Rev. Victor Irl Letbetter Jr. passed from this earth through Heaven’s gates on Thursday, January 31, 2002. Services will be 2:00 PM Saturday, February 2, 2002 at First Baptist Church, Okmulgee, OK under the direction of Kelley Funeral Home.
Victor Irl Letbetter Jr. was born November 19,1929 to Victor Irl Letbetter Sr. and Minnie Wright Letbetter at Pangburn, Arkansas. The third of four children, “Junior” overcame the early challenges of club feet and poor eyesight and learned about life by working on the family farm and being involved in community activities around Heber Springs, Arkansas.
Vic graduated from Cabot High School in 1949. Having accepted Christ at the age of fourteen, he surrendered to the ministry at a youth rally in the fall of 1949. After working to save money for admission, he began formal studies at Walnut Ridge Baptist College in 1950. He attended college about two and a half years until economic circumstances forced him to enter the job market. He was ordained to the ministry by Mt. Carmel Baptist Church at Cabot, Arkansas, his first pastorate.
In the 1950s he moved to Wichita, Kansas where most of his family soon followed. “Uncle June,” as his nieces and nephews now called him, worked at Boeing Aircraft as the first 727s were being built, served as pastor of First Baptist Church, South Haven and was deeply involved with his family. In 1959 he met Wynema Slover, having been “matched” and put together at a church meeting by mutual friends. Love soon followed and they were married Thanksgiving Day that same year, beginning a wonderful 42-year relationship.
Into their union were born two sons, Charles Irl in 1960 and Victor Leon in 1965. While being a pastor provided only a modest income at best, Victor loved being a father and poured everything he could into his sons’ lives, playing chauffeur to all their activities, suffering through countless hours of piano, trumpet and drum practicing, and making sure there was ample encouragement for whatever they might attempt.
Vic was thrilled to welcome the first daughter into the family, Penney Powell, when she married Charles in 1986. From heaven he looks forward to Martha Meador joining the family as Leon’s wife in May of this year.
“Bro. Vic” loved to preach God’s word and he was passionate about loving people. He took advantage of every opportunity to gain knowledge and improve his preaching skills, but it was his ability to understand and speak to the most basic needs of people that endeared him to most everyone he met. Some of the churches he pastored include:
Additionally, he was Director of Missions for Sans Bois Baptist Association in Oklahoma for 5 and a half years.
After losing most of his sight in 1990, he and Wynema retired to Okmulgee Baptist Village in 1992. While there he was thrilled to pastor Liberty Baptist Church in rural Morris, Oklahoma for five years. The greatest joy of the past ten years has been the birth of three grandsons to Charles and Penney, Zachariah Irl in 1992, Benjamin LaFayette in 1995 and Gabriel Josiah in 1998. Through all the difficulties and struggles of his later years, he always found a smile in talking to or hearing a story about his grandsons.
Vic is survived by his wife of 42 years, Wynema of the home, son Charles Irl and wife Penney of Acworth Georgia, Victor Leon and fiancé Martha of Fort Worth, Texas, three grandsons, Zachariah, Benjamin and Gabriel of Acworth, Georgia, one brother, Jonas (Joe) Letbetter and wife Joveta, several nieces and nephews and many, many friends.
While we may no longer have Vic to hug or his voice to cheer, the glorious fruits of his life will comfort and guide for many generations to come. He fought a good fight, he finished his course, he kept his faith.