Tribute to a Fellow-Laborer
When the news of the home-call of brother Leonard DeBuhr reached us, my thoughts went to the words of King David concerning the death of Abner: “There is a prince and a great man fallen this day” (2 Sam 3:38).
After increasing weakness, he died Sept. 8, 2007, in the home of his daughter and son-in law in Eagle River, Alaska, where he had been living for the most of the last two years. Failing eyesight caused him to move there to be with them where he was lovingly cared for to the end. He displayed the grace of acceptance right to the close of his days. I spoke with him on the phone a couple of weeks before he went home and he remarked that he was “just waiting for the call.”
Leonard was born April 14, 1911, and lived to the advanced age of 96. He loved to tell of the cold December morning in 1938 when, after years of searching, he found peace and the assurance of salvation through the words of John 3:36. He was in happy fellowship with the saints in Hitesville, Iowa, all of his life. It can be said of him, as David said to Jonathan, “Thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty” (1Sa 20:18.).
Due to failing health for some time prior to his moving to Alaska, he was kindly helped to the assembly gatherings by some of the brethren. He was most appreciative of this as he lived alone after the home-call of his loving wife Edith on January 12, 1992. He was a regular attendee in spite of his frailty.
He began to preach in 1956 with Oliver Smith and others, laboring throughout the Midwest. He was a genuine, loving Christian gentleman. His ministry was very devotional and Christ-exalting, and there was a warm touch in his gospel preaching. He had several favorite subjects that we heard through the years at various conferences. When he had been farming, he raised sheep and loved them, so we heard of and learned many profitable lessons regarding the shepherd and his flock. Another favorite was about honey bees; the busy workers, the drones, the queen in the hive, etc. All this he aptly applied to the assembly. These very practical lessons were appreciated by the believers who heard him.
Hearing of some relatives of the believers in Hitesville assembly located in Willmar, MN, he had an exercise to bring the gospel to them. God worked in that area and a number were saved resulting in an assembly’s being planted in Willmar in April, 1957.
I appreciate the privilege of spending several summers together with our dear brother under canvas in various towns in Minnesota. Perhaps our most notable time together in the gospel was during the winter of 1959-1960 in Stout where the meetings continued for 19 weeks. Numbers who professed to be saved at that time are now in leadership in the Iowa assemblies.
In 1985 our brother wrote a book entitled, ” Golden Lamp-stands of Northern Iowa.” This most interesting book relates the history of the planting of the 15 assemblies in that area.
We cherish the memories of dear Leonard and pray that God will raise up others to fill in the ranks.