Revised February 22, 2018
1937-38: Visit to Wm. Irvine by George Linn and Percy Abbott
1940-41: Irvine Diagnosed with Cancer
1943: Willie Edwards is Excommunicated
1947: Death of Wm. Irvine
Life as Experienced by Omega Message Followers
1952: Death of Wm. Irvine's Son
Go to: Collection of Letters by Wm. Irvine
1937-38: GEORGE LINN and PERCY ABBOTT VISIT WM. IRVINE - George and Percy were Workers who followed Wm. Irvine when he was ousted and became Omega Message followers. George lived in Vancouver, B.C., Canada and Percy was a chiropractor from Eureka, California. Early in 1937, Geo. Linn decided God had selected him to be the "Apostle John,” expected by Irvine to return soon from heaven. Irvine believed he and John were to be the two witness in Rev. 11. Irvine wrote: "You can be quite sure I will never be in California, or out of Palestine til I go up with John when my work is finished as in Rev 11" (Letter to Mrs. Weis, Dec. 14, 1934*).
Irvine could not have been more displeased with George Linn for presuming he was to take John’s place. He warned George he was full of deceit and conceit and needed to repent, but George did not heed his warning. Upon hearing about the two men’s plans to travel to Jerusalem, Irvine wrote: “George Linn writes me about coming here to be my companion, John. Surely, he has fallen into the soup, for he or any other man of the earth, either to aspire or presume to be John from Heaven could only have such inspiration from the old Serpent the Devil and Satan. John is the most honored man in Heaven...after 66 years of apostolic service Jesus told him he was not to be a martyr till Jesus’ second coming....” (letter to Fladungs, Sept. 30, 1937 ).
On August 27, 1938, George Linn appeared in Jerusalem, accompanied by Percy Abbott. On their way to Jerusalem, they visited Irvine’s sisters in Scotland, who gave them some photographs to give to their brother, Wm., whom they had not seen or heard from for some time and feared was dead. The two men also met with Geo. Walker who was in Kilsyth at Wm. Sinclair/St. Clair's home. They had no physical address for Irvine, so they waited for him at the post office where he picked up his mail. However, when they met, Irvine would have nothing to do with them.
“George came up and put his arm around me and said, 'You are Wm, Irvine; I am George Linn.' I said you have made an awful mistake and no hope for you, and to let me alone and not to trouble me. Then he wanted to give me my sisters' photos and I refused it, so then he said they thought I was dead....Next time George came slipping up behind me...followed me out of the Post Office to walk with me, and I sent him to Hell and called him a damned fool and turned off. The last time I saw him in Post Office, I told him to go home" (letter to Edwards, Jan. 5, 1939).However, George had no home to which he could return, for he had deeded his home to a daughter. George also had a bad heart and was living on borrowed time. About four months after George had arrived in Jerusalem, Irvine wrote: "George Linn died in Hospital at 1:30 P.M. on Dec. 30th....I had phone call telling of his death...Percy went home three weeks ago" (letter to Edwards, Dec. 31, 1938). "He died in Hospital so there was no need for inquest; was buried on Mt. Zion at 2:30 on Dec. 31st; Police guard of eight in a truck, four standing up on either side of coffin draped in the British flag. Government took charge of his effects and money in Bank....Next and last time [I saw him] was when he was laid in the grave and the Presbyterian Minister reading out of the Prayer Book and saying 'Dust to dust'... twelve Police looking on and the man who had been his roommate" (letter to Edwards, Jan. 5, 1939). In less than ten years, Wm. Irvine would be buried in the same cemetery.
1940-41: IRVINE DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER - Irvine was diagnosed with cancer of the mouth around 1940-41, for Mr. Coussin wrote that “Mr. Irvine had cancer of the mouth, which had been slowly working on him for about six years, and for which he took treatment at the Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem....They even offered to take him and make him comfortable during his last days, but he steadfastly refused and told me that his trysting place was where he resided. His illness progressed rapidly in the last two or three weeks and this coupled with his venerable 84 years took him away from us on Sunday the 9th March, 1947” (letter to Mrs. Westlund, May 28, 1947). There is no indication in any of his hundreds of letters to his Followers that he was being treated for cancer.
