Harper, William Victor (1900-1975)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

WILLIAM VICTOR HARPER: born at Great Yarmouth on 23rd October 1900. He had an elementary education and became a railway clerk. After accreditation as a local preacher in 1920 he was accepted for the ministry and previous to college he served in the Cheltenham Circuit from 1924-6. He was trained at Hartley Victoria College from 1926 to 1928. From there he went to Guernsey for two years’ probation. He was ordained in 1930, and the same year married Beatrice Amis. He then served in the following circuits: Wangford, North Sunderland, South Shields, Newcastle upon Tyne (North West), Newcastle upon Tyne (Heaton and Wallsend), and Hexham.

In the North-East of England he found especial satisfaction among the mining communities that he served. His straightforwardness allied to a gentle manner won him many admirers and friends. A genuine understanding of the needs and problems of ordinary people enabled him to exercise a valuable pastoral ministry. His wide-ranging mind and his breadth of reading made him an effective preacher. 

From 1947-58, he served with great ability as Secretary of the Newcastle upon Tyne Synod. His administrative gifts found full exercise there. Conference appointed him Chairman of the District in 1958, a position that he held until his retirement in 1966. In this capacity his long experience of the District proved invaluable, as did his knowledge and love of the people of the area. 

The first three years of his retirement were spent as an active supernumerary in the island of Sark. Then he settled in Arnside in the Kendal Circuit where he continued a preaching ministry over a wide area until his death. 

He was a gracious person who made many friends. His ministry brought comfort and encouragement and faith to many. He was supported by a very happy home life and his wife shared his work and interests to the full. His two sons made him proud and happy as they shared his faith and entered into the life of the Church. He died after a short illness on 6th April 1975 in the seventy-fifth year of his age and the forty-ninth year of his ministry.

Family

William was born on 23 October 1900 at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, to parents Edward Patrick Harper, a maltster’s labourer (1911), and Elizabeth Tungate.

He married Beatrice Elizabeth Amis (1892-1981) in the Mutford Registration District, Suffolk. The 1939 Register identifies two children.

  • Anthony J (b1932)
  • Peter J A (b1934)

William died on 6 April 1975 at Arnside, Cumbria.

Circuits

  • 1924 Gloucester
  • 1926 Hartley
  • 1928 Guernsey
  • 1930 Wangford
  • 1933 N Sunderland
  • 1938 S Shields
  • 1942 Newcastle NW
  • 1949 Newcastle Heaton
  • 1956 Hexham
  • 1958 Newcastle District Chairman
  • 1966 Sark (Sup)

References

Methodist Minutes 1975/176

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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