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Published: Monday, 7/17/2006

Nazarene minister loved small town life

ARCHBOLD, Ohio - Rev. Donald F. Holsinger, a working-class pastor, carpenter, and factory worker who preached in Ohio for over a quarter-century, died Saturday in his Archbold home. He was 75.

Mr. Holsinger died of cancer, family members said.

After graduating from Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Mass., in 1959, Rev. Holsinger began preaching in a small wooden chapel in Timblin, a mining town in the hills of Pennsylvania. His congregation of 50 listened intently to the man whose right arm, leg, and eye had been paralyzed since birth, but never spoke of his ailment during his sermons.

"He just felt the call from God. He never needed a microphone, you could always hear him. He always spoke with a lot of passion," said daughter Gaylene Carpenter. And as for his condition: "It never stopped him from anything. And he never talked about it," she said.

After three years in Timblin, Mr. Holsinger moved to another small church in Kane, Pa., where he stayed for five years before moving to the Toledo area.

He began at the Jackman Church of the Nazarene on Stahlwood Avenue, where he preached for three years while also working in a local factory.

"He was a very common guy who loved people, loved his family, and loved his Lord," his daughter said.

But he missed the small-town life. So in 1971 he moved to Archbold and preached at the Archbold Church of the Nazarene on Main Street, which has since closed. There he stayed for just over a decade, also earning a living as a carpenter at Archbold's Sauder Woodworking Co.

In 1981, Mr. Holsinger began serving as an associate pastor at Bryan Church of the Nazarene; he retired from both preaching and carpentry in 1993, when he moved to Arizona.

"But he missed Archbold too much," his daughter said.

He and his wife, Darlene, whom he married in 1951, returned to Archbold, where he enjoyed fishing before he died.

Mr. Holsinger was born in Rochester, Pa., and graduated from Freedom High School in Freedom, Pa., in 1949. He worked various blue-collar jobs before joining the ministry.

Surviving are his wife, Darlene; sons, Donald, Melvin, and Robert; daughter, Gaylene Carpenter, brother Errol; sisters Ethel Beyer and Beverly Gould, and 10 grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Short Funeral Home. Services will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Bryan Church of the Nazarene.

The family suggests tributes to Bryan Church of the Nazarene.



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