BOWLING GREEN - The Rev. Lyle Loomis, 92, a United Methodist pastor whose work for many years centered on youth ministry, died Tuesday in Otterbein-Portage Valley nursing home, Pemberville, Ohio.
He d been ill with emphysema and congestive heart failure, but family members did not know a cause of death.
As part of his ministry, he led various youth groups on area camping trips and to faraway sites along the Appalachian Trail, the Florida Everglades, and the Boundary Waters area in northern Minnesota, Joseph Loomis, his son, said.
“Part of his interest was he could instill in youth their own personal values and confidence,” he said. “That could be taught a lot in outdoor camping where they worked together and were part of a team.”
Mr. Loomis saw that the chores necessary for camping taught lessons about everyday living, his son said.
“When you went camping with him, he would always say that you had to leave a campsite better than you found it,” Mr. Loomis said. “He did that with life.”
With his wife, Sally, he continued to make an important impact late in life with a decision in 1999 to donate their 80-acre farm on Carter Road near Bowling Green State University to the Wood County Park District. The farm has been in his wife s family for more than a century.
After retiring in 1976, he still accepted some assignments. From 1980 to 1993, he was pastor of Scotch Ridge Presbyterian Church.
After graduating from BGSU in 1933, Mr. Loomis went to extraordinary lengths to continue his education, sometimes hitchhiking and bicycling long distances to attend classes, his son said. To complete his divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary in Dayton in 1936, he and his wife sometimes hitchhiked to Dayton from Oakwood, Ohio, where he was serving at Oakwood United Brethren Church.
In the early 1940s when he enrolled again at BGSU, he mounted a gasoline-powered washing machine motor on the handlebars of a bicycle that powered him from Whitehouse to Bowling Green.
“He used that bicycle to take him back and forth from Whitehouse,” his son said. “A quart of gasoline got him almost both ways. He had a car, but he was saving on gas [because of gasoline rationing during World War II].”
Mr. Loomis was a minister at McClure-Liberty Center United Brethren Church, Whitehouse Methodist Church, and Trilby Methodist Church.
In 1957, he became executive secretary of education and camping for the Northwest Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. In 1967, he became associate pastor at South Bend Grace United Methodist Church, South Bend, Ind.
Mr. Loomis continued to fly a small airplane into his 70s and paddled the Maumee River from Fort Wayne, Ind., to Perrysburg.
Surviving are his wife, Marcella “Sally;” sons, Joseph, Jerry, and John; daughter, Rose Marie; 12 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.
Graveside services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Oak Grove Cemetery. The body will be in the Dunn Funeral Home after 2 p.m. tomorrow. The family suggests tributes to Otterbein-Portage Valley or the Gideons.