Lafe Ferrell Culver, of Troutdale, Oregon, was born on December 20, 1926 in Casper, Wyoming, to Lafe Elmer and Cathryn Rose Culver. He peacefully passed from this life on January 25, 2014 at the age of 87 years, one month, five days.
Lafe was the third of seven children and eldest son. He was preceded in death by his parents of Lusk, Wyoming, also his brother Denis of Rock Springs, Wyoming, and sisters Paula Malmborg of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Carmen Berta of St. George, Utah, and Fern Petersen of Lusk. He is survived by two brothers, Aaron, of Cheyenne, Wyoming and Tom, of Torrington, Wyoming, along with Anita, his beloved wife of 66 years.
After spending most of his early years in Rock Springs, Wyoming, Lafe’s family moved to Lusk, Wyoming. After graduation from Lusk High School in 1944, he enrolled at the University of Wyoming, but would soon leave college to enlist in the United States Navy. He saw active duty at the end of World War II aboard the USS Hancock, an aircraft carrier in the Pacific theatre.
After completing his U S Navy commitment in 1946, he returned to Wyoming, and for a short time resumed his studies at the University of Wyoming. In 1947 he went back to Lusk to help found Culver & Sons, an auto sales and service business.
On June 14, 1947, Lafe married Anita Jean Vargason in Lusk. On May 9, 1949, a daughter, Cathryn Carol (Koch) was born to the family. In 1962 the family was blessed with the addition of three adopted sons, Bart Lynn, Brett Lee, and Scott Ferrell.
In 1952 Lafe accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, a far-reaching decision. In 1954 he moved the family to Ottumwa, Iowa to attend Midwestern School of Evangelism and become a minister of the gospel. He graduated from MSE in 1958. Lafe served as minister for several churches in Iowa over a period of more than 40 years, including Abingdon, Centerville, Mark, Bloomfield, and Ottumwa.
In 1963 he became a part of the MSE faculty. He connected in life-changing ways with hundreds of young men and women during his more than two decades as a college professor. His lasting legacy included influencing thousands of people throughout the USA through evangelistic meetings, rallies, youth Bible camps, and Nationwide Roundup.
In 1997, Lafe and Anita moved from Ottumwa to Troutdale, Oregon to become Minister to Seniors and Pastoral Care at Crossroads Church in Portland. He continued in that capacity until his retirement at the age of 80 in 2007. At the time of his retirement, he had been in active ministry for a total of 53 years.
Throughout his life he enjoyed being outdoors in God’s great creation. He often returned to his beloved Wyoming to visit family and made many backpacking treks into the Wind River Range near Yellowstone. His love for photography meant he was never far from his cameras. He loved to sing at any moment and sang to and with Anita constantly.
He lived at home in Troutdale until his health made it necessary for him to enter an adult care facility in mid-2013. His mind remained active to the very end, as did his constant desire to introduce everyone around him to his Lord.
His surviving family includes his beloved wife, Anita, two brothers, Aaron and Tom, one daughter, Cathryn, three sons, Bart, Brett and Scott, 11 grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren. His lasting imprint will be felt forever by a multitude of ministry colleagues and friends.
A “Celebration of Life” service will be held Saturday, March 8, 11:00am at Crossroads Church; 2505 NE 102nd, Portland, OR. Military honors and interment will have been held at Willamette National Cemetery. Gresham Memorial Chapel has assisted with arrangements.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to one of the following:
Peace on Earth Ministries (P.O.E.M.) 2115 N. Main, Joplin, MO 64801
Sudan African Missions, P.O. Box P.O. Box 187, Gresham, OR 97030
Key Communications, P.O. Box 13620, Portland, OR 97213
For the complete article see the 02-05-2014 issue.
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