About the time Irvine was taking cancer treatments, he began expressing a very dim view of marriage and family life. “Sons of God and fair women and nice families, eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage is all vanity and dust. God wants a family with His name and nature, and all short of that only ends in dust to dust” (letter to Ellen Pincetl and Hans Sutter, Dec. 27, 1944 ). “Home, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, wives, children and property - what men love most are the dust pile which clings and clogs any attempt to go forth as He did and taught others to do” (letter to Southworths, Oct. 27, 1944).
1943: IRVINE 'S DISPLEASURE WITH WM. EDWARDS. was a Worker in the Early Days who professed in 1904 in Ireland. He left the work and married Rose Lerch in 1916. He and Robert (Bob) Skerritt were the first two from the Testimony sect to let Wm. Irvine know they were on his side. Robert Skerritt became a Testimony Worker in 1902. Rose first heard Irvine in 1907 in Chicago. In the early 1940s, Willie Edwards was Irvine's right hand man. He was highly trusted by Irvine, and later he distributed Irvine's letters far and wide for him for years.
In 1943, Irvine believed the time had come for the unsealing of the Message to the world. He wrote: "...such great need in unsealing the words of the prophecy of Revelation, surely you have a wonderful opportunity and message if six of you can and will go forth as He [Jesus]and company did….My heart will be greatly rejoiced to hear that you have purposed to give Him a chance to lead you as He was led and led the disciples into giving deliverance to many by their apostolic ministry” (letter to Edwards, Sept. 26, 1943). He wanted six of his Followers to go out and witness the Omega Message, in a similar manner to that of the Testimony Workers early in the century.
Irvine was not very explicit about the manner in which he wanted the witnessing to be done, and there was a misunderstanding. Some Followers, including W. Edwards, sold their homes and with their families, travelled about witnessing while living in house trailers. Bob Skerritt left his wife at home with the children while he went out witnessing with another Follower. Irvine strenuously objected. "W. E. and Co. started out with car and trailer, with wife and even some children. Only Bob and Minnie [Skerritt] made any sign to know how it should be done.." .(letter to Nobles, Mar. 3, 1944; letter to Edwards, July 18, 1944). "So cars, trailers and wife and children with the Apostle seems like a comedy or joke when we read the new Testament; no matter what excuse we may seem to have…Bob Skerritt at least showed he had fear of His name in what he did in refusing Minnie, who was left as a guide to other wives...” (letter to Edwards, Mar. 28, 1944). “Taking wives out to do apostolic work and leaving the children seems a very flagrant mistake, and a wife can in her home and around her home, do very valuable apostolic work, such as Minnie has been doing, which gave me great pleasure and joy. Taking a home on wheels and a car, seems also a dangerous provision" (letter to Edwards, Feb. 7, 1944). Irvine retracted his desire that some of his Followers go into the world witnessing, while he waited for more light on the matter.
Much of the content of his letters written in 1944 relate to the details of this misunderstanding:
Wm. Irvine’s letter to Wm. Edwards dated Mar. 28, 1944 and May 18, 1944.
W. Edwards' letter to Wm. Irvine dated Apr. 29, 1944 (replying to March 28, 1944 letter).
For more details about Willie and Rose Edwards, see Chapter 25.
Reportedly, Willie Edwards started writing and distributing his own letters, arranging marriages and divorces, and perhaps attempting to become the American leader of the Omega Message. When this came to Wm. Irvine's attention, he wrote Edwards some scathing letters to stop what he was doing. He also notified others that Edwards no longer had Irvine’s approval: "Thanks for yours and many others which shows that Edwards and Co., have reached the end of their delusion as you can see in Rev. 11…You saw Percy and George, and how it ended; and now Willie, Minnie and Co. revealed in their unjust treatment of Bob [Skerritt], and many others in scandalizing and persecuting...” (letter to Fladungs, June 12, 1945). “I remember Willie and Minnie got the little I had in 1919, and have got all the help I could give by letter. But since they went to Montana, I have noticed injustice and scandal... and I saw it increase in place of benefiting by my warning and guidance. At Easter, when I got letters from many encouraged by Willie and Minnie, I saw it had come to the crisis” (letter to Bob Skerritt, June 18, 1945).
