In 1983 brother Paul Wilmoth and toddler daughter Christy came to worship with the Northeast congregation. Brother Paul had accepted an invitation from brother Malcolm Hill to help in the teaching program of the congregation on a part-time basis. About a year later he began his work assisting brother Hill in the preaching and teaching of the Gospel—a partnership of 27 years.
The way most will remember Paul is from the role of team preaching [with brother Hill], teaching and writing weekly bulletin articles which covered the last 25 years of his life to his passing Monday, April 5, 2021 at the age of 77 years. Over that period of time he and wife Shirley were an active part of the Northeast congregation. During that time he saw his daughter grow to be a young woman in the congregation, marry Jason Brown, and deliver a beautiful granddaughter, Ella Grace.
Brother Paul served as an anchor in the teaching program of the congregation. He was always active in teaching one of the adult classes. He helped design study programs for Vacation Bible School and other special study series for the congregation. He was a regular on the “Bible Questions and Answers” TV and radio programs. He was available to answer your questions and help along the way. Perhaps one of the most unsung parts of his work would be classified as work he made possible. Through his commitment at home he made many mission trips possible for others, especially Malcolm Hill. The work done in lectureships, Russia, the Caribbean, and stateside could not have been accomplished without brother Paul.
“You can depend on Paul,” brother Hill would often say, and he was exactly right. In commitment to study, doctrine, and service you could depend on brother Paul. Mission work? Brother Paul was there keeping the “home fire burning.” Issues arising in the church? Brother Paul was there—sound, solid, firmly planted on the gospel of Christ. Someone to talk to that would sincerely care for your state? Brother Paul was there for you. Participating in weddings, funerals, hospital visits for 37 years, he was part of the family. He will be missed.
Over a year and a half ago, Paul was diagnosed with cancer. While many of us tried to console him and say maybe its not as bad as you think, every doctor visit and check seemed to disprove all well wishing. He did survive COVID-19! For the last year he was in great pain, but made most all of his speaking and teaching appointments through last November. Even in great pain, heavily medicated, and weakened in appearance, when he stepped into the pulpit, he seemed to take on energy. As the disease progressed his earthly body grew weaker and weaker to the point that his last couple of months were spent at home in the loving care of Shirley and family.
For the first time in his life, he was unable to attend worship services, something he found hard to accept. He was born into a preaching family. His father Perry was a gospel preacher and mother Sheila a godly preacher’s wife. They took Paul with his brother and sister to every service and every Gospel Meeting in the area. His older brother Carl, who survives him, is a gospel preacher. Paul earned a Bachelor of Religious Education Degree from Tennessee Bible College. His heroes were gospel preachers, his family Christians. Brother Paul preached the Gospel for 60 years. He never knew a time in life that he was not in worship and service to God with the church of Christ.
It was my privilege to work with brother Paul through his full term at Northeast. In early times I led singing for him both here and in gospel meetings. As time moved along we team-taught several classes, and for the last 14 years we worked closely together team-preaching for the congregation. He was always encouraging to me as he was to others in the work. Through challenges of life and spiritual battles in the church, he never complained. He did his work quietly and well. Over eight months ago he talked with me about the prospect of leaving this world. He told me to pray the will of God be done, and he said that he was ready to go home (something he repeated to me up to the very last time we visited). He said the only reason he would desire to stay was for Shirley, he hated to leave her alone. In addition to his wife and brother, he is survived by four daughters and spouses, nine grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
A great man has fallen in spiritual Israel and he will be missed. The work of the Lord goes on, and because of the good work of brother Paul, a firm foundation has been laid here at Northeast that should yield good growth in the future (Rev. 14:13).