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.