Benjamin Huddle

Benjamin Paul "Paul" Huddle Sr.

Tuesday, November 21st, 1916 - Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
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Rev. Dr. Benjamin Paul Huddle died on 28 October 2020 at the age of 103, in Roanoke, Virginia.

Paul was born on 21 November 1916 in Irmo, South Carolina. He was the third son of Rev. Marion David Huddle and Mary Belle Rosenbaum Huddle. He grew up in South Carolina, Mississippi and Rural Retreat, Virginia. He graduated from Lenoir Rhyne College (now Lenoir-Rhyne University) with a B.A. degree, and later was awarded an honorary D.D. degree from that institution. After attending the Lutheran Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina he was ordained as a Lutheran minister in Richmond, Virginia on 28 July 1940.

On 25 August 1940 he married Martha Conrad Bame, the youngest daughter of Rev. P. J. Bame and Vallie Barnhart Bame. Martha also attended Lenoir Rhyne College. Paul and Martha were called to be missionaries to Japan, and left shortly after their marriage, arriving in Tokyo on 12 October 1940. While on board ship they received advice from the U. S. government to leave Japan as soon as possible, and went instead to India. Their oldest son Benjamin P. Huddle, Jr was born in Ootacamund, India in May 1941.

Thinking he wanted to support his country in World War II, Paul left India in 1943 with his wife and son and returned to Virginia. Martha, son Ben, and daughter Patricia Anne Huddle (born in 1944 in Staunton) lived with Martha’s parents in Mount Sidney, Virginia during the war years, while Paul served as a chaplain in the U. S. Army. Paul served in the Pacific Theater, and was aboard one of the ships assigned to invade Japan at the time of the surrender and end of the War. After the War he joined the Army reserves, serving 29 years and rising to the rank of Colonel.

Preparing to return to Japan, Paul and Martha studied in Chicago and in Berkeley, California. They returned to Japan as Lutheran missionaries in 1948, establishing a church in Kyoto, originally in their home and then in a new church building, which still exists. Sons Frederick Henry Huddle (1950) and James Robert Huddle (1952) were born in Kyoto. In 1954 Paul was called to teach at the Japan Lutheran College and Seminary in Tokyo, and spent two years earning a doctorate in church history at Temple University, writing a thesis on the history of the Lutheran Church in Japan. Son Charles Edward Huddle was born in Philadelphia in 1955. Now a family of seven, they returned to Tokyo in 1956, where Paul spent 14 years teaching, writing, evangelizing, and fulfilling all the duties of a foreign missionary. One of those duties was to mentor his Japanese successor.

In 1970 Paul and Martha moved to Frankfurt, Germany, where Paul was called to be the pastor of an English-speaking Lutheran church, as well as the Lutheran chaplain for military bases in Europe, north Africa, and Asia Minor. Paul and Martha travelled thousands of miles bringing Word and Sacraments to people in ten countries in three continents.

By now empty-nesters, Paul and Martha returned to Teaneck, New Jersey, in 1976, where Paul served as President of Luther College. They then moved to Shelbyville, Tennessee, where Paul served as Pastor for two small Lutheran churches. Paul was diagnosed with lung cancer, and had half of a lung removed, accelerating his “retirement” in 1983 and move to Alexandria, Virginia. Paul continued to serve as supply pastor for many congregations in northern Virginia. In 1985 Paul and Martha went to Seoul, Korea, where Paul served as Interim Pastor of the International Lutheran Church, jointly sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church.

Paul and Martha moved to Brandon Oaks Retirement Center in Roanoke, Virginia in 1996. Oldest son Ben taught Chemistry at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, about a fifteen-minute drive away, for 53 years. Paul continued to conduct worship services and preach at local churches until his health would not allow him to continue. Martha died at Brandon Oaks in 2002 and is buried in the cemetery of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Rural Retreat, Virginia.

Paul and Martha Huddle’s children continue to live all over the country. Ben is in Salem, Virginia, Pat is in Bellevue, Washington, Fred is in Tacoma, Washington, Jim is in North Topsail Island, North Carolina, and Ed is in Aurora, Colorado.
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Service Details

  • Interment

    St. Paul Lutheran Church Cemetery
    331 St. Paul Church Road
    Crockett, Virginia 24323
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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