need to go,” to which Doin replied, “No, I’ve got more
hooks.” He proceeded to
place a band aid on his ear and continued fishing.
Their neighbors across the street there
were Elmer and Leta Ross.
They were not Christians, but after Doin and Lozell became well
acquainted, Doin was able to teach and baptize both of them.
Leta came first. One
Sunday, Doin saw Elmer
with his ladder, getting ready to paint the garage door.
Doin said, “I hope it rains”.
Before Sunday school was over, here came Elmer.
It had started to rain.
He obeyed the gospel soon after that.
They became dear friends.
They loved Jimmy so much.
They didn’t have any boys, so they always had candy on the coffee
table for him, and he loved watching their big color TV.
Doin held the funeral services for both of these dear, faithful
In January, 1979, they moved to
Sparta, MO, leaving Jimmy behind.
He was then 22 years old and in 1981, he married an
girl, Taime Turner.
Doin and Lozell felt right at home in
and stayed there five years.
The elders there were John Walker, Herb Luttrell and Owen Bloomer.
They built a new brick home for the preacher directly behind the
church building. Lozell’s
mother came to live with them part time, as her husband had died in
1978. She attended services
of the church and went with Lozell to club meetings.
She was so much company to them.
They played a lot of table games.
Kathy and Clayton moved to Ozark during that time where he taught
school, and they worshiped in Sparta.
Kathy started back to college in
Using scripture slide shows for his
sermons was something Doin used frequently in the 1970’s and 80’s.
He realized the importance of visual aids to assist his listeners in their
Doin began having back problems and his
general health seemed to be failing.
He decided he would retire from full time preaching when he
In 1984, the elders of the church in
asked Doin if he would move there and preach.
They had just moved into their new church building.
They were reluctant to leave the wonderful church in
Sparta, but this was the fulfillment of their
dream to retire soon. Doin
preached there a little over two years.
It was good to be back home again.
It was Doin’s last fulltime work.
He was a part of the television program,
“The Living Word,” in Springfield, Missouri
during his years at Sparta
and Gainesville, Missouri.
Doin also served as an elder at
He had heart problems and back problems
in 1985, so in August 1986, they moved from the Gainesville preacher’s
home over to the old home place with Lozell’s mother.
That year was a very difficult one.
Doin’s mother passed away in March.
In June, Doin and Lozell made a trip to
where Larry and Gail were living.
That was the one and only time they ever made a trip overseas.
It was quite an experience.
Doin preached for them while there for two weeks.
The church was made up of mostly service men.
The Koreans really rolled out the red carpet for the 400 or more
Americans that were on that tour.
They stayed in modern hotels and rode the train down to the end
of the peninsula.
When they returned to
Gainesville, they set in to remodel the old farm
house that had been built in 1923.
They tool great pride in producing vegetable and flowers gardens
In the fall of 1986, Doin had four
by-pass surgery. In August
1987, he had surgery on his back.
In February 1988, Doin began preaching
for the Clarkridge, AR congregation on Sunday mornings and nights.
He preached for them for seven years.
They attended the Gainesville congregation
on Wednesday nights.
50th Anniversary Gathering
L to R Back Row:
Jim, John, Dave, Gary, Larry
Front: Doin, Kathy, Lozell
In 1995, Doin started preaching on Sunday
nights at the Ball congregation in Dora, MO.
Their son, Gary, was Principal at Bakersfield High School and preached at the Ball on
Sunday mornings. When he
retired from school work and moved to
MO, Doin began preaching both
Sunday services at the Ball.
He worked with that church for five years, and in 2002, he still
preached for them occasionally.
In March, 2000, because of Doin’s declining health and ability to
take care of the old home place, they moved into an apartment in Gainesville.
They loved being in town closer to the church services and
activities. Sometimes they would
go over to the old home place and spend a few days in the spring, summer
On July 7, 2001, the family and
friends met at the old home place to celebrate Doin’s 80th birthday.
He received a card shower of 160 cards.
A scholarship was set up in his name at Crowley’s Ridge
to benefit those students who are preparing for the ministry.
David Morrison, elder at Gainesville, presented Doin with a plaque
honoring him for his 51 years of preaching the gospel and gave one to
Lozell for 50 years of Christian service.
With failing health, he was confined the last few years of his life to a
wheelchair. In the fall of
2007, Doin and Lozell moved to
Arkansas to be nearer to their
doctors and son David and wife, Sandra.
They loved being a part of the church that meets at College and
North Streets in Mountain Home.
Just three months before he passed away, Doin and Lozell celebrated 67
years of marriage. They won the prize for being married the longest at
the church Valentine Sweetheart Banquet. What a refreshing
accomplishment for this day and time!
Doin passed away on
May 29, 2008 at the Hospice House in Mountain Home after a
lingering illness. His
funeral was held at the Gainesville church of Christ in Gainesville, Missouri
with Halbert Smith presiding.
Ken Burton, minister at the College and
North congregation, conducted the graveside service at the
Ball Cemetery in Dora, Missouri.
Doin moved around a lot, but he was never asked to leave a congregation,
and he seldom preached a “try out” sermon.
He said he just knew when it was time to move on and always knew
of some place that needed a preacher. He loved people, and he had a wife
well suited to the task.
Lozell was an ideal preacher’s wife; gracious, hospitable and well
versed in the scripture. She
was an effective Bible class teacher to the children and ladies as well.
Lozell still resides in Mountain Home.
Larry made a career as a Civil Engineer with the U.S. Corps of
Engineers. He is now retired, and he and Gail live in Galena, MO
where Gail still teaches school part time. He has done some preaching
and served as a deacon at one time.
made a career of teaching and served as Principal at
High School in Missouri for several
years. He also preached part time several years and has served as an
elder in the church. He and
Sandy are retired and also live at
David taught school at Mountain Home High for ten years and then went
into business for himself, opening a car service center.
After 24 years, he has retired.
He and Sandra still live in Mountain Home, AR
where Dave serves as an elder in the church.
Kathy teaches school and stays very busy as a preacher’s wife.
Her husband, Clayton King, preaches in LaJunta, CO.
Jim manages a group of rental properties in Emporia, KS,
and Taime works for
They are workers in the church, and Jim has served as a deacon.
Doin and Lozell currently have twelve grandchildren and eighteen great
In lieu of flowers, the family requested memorials be made to the Crowleys Ridge College
Donations can continue to be sent to:
Crowleys Ridge College
Doin Pitchford Memorial Fund
100 College Drive
Paragould, AR 72450-9980
One Of The Last Photos Of Doin and Lozell
Together - Taken March 1, 2008