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Warren M. Woolsey

Born: Sun., Apr. 2, 1922
Died: Sun., Dec. 24, 2017


5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Tue., Dec. 26, 2017
Location: Kopler - Williams Funeral Home

Funeral Service

11:00 AM Wed., Dec. 27, 2017
Location: Houghton Wesleyan Church

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Houghton --- Warren M. Woolsey of Houghton died Sunday, December 24, 2017 in the Absolute at Houghton Nursing Home. He was born on April 2, 1922 in Marion, Indiana, a son of the late Pierce and Mildred Morris Woolsey. On August 23, 1946 in Indian Falls he married Ella Phelps who survives.


As a young child Dr. Woolsey moved with his parents to Houghton, where he and his younger sister Martha (Wacker) grew up.  He attended Houghton College and became an Air Cadet in 1942.  He graduated in absentia in 1943 after he was called into training for active service in the Army Air Force. 


Following extensive training as a bombardier he traveled by Liberty ship to Naples, Italy, then by truck to Grotagglie Army Air base in southern Italy.  Assigned to the 15th Air Force, 449th Bomb Group, 717th Squadron, he and his crew flew in large formations of four-engine B-24 heavy bombers on 30 missions.  Their targets included southern Germany and German-occupied Austria, as well as the Po River valley in northern Italy.  A Christmas day 1944 mission over the Brenner Pass between Italy and Germany almost proved fatal to the whole crew when their aircraft was hit by heavy flak.


After V-E Day Dr. Woolsey and his crew flew their aging bomber back to the United States. Following his discharge from service in October 1945 he briefly attended Columbia University, then Princeton and Biblical Seminaries, on the G.I. Bill.  Along with his wife and partner in mission Ella he ministered in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky after graduating from seminary.  In 1950 they accepted a call to missionary service in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where they devoted themselves tirelessly to evangelism and Biblical education until 1966.  Dr. Woolsey was the first president of Sierra Leone Bible College, now the Evangelical College of Theology, near Freetown, Sierra Leone.


Upon his return to the United States with his family in 1966 Dr. Woolsey joined the faculty of Houghton College, where he taught highly regarded courses in New Testament and missiology until his retirement in 1992.  Generations of students described his classes as life-changing.  After retiring from Houghton College Dr. Woolsey taught for a year at Kingsley College in Melbourne, Australia.


Dr. Woolsey wrote Bible commentaries on First and Second Thessalonians, published by the Wesleyan Publishing House.  He was honored by the Houghton College Department of Religion and Philosophy with the establishment of the Woolsey Lecture series in Theology and Culture, an annual program featuring leading scholars exploring multiple connections between theology, mission, and global Christianity.


Surviving in addition to his wife are their children, Stephen (Linda) Woolsey of Rushford, Matthew (Barbara) Woolsey of Houghton, Ruth (Stephen) Strand of Buffalo, a daughter-in-law Kathleen Woolsey of Connecticut, eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.


In addition to his parents he was predeceased by a son, Daniel P. Woolsey on October 21, 2017 and a granddaughter, Molly Woolsey in 2016.


Family and friends may gather from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 26, 2017 at the Kopler-Williams Funeral Home, 21 N Genesee Street, Fillmore. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. in the Houghton Wesleyan Church. Rev. Dr. Wesley Oden will officiate. Burial will be in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Houghton.


Memorials if desired to: the Houghton Wesleyan Church, Global Partners, or the International Bible Society.

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Condolence Booklet

Kelvin Jones
   Posted Mon December 25, 2017
I was privileged to learn from Dr. Woolsey during my time at Houghton 1974-1976. I have been to two seminaries since and still consider him among the top three Bible teachers I ever had.

barbara farrow
   Posted Tue December 26, 2017
I had the privilege of being in Dr. Woolsey's classes as I was in the class of 74-78. I am praying for the family as we love his daughter Ruth Strand and her lovely husband. May God give you peace during this time.

James Wiggins
   Posted Tue December 26, 2017
I had the privilege of getting to know Warren and Ella when we're served in Sierra Leone as missionaries in the 1960's some of the most gracious and kind people I have ever known.
They were big encourages to us as new missionaries.
To me, Warren Woosley was a Gentle Giant of the the Christian Faith, a special missionary colleague and a warm-hearted brother. I am highly honored to believe he considered me his friend . He was my friend who will stay in our hearts and memories.

Jo-Anne O. Young
   Posted Thu December 28, 2017
Dr. Woolsey was the kind of professor whose very presence in the classroom made you hungry to walk closer to God in your faith. His courses on Early and Later Pauline Epistles and Life of Christ were favorites of mine. Lectures always ended too soon when the bell rang, leaving me hungry to know all the material in the notes he did not get to cover. Heaven welcomed home another of God's saints.

Colleen (Muckey) Richards
   Posted Thu December 28, 2017
I was in all of Dr. Woolsey's Missions and New Testament classes (77-79) and still have all of my notes and textbooks. He was so knowledgeable, but so kind and helpful as well. My prayers go out to his family.

Dave Brown
   Posted Thu December 28, 2017
Esteemed professor, advisor to those of us leading Houghton Foreign Missions Fellowship, personal counselor—and example to my wife and me who also served in missions for 25 years.
I appreciated his ability and willingness to listen, to ask insightful questions and to challenge by his life as well as his words. May the Lord comfort each of you family members and thank you for sharing your father, grandfather . . . With us!

Rev. Edward Crandall
   Posted Mon January 08, 2018
Mrs. Woolsey and family, Though I graduated from Houghton in 1960, I was privileged to have had Dr. Woolsey for the required ethics course which he taught, possibly when on a furlough from Wesleyan World Missions. He was an outstanding professor, an awesome thinker, and a very godly man. His impact on me included many exposures over the years, as I attendee Ministerial Institutes and even pastored briefly in his District. I wish I had gotten to visit with him in recent times, but Heaven gives us future opportunities!

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