About this time, it
seems Wm. Irvine and W. Edwards parted ways permanently
as no more letters have surfaced after mid-1945 written by Wm. Irvine to Willie
vice versa. W. Edwards and his second wife divorced within a year their marriage and he went to Denver. For the two remaining years of his life, Irvine
began to write letters again to particular Followers.
1946, JANUARY - IRVINE NOBLE: An English soldier, Irvine Noble, was stationed in Palestine in 1946. His parents were Omega followers, Walter Noble, who had been an Alpha Worker, and Ruth (Gerow) Noble. Soldier Irvine Noble was the last known Omega Follower to see William Irvine alive. “I had Irvine Noble for half a day and with a companion, and enjoyed them” (letter to Everitts, Jan. 6, 1946). Lew Fountain wrote: “W.I. at that time, knowing that the cancer...was terminal made the young soldier swear that he would tell no one...of his condition and approaching death. Now this information all came to us shortly after W.I.’s death" (letter to Dear Friends, July 5, 1998 ). Soldier Irvine Noble wrote an article regarding Wm. Irvine's death that was published in The Sunday (Palestine) Post (now The Jerusalem Post) on March 16, 1947, which was reprinted in the Impartial Reporter.
1947, MARCH 9 : DEATH OF WM IRVINE - Irvine signed his last Will and Testament on January 27, 1947, about six weeks before his death. He died in the Almasie Hotel in Jerusalem, aged 84, from throat cancer. His will provided that "All funeral arrangements and last sacred rites to be arranged by my beloved friend Mr. Thomas Coussin, who will see to all matters in this respect and charge the expenses incurred to the estate." His Obituary in The Palestine Post, on Monday, March 10, 1947, stated:
"A well known figure in Jerusalem passed away with the death yesterday after a long illness, of Mr. William Irvine of Kilsyth, Scotland. Mr. Irvine died in his 84th year after having resided in Palestine since 1919, where he came in pursuit of his beliefs. He will be remembered by many who knew him as the kindly old white-haired gentleman seen on his daily walk between the Post Office and the Old City walls. He died with the full faith of better things to come. The interment will take place at the Zion Cemetery at 2:30 p.m. today."
The last few months of 1946, Irvine ceased to write letters to his Followers. When they had not heard from him in some time, Orris Mills sent a telegram to the Jerusalem police. In a letter dated March 17, 1947, Thomas Coussin conveyed the news of Irvine’s death. Mr. Coussin, a civil servant employed at the Jerusalem Police Headquarters, had known Irvine for 20 years. He wrote:
“I am indeed sorry to have to convey to you the sad news that Mr. Wm.
Irvine passed away on Sunday, 9th March, 1947. You were no doubt aware that
he had been ailing for the past six years. He had nevertheless been able to
get about in the ordinary way, and it was only in recent months that his condition
worsened and he was not able to leave his hotel. He took to his bed towards
the end of February, where he remained until he left us peacefully, at approximately
11:50 hours a week ago yesterday….At the beginning of November, when he
began to feel really ill he sent for me, since when I had been with him almost
every day until he passed away.….I am enclosing a list of the addresses of letters to the U.S.A. that have so far been returned, and I would ask you Mr. Mills to pass the news around" (letter, March 17, 1947).
FUNERAL & BURIAL: William Irvine was buried in Zion Cemetery in Jerusalem, Israel on March 10, 1947, one day after his death. Mr. Coussin arranged Irvine’s funeral: “William entrusted me with the last rites....it may give you peace to learn that his coffin draped with the Union Jack was conveyed to Mount Zion in one of our Police tenders with six stalwart British Constables acting as pall bearers. It was indeed an impressive cortege with all the honors he so richly deserved....The funeral took place at 2 P.M. on the 10th March, 1947, on a bright warm Sunday afternoon” (letter, April 22, 1947).
Presently, there is no tombstone for Irvine's grave. Newspaper reports and cemetery records confirm Mt. Zion Cemetery was his burial location. Mr. George Giacumakis, Executive Director/Dean of The Institute of Holy Land Studies, Jerusalem, Israel wrote:
"Checking the cemetery records and the tombstone listings,
we found a Mr. Wm. Irvine (no middle initial) who was buried on 10
March 1947. He either died that day or the day before since they
do not embalm in this country. In all probability his death was
day before to give them time for the digging of the grave.
his name does not appear in our tombstone records, since only those
actual tombstones are standing today are listed. During the 1948
War and the period of time that the cemetery was in "no-man's land"
destruction took place. We do have a number of unmarked graves in
the cemetery in which he, no doubt, is buried" (letter, July 6, 1984*).
