TUPELO – The Rev. Cecil Marion Pumphrey, 77, died at his residence in Tupelo on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, after a prolonged illness. The Rev. Pumphrey was born on Dec. 3, 1936, in Chickasaw County to Charlie Marion and Lucille Davis Pumphrey
He was a Minister of the Gospel for over 50 years. He began his ministry as a Southern Baptist preacher at age 17 after graduating from Woodland High School. His first Church was Enon Baptist in Clay County. His home Church, Arbor Grove Baptist Church ordained him into the ministry July 12, 1954. The Rev. Pumphrey received his degree from Mississippi College. His contributions to the spreading of the gospel are extraordinary and legendary.
He pastored Southern Baptist Churches for 17 years. In 1974, he and his family moved to Anaheim, Calif. where he was Senior associate Pastor at Melodyland Christian Center, a church that ministered to more than 10,000 people weekly. His wife, Joan, directed the women’s ministry with more than 500 participants. From his California ministerial base, Pumphrey loved home and foreign mission work and preached in many foreign lands. One of his great accomplishments was smuggling over 10,000 Bibles into China.
In 1985, they returned to Northeast Mississippi to pastor the newly formed Good News Church and Faith Christian High School on West Jackson St., a pastorate that lasted 19 years. He and Mrs. Pumphrey were honored for 50 years in the ministry on June 26, 2004. Pastor Pumphrey declared on his 50th anniversary that he was blessed to be a soul winner, seeing people saved, set free and ministered to.
Aside from his ministry, he loved the outdoors especially working in his yard and on his tractor. His homestead was to perfection and he took pride in his gardens and flowers. He loved his family, met their needs and was celebrated as a doting father, grandfather, great grandfather and mentor to countless hundreds over the years.
A celebration of life service will be at 2:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, at Good News Church (King’s Gate Worship Center) on West Jackson Street with Pastors Ed Vitagliano, Terry Garrett and Grant Sowell officiating. Burial will follow at 4:30 p.m. in the Pumphrey family plot at Arbor Grove Baptist Church Cemetery near Houston. Visitation will be from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Tupelo Chapel of Holland Funeral Directors and one hour prior to the service on Monday at the church.
Survivors include his wife, Robbie Joan Pumphrey of Tupelo; children, Robert Pumphrey (Patty) of Belden, Cindy Pumphrey Sarvak (Steve) of Franklin, Tenn., David Pumphrey of Newport Beach, Calif, and Mark Pumphrey (Heather) of Tupelo; brothers, Rex Pumphrey (Mildred) of West Point, J.E. Pumphrey (Evelyn) of Houston; one sister, Margaret Ruth Gurley (Charles) of Houston; seventeen grandchildren, Monica Hester, Scott Pumphrey, Laura Frank, Matthew Pumphrey, Judy Ann Pumphrey, Joel Pumphrey, Rick Wall, Katie Sarvak, Sarah Smith, Rachel Sarvak, Julie Sarvak, Chelsea Pumphrey, Brian Pumphrey, Aaron Pumphrey, Abby Churchill, Samuel Pumphrey, and Mark Tyler Pumphrey; seven great– grandchildren, Chloe Frank, Addie Kate Pumphrey, Luke Pumphrey, Peyton Hester, Chayse Wall, Esther Smith, and Isaac Smith. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Charles Robert Pumphrey and Curtis Pumphrey.
Pallbearers will be his grandsons. Memorials may be made to Sanctuary Hospice, P. O. Box 2177, Tupelo, MS 38802. Condolences may be e mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.