Our devotion today comes from Lynn Priebe who grew up in Summerfield. She is the daughter of Mabel Byron.
My “shining star” as it were was (I HATE having to use the past tense for this person) was Professor Jeffery Howard Offutt (lovingly referred to by all of us who were blessed with knowing him as “PaPa”) Professor Offutt was the director of the choir at Conference Point Camp as camp in Lake Geneva where many of us from MYF went to camp. He was also the director of the “Lapham Park Young People’s Chorus” which I was blessed to have been a part of for many years after my camp experience. He was a kind and generous man, not more than 5 feet tall but with a heart that held nothing but love.. His credo (and he lived and breathed it was: When you enter here leave your prejudice and hate at the door for only love can enter here.” He taught all of us blessed with knowing him what it was to be a true Christian both in spirit and in action. His beloved wife, “Mama” Offutt died before I met her but the camp bell tower was named in her honor because of her dedication to all of us at the camp. PaPa and MaMa Offutt were members of the St. Marks AME church and embodied everything that the Christian spirit could be. I am a better person for the influence of PaPa Offutt.. He embraced the love of the Lord with a passion that touched everyone he encountered and I only saw him turn someone away one time and that one time was when he did not feel the person was genuine enough in his feelings to be allowed into the choir room. Sadly Professor Offutt died several years ago, but his influence on my life will live forever with the love he showed all of us (my parents included, as they were active supporters of the choir.) God Blessed the world the day that PaPa Offutt came into this life…
(Don’t quite know how the type on this changed from one way to another but I suspect “fumble finger syndrome” 🙂 Lynn Priebe