|Mumphord Holland Kendall II
21 April 1909 - 22 April 1997
Stanly Co NC Madison Co NC
Mumphord Holland Kendall II was a professor of Religion and
Greek language at Mars Hill College for many years, including those
years when he was pastor of Piney Mountain Baptist Church and
Paint Fork Baptist Church, each of which he served half-time.
He was much appreciated for his dignified and scholarly manner,
both in the pulpit and at the classroom lectern. I had the good
fortune to know him in both capacities, as I grew up in Piney
Mountain Baptist Church and then attended Mars Hill College.
When I was ten years old, he baptized me, along with others, in Ivy
Creek. I still remember him preparing for the service by wading out
(wearing his baptism outfit of khaki pants, white shirt, and tie) to
probe the bottom with a long staff to be sure of good footing when
he immersed each of us in turn. He had a kind and gentle touch,
and his calm dignity made the occasion at once safe and sacred.
The congregation, gathered on the creek bank and spilling into the
gravel road which ran beside, sang "Shall We Gather at the River"
over and over again as the ceremony proceeded, as they had done
at baptism as long as anyone could remember.
At other times, he would visit my family for Sunday dinner, in the
usual rotation among members. Mother would do her best to
present a nice table, and he would always praise the food
graciously. On one of these occasions, Daddy offered him fireplace
wood from some large sycamore trees we were taking down and he
accepted with delight. There followed several unusual week-day
visits when he arrived dressed for labor and then wielded his ax
mightily to split the large sections of tree trunk. I was surprised to
see one known only as gentleman, scholar, and preacher do rough
physical work with such gusto; thus I came to see that he was not
so different from us, and I liked him all the more.
Later, when I attended Mars Hill College (at least partly through his
example and influence, no doubt), I studied the Bible course with
him, gaining deeper understanding of the ancient texts and greater
appreciation of his knowledge and wisdom, as he expounded on
the meaning of passages with reference to the original languages
and presented the scholarly background for the individual books.
It was a privilege to know him.
- Dwight Childers
16 October 2009
photo from Through the Long Years, Chapman,
Norton, and Smith, Editors, Mars Hill College, Mars
Hill, NC, 2006, p. 134.