Wm. Irvine's Death and Burial Certificate No. 463 dated Sept. 12, 1991, was certified by The Jerusalem Diocese of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, where such records are maintained. Link to Find-A-Grave Death Record for Wm. Irvine.
According to Doug Parker, Irvine's son, Archibald Irvine, was informed of his father's death by a New Zealand Testimony Worker, Mr. Beattie, and by Mrs. Slater from Kilsyth.
Mrs. Slater was probably Margaret Clelland Slater, wife of Robert Slater, the daughter of one of Irvine's surviving sisters, Helen (Nellie) Irvine Clelland. Irvine's son was not mentioned in his Will.
Irvine's Will provided "All funeral arrangements and last sacred rites to be arranged by my beloved friend Mr. Thomas Coussin, who will see to all matters in this respect and charge the expenses incurred to the estate." He didn’t leave explicit instructions regarding his funeral. The British Military buried Irvine in a service held by a chaplain with the British Flag waving. On the other hand, burials of Omega Followers were usually carried out as described by Willie Edwards: "I looked after things at...Mrs. Skerritt's funeral. There was no Undertaker at the latter, so just ordered the casket and said it was going to be a private funeral and no ceremony of any kind to take place at a certain time...We had no speaking, singing or prayer at either the house or cemetery" (letter to Frank Fountain, June 27, 1937*).
DISBURSEMENT OF IRVINE'S POSSESSIONS: Mr. Coussin wrote: “William left a properly drawn up will in which, after making a few personal bequests, willed some £2,000 to named hospitals and charities, and the residue, which will be in the region of approximately £1,000 to the poor....He left no writings” (letters from Thomas Coussin). The personal bequests were to his two surviving sisters: Mrs. Nellie Clelland, Kirkintilloch, Scotland and Mrs. Jennie Clelland, Victoria, Monmouthshire, S. Wales. However, this does not agree with the Will details in Parkers' book, who may not have had a copy of Irvine's Will. The total monetary value of Irvine's Estate amounted to £ 1,410.5.11.
Irvine's sister consented for Mr. Coussin to send Orris Mills small personal articles of Irvine which he had requested. Mr. Coussin wrote: “The main package will be enclosed in an old cigar box that Wm. used to keep his unanswered letters in, as well as some snap shots. In the bottom you will find his own original list of correspondents and some photographs and snaps of himself and some of his friends….The contents of the box, apart from the snaps are: Cigarette holder (filigree); Magnifying glass, small (in case); Magnifying glass (composite handle); Fountain pens (2); Watch pocket (Genie metal); Whistle Blast; Change Purse (old); Note Wallet (new). The two other packages will comprise the Bibles, one together with a book on ‘Life Chemistry’” (letters from Thomas Coussin). Omega Followers have passed these personal items of Wm. Irvine down in their families, and today they are in the possession of a/some Omega Message Followers in California.
1947 Newspaper articles about Death of William Irvine (March 9, 1947)
1947: AFTER WM. IRVINE’S DEATH - “He was NOT supposed to die!!" Things changed for the Omega Message Followers after Irvine's demise. His death came as quite a shock to them. They had expected Irvine and the Apostle John to be the two witnesses in Revevelation 11 who would be put to death, and afterwards, return to life and ascend to heaven. Irvine's unexpected death forced them to re-evaluate their confidence in his claim to be a prophet of God, as well as his claim to be one of the two witnesses in Rev. 11, and also his Biblical interpretations. Some lost faith in him and left. Others found a way to reconcile his death and retain their confidence and continue: "Wm. never said he was NOT going to die." When current Followers are questioned about Irvine's death, they usually indicate both Irvine and John will be resurrected. Lew Fountain wrote:
“As for the Message people, after March 3, 1947, well it was much the same…The people were more relaxed. Many young people were getting married, and not feeling guilty about doing it. Also they were building their homes. One person remarked how they used to enjoy singing some of the old church hymns in secret, but now they felt it was alright, now that Wm. Irvine was dead. They did not feel guilty. Many little things gave the signal that the 'TRANCE' was somewhat over. In this year 1998, over 50 years later, I am quite sure, that those of you who profess to follow W.I. very faithfully...it is only kind of a quasi-sort of following him, not even a shadow of what he would have required over 50 years ago” (letter to Dear Friends, July 5, 1998).
