Dr. Robert Walter McIntyre, who first felt a call to Christian ministry when he was a teenager, died early on the morning of March 20, 2019, at Colonial Oaks Health and Rehab, Marion, Indiana. He had served his Lord and The Wesleyan Church for almost seven decades. He was 96 years old.
Dr. McIntyre’s ministerial journey through The Wesleyan Church began with his appointment as pastor of a small church in Ohio and ended with his election as a General Superintendent, the highest office in the denomination.
Dr. McIntyre was born June 20, 1922, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to Simon Jesse and Ruth Ellen Young McIntyre. His father was a pastor in The Pilgrim Holiness Church.
The family later moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota, and that is where Dr. McIntyre attended his first revival service in October 1935 at a Wesleyan Methodist Church.
“It was then, when I was 13, that God spoke to my heart about surrendering my life to him. I didn’t respond immediately, especially weighing all the issues and making up my mind that if I did respond, it was going to be for life,” Dr. McIntyre said in an autobiography he wrote for his family on his 90th birthday anniversary.
“It was soon after that I began to feel a growing sense of a call to the Christian ministry,” he wrote in the book, which he titled A Picture of Robert W. McIntyre: What My Kids Asked Me to Tell Them.
Dr. McIntyre received a theology diploma at Miltonvale College in Kansas before transferring to Marion College, which now is Indiana Wesleyan University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in religion in 1944.
At Marion College, he was a member of the Varsity Quartet that traveled five states in a 1937 Ford.
A few weeks after receiving his degree at Marion College, Dr. McIntyre was ordained and appointed pastor of Fargo Wesleyan Methodist Church, north of Columbus, Ohio. In September 1944, he married Edith Jones, who would become an ordained pastor in the Wesleyan Methodist Church a year later.
In 1947, the McIntyres moved to Columbus, Ohio, to pioneer a new church. In the summer of 1952, they were appointed pastors of the Coshocton (Ohio) Wesleyan Methodist Church.
Soon after their move to Coshocton, Edith McIntyre became ill. She died January 3, 1953, leaving her husband with four children—the youngest of them seven weeks old.
Dr. McIntyre married Elizabeth Norman on November 6, 1953. He knew a pastor needed a wife and his children needed a mother. Robert and Elizabeth McIntyre had been married for 65 years at the time of his death. Their marriage produced a fifth child in 1954.
In the summer of 1955, just 11 years after he graduated from Marion College, Dr. McIntyre was offered and accepted an opportunity to join the Youth Department at their World Headquarters of The Wesleyan Methodist Church in Marion, Indiana.
Dr. McIntyre served as an assistant in the Youth Department for a short time before being elected General Secretary and Director of Wesleyan Youth—a position he held for 13 years.
When the Pilgrim Holiness Church and The Wesleyan Methodist Church merged in 1968 to form The Wesleyan Church, Dr. McIntyre was elected as the first General Editor of the denomination.
In 1973, Dr. McIntyre was elected to serve as one of four General Superintendents of The Wesleyan Church. He retired from that office in 1988.
After his career at the World Headquarters of The Wesleyan Church, Dr. McIntyre worked as a special assistant to Dr. Jim Barnes, president of Indiana Wesleyan University. He later accepted a portfolio of Senior Adults Ministry for the denomination’s Department of Local Church Education.
Dr. McIntyre served as president of the National Association of Evangelicals from 1984 to 1986 and was on the National Advisory Council of the American Bible Society from 1984 to 1988. At various times, he was on the Boards of Trustees of Marion College, Houghton College and Asbury Theological Seminary.
Dr. McIntyre had honorary doctorates from four colleges.
In addition to his wife, the former Harriet Elizabeth Norman, Dr. McIntyre is survived by four children, Judith (Rev. James) Keilholtz, Marion, Indiana; John (Pam) McIntyre, Marion, Indiana; James (Carla) McIntyre, Gas City, Indiana; June Irvine, Hoschton, Georgia; and two “adopted” children, Ben and Yvonne Li, Carmel, Indiana. He will also be remembered lovingly by his grandchildren: Juline Keilholtz, Dr. Jana (Dr. Chris) Harvey, Teresa (Kevin) Batman, Rev. Chad (Julie) McCallum, Joshua (Gretchen) McIntyre, Jennifer (Kyle) Musser, India (Dr. Derek) Oldham, Deanna (Christopher) Caudell, Amber (Rev. Jason) Berry, Karisa (Jason) Reynolds, Jasmine (Rev. Jeremy) Curtis, and two “adopted” grandsons, Zachary and Brian Li. Bob had 24 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a daughter, Joy (Rev. Chuck) McCallum; a son-in-law, Doug Irvine; a brother, Ralph Leo McIntyre; another brother and his wife, Rev. Wesley Gilbert and Evangeline Turner McIntyre; some brothers- and sisters-in-law; and some nieces and nephews.
The family will receive visitors from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with Dr. McIntyre’s funeral service beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 22, 2019, at Lakeview Wesleyan Church, 5316 S. Western Ave., Marion, IN. Dr. Norman G. Wilson will be officiating with burial following at Grant Memorial Park.
Arrangements are entrusted to Needham-Storey-Wampner Funeral Service, North Chapel, 1341 N. Baldwin Ave., Marion, IN.
Memorial contributions may be directed to Wesley Seminary, in memory of Dr. Robert McIntyre, 4201 S. Washington St., Marion, IN 46953.
Online condolences may be made at www.nswcares.com.
Interment Location: Section B, Lot 575, Space 3-A