By James R. Cope
I first knew him as a student when I was teaching at Freed-Hardeman College at the end of World War II. He came to us from Kenton, Tennessee. He was in school to learn and he had a mind that was receptive to every good thought any of his teachers could present. His burning desire was to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Somehow an affinity developed between us that was held steadfast through almost fifty years. I doubt that the day has passed since we first met that he has not prayed for my good health and success in the Lord’s vineyard. This was the kind of character he was then and continues to be after almost five decades since we first met. He earnestly prayed for my welfare when I left Henderson and came to Temple Terrace, Florida, to assume the Presidency of what later came to be known as Florida College.
With time’s passing this able man moved to Florida. Time and experience had matured him greatly though he held the same devotion to the Lord and his cause I had known in him when he first enrolled in my classes as a youngster fresh out of Uncle Sam’s military. I never knew him to ignore any issue he considered germane to the cause of our Lord. A gentleman in every controversial situation, he was and is, nevertheless, a tiger in defense and proclamation of gospel truth.
A few years ago he moved to Palm River where he yet lives and labors with the brethren there. Tragedy of the rankest sort has recently invaded his home. His daughter, who lived with the Needhams, died suddenly in the early morning a few weeks ago. She left a young child which becomes the ward of the Needhams and upon whom they will bestow all the love and care possible to emanate from their big hearts.
Another brother has written in earlier issues about the tragedy to which I have referred. I want to add my word of encouragement to what he has said regarding the Needham’s situation. Both James and Maria are reluctant to mention their financial need and stress. The fact remains, however, that this faithful preaching servant and his wife need financial assistance. Furthermore, they need it now! James has been in and out of the hospital yet continues to “do the work of an evangelist” in the Palm River area as he is able.
The Needhams do not know I am making this appeal in their behalf. It is not amiss for brethren who have known this faithful man and wife to keep aware of their situation. Being aware on the one hand, however, and doing something about it on the other are two distinct situations. I plead with individuals and churches which have the ability to send any support to begin such support at once.
The address of the Palm River Road church with which brother James P. Needham labors is 8015 Palm River Road, Tampa, Florida 33619 and his home address is 106 Foxwood Drive, Brandon, Florida 33510. The Palm River church is not large in numbers and has “about all it can wiggle with.” I know “first hand” of matters I report here and plead with my brethren to respond to the needs of this faithful brother. He is worthy!
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 10, p. 15
May 19, 1994