By O.C. Birdwell and Mike Willis
On Sunday,. May 12 1985, brother Roy E. Cogdill attended both assemblies of the Fry Road congregation in Houston, Texas. During the afternoon, his four children called and visited with him by telephone. As he left the evening service, brother James Yates, a close personal friend and elder in the Fry Road church, helped him into the car. His last words to brother Yates were, “I love you.” He returned to his home and suffered a heart attack about 11:30 p.m. He died shortly thereafter.
Roy Edward Cogdill was born 24 April 1907 in Hobart Oklahoma. He died on 13 May 1985, being 78 years Q 21 days in age. He is survived by his wife Venita; four children-Martha Nell Davis, Pamela Ann Northcutt, John Mark and Phillip Roy Cogdill; two sisters — Ida Terral and Ethel Randolph; eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
His funeral was conducted Wednesday, IS May 1985, in the building of the Fry Road congregation in Houston, Texas. After a group sang “Others,” the obituary was read by Harold Fite, the local evangelist. This was followed by the singing of “Walk Beside Me,” an old favorite of brother Cogdill. His mother frequently sang it when brother Cogdill was growing up.
Brother Clinton Hamilton, from Florida, made several personal remarks about brother Cogdill’s fife. He met brother Cogdill while attending Freed-Hirdeman College when brother Cogdill, who was then about 35 years old, spoke on campus. They had remained close friends for 43 years Brother Hamilton related that he had asked his wife Margaret what brother Cogdill’s most outstanding character trait was. She emphasized that he was a cuing person who was tender in his emotions toward people. Brother Hamilton commented that though many have seen him as a man who would not compromise the word of truth, most were unaware of how tender brother Cogdill was.
Brother Hamilton also commented on brother Cogdill’s sermon delivery. His legal background enabled him to logically analyze the Scriptures and deal with the overall problem under discussion. His sermons contained spiritual meat and had power. He recalled especially his sermon on “The Trial of Jesus.”
Brother Cogdill’s sacrificial living was also mentioned., He sacrificed a successful law practice to be a gospel preacher. He gave of his personal possessions for the cause of Christ. He and his family made many sacrifices of time and personal comforts in order that the gospel might be preached. Trying to constrain his emotions, brother Hamilton closed by saying, “It was good that he was here.”
Brother Glenn Tomblin lead the congregation in singing “There Is A God.” Then, brother James Yates paid his final respects to brother Cogdill. He emphasized that brother Cogdill was such a good preacher because of his strong conscience, determination, natural ability, his mastery of the English language, and his faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. He commented that brother Cogdill loved and served the brethren, being willing to involve himself in any battle in which brethren had problems which needed to be solved.
He compared brother Cogdill to a lion where the truth of God’s word was at stake and then to a teddy bear when dealing with people. He emphasized that brother Cogdill had presented his life for the service of God. “He was not without his faults. He was a man whose faults were overlooked by those who loved him and exaggerated by those who did not,” brother Yates said. Speaking of their close personal friendship, brother Yates’ voice began to break. He was visibly touched by the loss of a close friend.
The congregation was lead in prayer and in the singing.. of “Precious Memories.” Then brother James W. Adams delivered a lesson based on 2 Timothy 4:1-8. He concentrated on the three figures of speech used in verses 6-8 to describe brother Cogdill:
1. He Fought A Good Fight. The comparison of the Christian to a soldier in battle emphasized the militancy of the gospel. He described brother Cogdill as a soldier ready to do battle for truth and added that neither he nor brother Cogdill made any apologies for being a soldier ready to do battle for truth.
2. He Finished His Course. This emphasized perseverance in serving the Lord. Brother Cogdill was a man who had perseverance of character. If he believed he was right and thought something should be done, he would not quit until it was done.
3. He Kept The Faith. This emphasizes that the gospel is something which has been entrusted to us and we are responsible for passing down to the next generation. Brother Cogdill had no room for one who was not faithful in keeping the faith; he wanted nothing to do with one who had a spirit of compromising the faith which had been entrusted to him by God. He felt that he should be a “keeper of orthodoxy” or “keeper of the faith,” and he was “set for the defense.”
Brother Adams pointed the family to the hope of the gospel-the hope of the resurrection of the body and the glorious entrance into the eternal kingdom where one can forever dwell in the presence of God. He reminded us, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2 Sam. 12:23).
After brother Adams concluded his remarks, brother Yates thanked those who came to the funeral, on behalf of the family, for their many kindnesses. As the people viewed the body of brother Cogdill for the last time, the group of singers comforted those in attendance by singing “Sun Of My Soul,” “Blest Be The Tie,” and several other familiar hymns.
Following the Houston service, brother Cogdill’s body was taken to Hobart, Oklahoma, the place of his birth, for interment on Thursday, 16 May 1985. Along with the family, brethren Fite, Yates, and Adams made the trip to Oklahoma for the service.
The Guardian of Truth is making arrangements for a special issue in loving memory and honor of brother Cogdill whose influence for good can be accurately measured only by God. Many of us have benefitted from his books The New Testament Church and Walking By Faith. We owe a debt to brother Cogdill, and many other preachers like him, who have passed down to us the gospel of Christ without addition or deletion. Because of this, we intend a future issue to be in his memory as soon as preparations can be completed.
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 11, pp. 328-329
June 6, 1985