The Frank Fountain family from Saskatchewan, Canada was converted around 1927 through an Omega Follower. Irvine wrote them a royal welcome letter. An Omega Follower spent two months in their home indoctrinating them, which set the course for the spiritual life of Mr. & Mrs. Fountain, their two daughters and a son, Lew, who was the youngest child. Lew wrote:
"We had joined with Irvine and were trying so hard to faithfully follow him with all our heart. Here I was, a young lad at a very impressionable age, very sincere and sensitive about doing the right thing in my spiritual life. At the same time, we have all these letters from this man, written from Jerusalem, Palestine. This really was something! My! The Holy Land where Christ was born. It fed my imagination. But at the same time--all these letters received if not weekly, certainly monthly, with all his prophecy of gloom and doom. We were all kept sitting on the edge of our chair, wondering what ‘this wonderful prophet’ was going to have revealed to him next.…
“Keep in mind, these were terrifying words, falling on the ears of a young lad 7 to 17 years old, who had no other yardstick to measure it by…the only way we would be able to ‘get inside the door’ or be saved was to read these letters of his, obey everything he said (he wrote thousands of letters), and if we followed him closely, did this and much more, maybe just maybe, we would make it, or be saved from the wrath to come. I can remember as a lad in the late 1930s suffering great anguish, about whether I would have a chance…
“All the time….I only had a vague idea what his ‘Omega Message’ was all about. We were all so concerned about pleasing him (W.I.)....We all gained or lost his ‘well done’ by how well each of us could feign keen interest in every word he wrote! We were like ‘puppets on a string’….This is the way I spent my early years--from about 1927--1945…I was just blindly following them. As for Father and Mother--well they were just like putty in W.I.’s hands. He had convinced (brainwashed them) them that he was ‘This Great Prophet,’ and he could do no wrong.”
While Irvine was alive, the Omega Followers lived in fearful uncertainty about the future. Lew called it “The Everlasting Frenzy.” All his Followers were looking for the Apostle John to return at any moment. They wrote: “How near to John’s arrival we are…Every tick of the clock brings John nearer…we were in hope that John might come at Easter…Don’t expect the time will be long till John comes. Only a few more days to Armistice, and we have felt for a long time that we can’t plan far ahead."
They lived their lives as though the Day of God’s Wrath was arriving next week or next month. Lew wrote: “Irvine kept it at fever pitch. It was going to happen soon. ‘The first WOE has sounded--the second and the third are about to…The days of trimming our lamps is over and the great judgment is about to begin,’ and on it went. The squirrel wheel that never stopped turning.”
Lew pointed out that some things Irvine had prophesied 100 years ago that would take place SOON haven’t happened yet. Lew recalled other failed prophecies. In the case of the worldwide drought and famine, he prophesied it would come on August 1, 1919 and his prophecy failed. Irvine wrote: "…for this time next year, when John will have come" (letter to Fountains, Aug. 2, 1930). “...seven years will bring us to his coming with Jesus to reign” (letter to Gordons, June 21, 1945). Lew wrote: “John is NOT going to return like W.I. said. The only one who will return, according to the promise is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This could happen very soon. This is what true Christians believe.…Even in Bible times there were a great many false prophets. This is why the people were asking how to know the false from the true (Deut.18:20-22). Now it's still the same in recent times, or in the last two or three hundred years. In a word, "If it does not come to pass---the prophet is not of God. I don't think anyone can stretch their imagination enough to state that anything Wm. Irvine has prophesied has come to pass."
In 1925, the Fountains family returned to their farm in Saskatchewan. They had a few good crops before a drought started that lasted most of 1930. In the fall of 1929, Mr. Fountain took out a loan on the farm on the strength of having two carloads of wheat which he would soon sell and repay the loan. However, this was not how it turned out. Things were happening very fast in those last months of 1929. The stock market had crashed and prices of everything went down. Mr. Fountain wrote his personal prophet, Wm. Irvine, about the loan-and-wheat affair. Irvine “prophesied” saying, "Hold your carloads of wheat--the price will go up.” Instead, the price of wheat hit rock bottom and the Fountains ended up losing both carloads of wheat and their 480 acre farm as well. Lew wrote: “Now this just shows how W.I. had my Father and Mother hypnotized.” Such was Irvine's hold over his Followers that even then the Fountains didn’t lose their faith in him.
