Pastor Dave Fowls

| July 8, 2021
On what would have been his 70th birthday, the family of Pastor Dave Fowls has decided to honor his memory with this tribute instead having a memorial service, which was previously announced.
On Dec. 9, 2020, Perry Chapel Church lost its beloved pastor of 41 years when he passed from this world to his heavenly home at Genesis Hospital in Zanesville. David Blaine Fowls (Pastor Dave) was born July 13, 1951, to the late Kenneth Blaine and Shirley Lupher Fowls in Mount Vernon, Ohio. He attended the University of Montana and later took courses through Moody Bible Institute and Southern Baptist Seminary Extension. Dave was an avid big game hunter and has several trophy mounts to show for it. His main interests were history (especially the Civil War), baseball, and Jesus.
David was a fifth generation member of Perry Chapel, having descended from the Wright-Rinehart-Lupher families, who were active members of Perry Chapel, dating back to the late 1800’s. Pastor Dave’s Grandmother, Annabelle Lupher, was pianist of Perry Chapel for many years and was eventually succeeded from his wife Judy who remains as a musician there.
Pastor Dave’s mother was the only daughter of Annabelle and Miles Wesley Lupher, Sr. Shirley and Annabelle greatly influenced Pastor Dave’s spiritual growth, as did his Uncle Tad (Shirley’s oldest brother and husband of Norma Lupher, secretary of Perry Chapel from 2003 until 2021.) Pastor Dave was the older brother of Carol Staats, who attends Perry Chapel, and Christina White, deceased. He and Judy Dunn met in 1978 and were married on July 21, 1979. Judy joined Dave in his singing ministry, which continued until the birth of their first daughter, Erin, in 1984. Daughter Jenna came along in 1989. Erin married Adam Stone in 2004 and further blessed Pastor Dave and Judy with two grandchildren – Ivy Adelyn (2016) and Xander Braddock (2017). Jenna and Tanner Simmons plan to be married in August 2021. In addition, he has two nephews, four nieces, and dear friends, Buddy and Kay Davis. He and Buddy were like brothers.
At the age of 12, Dave asked Jesus into his heart and started studying eschatology at age 15, carrying his Bible to school with him everyday. It was in his late teens that he reinstituted the Christmas Eve candlelight service at Perry Chapel after many years of not having one. After attending the University of Montana for one year, he and his best friend Buddy Davis spent a couple of years in Nashville, TN, where they were aspiring singers/songwriters. During that time, while attending a James Robison evangelistic crusade in Nashville with Kay Booth (who would later become Buddy’s wife), Dave felt God’s calling to preach. He also led the youth group for a few years. About that time, he began taking correspondence courses in theology and apologetics.
Dave began preaching an an interim pastor at Perry Chapel on Thanksgiving Sunday in 1979, in the old, lower building while also working as a substitute rural mail carrier out of Mount Vernon, beginning in 1980. The post office hired him full-time in 1984, and he became a “bi-vocational” pastor. On Sept. 22, 1985, he was ordained by the American Baptist Churches, U.S.A., upon recommendation of the Mohican Association. Pastor Dave continued to carry mail and pastor until 1998 when he “retired” from the USPS. On Jan. 18, 1998, he delivered his first message as Perry Chapel’s first time ever full-time pastor. As Perry Chapel grew, the building had to be added on to three times, until a separate, larger, building was built in 2003 to accommodate a congregation that had grown from 30 people to an average weekly attendance of 300.
Perry Chapel’s mission statement is based on Pastor Dave’s vision to “see people come to Christ and then grow in Christ.” He wanted to reach people in these “hills and hollows.” During Pastor Dave’s 41 years of pastoral leadership at Perry Chapel, his vision became a reality. This was done through his preaching/teaching from God’s Word. Sunday School (connection groups) for nursery through adult; Bible study (mixed, women’s, men’s); continuing youth group; supporting missions at home and abroad; and reaching out to the community through Upward Sports and other events. David Dodridge, member (now deceased) and a former pastor of Perry Chapel, nominated Pastor Dave for the Rosa O. Hall Town and Country Award, an American Baptist Churches, USA, award which honors pastors who evidence exceptional effectiveness in rural ministry. Pastor Dave was presented this award at the National Ministries Biennial Meeting of ABC – USA, held in Washington, D.C., on June 30, 2007.
Pastor Dave has left Perry Chapel with a legacy of growing God’s Kingdom through loving others and following God’s Word. May that legacy continue through whomever God has chosen to be his successor.
Pastor Dave’s graveside service was beautifully officiated by Pastor Chris Cutshall of Fresno Bible Church. Anyone who was unable to attend the graveside service may view it online by going to the obituaries on the Fischer Funeral Home website.

Category: Obituaries

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Article contributed to The Beacon.

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