Obituary of Samuel Bacon Barnitz

Extract from the proceedings of the 41st convention of the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran church, Baltimore, MD, with the obituary of Samuel Bacon Barnitz, Park Barnitz's father, dated June 3 to 11, 1903, published for the General Synod by the Lutheran Publication Society, Phildelphia, PA, 1903.


Although the health of the Board, its Secretaries, and the laborers in the field has been generally good, yet a number of homes have been visited by sickness and shadowed by death.

A few months after the convention at Des Moines, Iowa, on October 10th, 1901, David Park, the oldest son of our Western Secretary, Dr. Samuel B. Barnitz, was suddenly called to his eternal rest, at the age of twenty-four years. The bereavement was a very sore one, especially so to the father, whose health was somewhat impaired at the time, and called forth the warmest sympathy of the many friends of the afflicted family.

On the 12th of June, 1902, after a lingering illness of several months, Dr. Barnitz himself finished his course and entered into heavenly rest, at the age of sixty-two years.

Dr. Barnitz had devoted his entire life in the ministry of the Gospel to the cause of Home Missions. For nearly twenty years he labored with exemplary diligence and with excellent success as a missionary at Wheeling, W. Va. In the autumn of 1881, he was called to occupy the new position of Western Secretary of Home Missions, which had but recently been created by the Board, and which he filled with conspicuous faithfulness and efficiency to the time of his death, a period of nearly twenty-one years.

The seriousness of the loss of such a man to the cause he so devotedly served is best measured by the greatness of his influence and achievements. The record of these is a large portion of the history of our mission work beyond the Mississippi River. During all that time he was under God a controlling and directing force in that work. He was possessed of an unusual faculty for stimulating interest and arousing enthusiasm in behalf of the cause he represented. His commanding presence was the fit expansion of his large heart and generous sympathies. His trumpet-like voice was the adequate instrument of an enthusiastic advocate and intrepid leader. He made the church ring with the note of his appeals, and he made his place larger and mightier by the vigor and energy with which he filled it. His freshness of speech, his attractive mode of address, his courage and hope amid discouragements, pre-eminently designated him as the man for his place and work. He had an ear for every plea, and if not a gift, then a helpful and cheering word for every claim. Men, women, and children, a great multitude, knew him and loved him. Such a personality is not easily forgotten; the fact and influence of such a work will be projected into the future generations. In that quick oblivion which in these days buries men, great and small, so swiftly out of sight, the Board claims the privilege of placing this brief tribute on record in loving appreciation of the friend and fellow-worker whom it has lost.

Rev. Samuel B. Barnitz, D. D.

The following resolutions were adopted by a rising vote:

Whereas, God in His all-wise and Fatherly providence has called to Himself His servant and our fellow-laborer, Samuel Bacon Barnitz:

Resolved, That, whilst we deplore our great loss and whilst we bow in humble submission to the will of our heavenly Father, we are profoundly grateful to God that He gave to us a man like Samuel Bacon Barnitz, Pauline in character, breadth of view, energy of activity, and devotion to the Master, to be our Western Secretary of Home Missions for twenty-one years, and tender Him most hearty thanks for what His servant accomplished.

Resolved, That we record our appreciation of his conspicuous faithfulness and efficiency, and approve the words of commendation which the Board has embodied in its report as voicing the conviction of this body.

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