Irvine’s Followers worshipped him and his letters. Willie Edwards reverently wrote: "We have only just tasted of the big feast prepared for us by the Man who alone has been worthy to see and say what no other has ever been able to say, because no other has ever suffered or paid the price which he has, therefore God has exalted him above all others and has kept that place reserved for him all these ages" (W. Edwards letter to Fountains May 17, 1936*).
November 11, 1918, was Armistice Day—the Day World War I ended. The anniversary date of November 11 figured prominently in Wm. Irvine's prophecies. He believed Revelation 9:15 spoke of the 11th hour of the 11th day of 11th year from Armistice (Jan. 28, 1928 letter to Friends*). He looked forward to November 11 each year with great anticipation. He wrote: "Is this the great day we have been looking forward to so long?" (letter to Dunbars, Nov. 11, 1936). He wrote: “…the 3 woes. The 1st of which began at the Armistice and is still going on all over the world, as outlined in Revelation 9:1-12" (letter to Skerritts, Sept. 3, 1922). Lew wrote: “…my mother was always holding her breath or expecting some great thing to happen when November 11th rolled around.”
Irvine’s ideas affected people lives irrevocably. Some took his advice regarding financial matters which proved to be a catastrophe for them, as it did for the Fountains. Most Omega Followers did not seek higher education or provide for their old age. Some chose not to have children, because of the warning Irvine stressed in Luke 21:23: “But woe unto them that are with child.” He expected very hard times to arrive shortly, including a worldwide famine and drought, and he thought it better that children were not born to suffer through this period. Therefore, his Followers did not multiply significantly and have nearly died out. Lew Fountain had been a faithful Omega Message for 16 years when he decided to leave:
“When I officially departed from Wm. Irvine’s so-called ‘Omega Message’ in early 1946, I already had sufficient evidence to establish in my mind that he was nothing more than a first-class, run of the mill, garden variety, false prophet. I was then just 25 years old, had followed him faithfully for about 16 years….At that time I had certainly given him the benefit of the doubt….I had chosen to not marry, had really lived what he preached…had not committed fornication, had not what is called a ‘checkered past,’ had lived quite a frugal life.
“Some 52 years have past now, and I have become well established in what true Christianity is all about. I know where I am going in my spiritual life…my departure from W.I. has cost me a great deal. Whereas if the four remaining members of our family 50 years ago had collectively departed from his Message… then our lives would be much different today.
“My mind also remembers very vividly, the way my Mother suffered, certainly from the cancer, but also as much from his never ending prophecies--the confusion and anxiety that tortured her mind. Plus all his false teaching. As you will remember John was supposed to return from heaven. Now he [Wm. Irvine] taught that all who were sick and ailing, this would give the signal that all would be healed. This was torture of the kind that words can not describe….My Mother died 61 years ago. There is still no 'John from Heaven;' also no worldwide drought….In the past 50+ years, I have thought how nice it would have been for my Mother to have died like real Christians die, to know where you are going, to a prepared place, for a prepared people—Heaven!”
"He [Lew's father] had followed W.I. just about half of his life….However, the last 15 years of his life he was full of doubts about 'this great prophet?'… one day he visited me alone, and just out of the blue he says these words to me, ‘You were right, Lew, about Wm. Irvine and his Followers being wrong!!’ To this day I can't tell you if I made a reply, or if these few spontaneous words would constitute a true conversion. However, I do value these words from my Father, and I'm sure he meant what he said.”
On March 8, 2010, Lew Fountain passed away in his sleep. His funeral was held March 15, 2011, at the Island Gospel Church, Burns Lake, BC, Canada. Lew's father died in 1963, aged 82. Lew's mother, who died in 1937, and one of his sisters remained Omega Followers til their deaths.
The quotes above are from letters written by Lew Fountain on July 5, 1998, to Dear Friends and Apr. 25, 2001, letter to the Author. Click Here to read the two letters by Lew Fountain and Ex-Message Person, Pat C.
