Leslie Eugene Diestelkamp died Sept. 12, 1995, in Aurora, Illinois, having suffered a stroke December 19, 1994 from which he was unable to recover. He was born December 24, 1911, in Phelps County, Missouri, thus living 83 years, 8 months and 19 days. His mother died when he was three months old and from then on he was cared for by his grandparents and their daughter Amelia, not yet 16 years old. After his grandmother died and Amelia married Elmer Ferris, their home became his home and their children were like brother and sisters to him. He obeyed the gospel in August of 1925 after having walked with his grandfather the 20 miles to at-tend a meeting of the Oak Grove church near St. James, Missouri. He preached his first full sermon in August 1934 at Oak Grove, no doubt never realizing that that beginning effort would eventually take him to preaching on five continents and Canada, into most of the states and endear him to thousands as he preached the gospel of Christ whom he served so joyfully and hopefully.
Survivors include his wife of more than 19 years Myrtle, of Aurora, IL; two daughters and their husbands, Wanda (Mrs. James) Hodges, Temple Terrance, FL and Lavon (Mrs. Robert E.) Speer, Fox River Grove, IL, three sons and their wives, Karl (Delores Steen), Kenosha, WI, Al (Connie Hennecke), DeKalb, IL and Roy (Mary Sullivan), Thorold, Ontario, Canada; a sister, Nora Pruitt, St. Jamess MO; Ray (Charlene Raker) Ferris, Lockport, IL; Raymond and Velva (Ferris) Breuer, Hallsville, MO and Jack and Darlein (Ferris) Duncan, Dixon, MO; 20 grandchildren and their 17 spouses, 42 great grandchildren (if you include two in the womb – and we do). He was preceded in death by two grandchildren, Timothy and Violet Hodges and one great-grandchild, Ryan Diestelkamp.
On August 3, 1932, he married Sarah Alice Wright, his high school sweetheart. She was his faithful companion and co-laborer for 41 years when she died September 20, 1973. On May 1, 1976, he married Myrtle Benedict, a long-time family friend and sister in Christ in Milwaukee, Wisconsin who has been his faithful and loving companion. Al has written, “He was blessed to have known two wives whom he could `praise in the gates.’ Likewise, Dad’s children had both a loving birth-mother and a loving second-mother that we can “rise up and call blessed. I do not hesitate to speak for the rest of Dad’s family in expressing our appreciation and love to Myrtle. I am happy that even though none of his children were present when he died, that Myrtle was there, holding his hand, and that by God’s grace he was eased from the bosom of Myrtle to the bosom of Abraham.”
His widow will continue to live in their apartment just across the street from the Aurora meeting house and she may be written at: 1730 W. Galena Blvd., #102W, Aurora, IL 60506.
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: No. 23, p. 15
December 7, 1995