1951, JUNE 3: DEATH OF WILLIE GILL, aged 88. Willie Gill's funeral service was held in West Hanney, England. Willie, his sister Emma and some other Workers are buried
in West Hanney in a graveyard surrounding a church located five minutes walk from the Convention grounds at Oxfordshire (aka Berks), England.
He was the overseer of England (and possibly of all Europe) and was replaced by Jack Forbes. View Gill Family Tree.
1952, JUNE 14: DEATH OF WM. IRVINE'S SON -The Obituary of Rev. Archibald (Archie) Grassam Irvine was printed in The Press (Christchurch, NZ) on June 16, 1952, stated:
"The death occurred in Christchurch, on Saturday morning of the Rev. A. G. Irvine, for nine years a Presbyterian minister at Ashburton. He was aged 66. Mr. Irvine came to New Zealand from Glasgow in 1900, when he was aged 14, and received a business training with the Union Steam Ship Company. He was at this period keenly interested in the work of the Y.M.C.A. and the Sailor's Rest. He later studied at the University of Otago, where he took the degree of Master of Arts and began his training for the Presbyterian ministry. In the First World War he served with the New Zealand Army as a chaplain. After the war he was a minister in North Otago for eight years, in Ashburton for nine years, and in Hawera for 18 years. Two years ago he retired to Christchurch, where he maintained his interest in church affairs, assisting at St. Stephen's Church at Bryndwr. Mr. Irvine was very popular with young people and specialised in Bible class work. He is survived by his wife."
Both the funeral director and his Death Certificate provided the names of Archie's parents as John and Elizabeth Irvine, who were Wm Irvine's parents, and did not have a natural son named Archibald. Archie gave his Grandparents' name as his parents on legal documents. Possibly they adopted him, and raised him until he left home at age 14. Archie's Death Certificate states he was 30 years old when he married his wife Mary Jamieson Murray in Milton, New Zealand; and that he was ill for six months and died of angina pectoris (coronary arterial occlusion).
The History of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand by J. R. Elder (Christchurch: Presbyterian Bookroom, 1940, p. 435) lists the following details about Archie Irvine:
Master of Arts (M. A.) degree, University of Otago;
Knox Theological Hall, Dunedin, NZ 1914-16;
Ordained Waiareka, 1916
Chaplain, NZ Expeditionary Force (WWI); Minister of Codford, NZ 1919; Minister of Ashburton, NZ 1924; Minister of Hawera, NZ 1933
Additional Information about Archie & Mary Irvine
Photos relating to Archibald Irvine
Archibald Grassam Irvine and his wife, Mary Jamieson (Murray) Irvine, are buried in Bromley Cemetery, Keighleys Rd, Christchurch, NZ. Their joint tombstone reads:
In Loving Memory of Rev. Archibald Grassam Irvine
Dearly Loved Husband of Mary J. Irvine
Died 14th June 1952 Aged 66 Years.
Also Mary Jamieson Irvine Loved Wife of Above
Died 19th Dec. 1982 Aged 93 years.
With the Lord.
1982, DECEMBER 19: MARY JAMIESON IRVINE DIED - The wife of Archibald (Archie) Grassam Irvine (Wm. Irvine's son) passed away. She is buried in Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, New Zealand, and shares a tombstone with her husband. Her Obituary in The Press, December 20, 1981 stated:
"Irvine, Mary Jamieson (nee Murray) - On December 19, 1982, at Windermere Hospital, loved wife of the late Rev. Archibald Irvine, loved sister of the late Donald, Murdoch, John, Catherine and Minnie, and loved aunt of her nieces and nephews; in her 94th year....Funeral service tomorrow (Tuesday). Details later. J. Lamb and Son, Ltd. F.D.A.N.Z. Inc."
J. Lamb, Trotter & Son of Christchurch, NZ was the funeral director for both burial. They stated in a letter dated February 21, 1996, that their records indicated Mary J. Irvine was born in Milton, New Zealand. Her father was Murdoch Murray (Occupation: Farmer), and her mother was Margaret Murray, nee Fletcher. Mary Jamieson Murray (age 28) married Archibald G. Irvine at Milton. A niece from Christchurch, NZ was given as next of kin for Mary Irvine.
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