The Reverend Muriel H. Peters, 93, of Jacksonville passed from this life on Thursday, May 2, 2019. He was born in Jacksonville on November 19, 1925. He was the son of the late Andy and Hazel Peters and was a grandson of the late Reverend Samuel J. Holt.
Mr. Peters was a graduate of Jacksonville High School. Following his graduation, he joined the U.S. Navy where he served 2 ½ years in World War II. He was in the South Pacific Theater of operation for 16 months. He served in various capacities, including as an electrician and as a gyroscope technician.
Following his return from naval service, he was married to a high school classmate, Othella Whitfield. They were faithful companions for over 61 years. Following his marriage, Mr. Peters began his first career as an electrician in the construction industry. He was a member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 295 for over 60 years.
After serving as a lay leader in the Bethel United Methodist Church, Mr. Peters was invited to a consultation with the late Dr. James Upton to discuss the possibility of a fulltime ministry. Following a tragic accident, an appointment opportunity became available at the Dover/London Charge. Mr. Peters accepted the appointment and began a journey that lasted more than 30 years.
After receiving his License of Preach, Mr. Peters enrolled in what is now Arkansas Tech University receiving a BA degree with highest honors. While he completed his degree he also served and appointment at the Pottsville/Bell’s Chapel Charge.
Following consultation with the late Bishop Paul Martin, it was decided that Mr. Peters would enroll in the newly established St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri as the first candidate from Arkansas to enter the seminary. He graduated with a Master of Divinity Degree with highest honors.
Mr. Peters returned to Arkansas and was ordained elder in the former North Arkansas Conference by the late Bishop Kenneth Pope and was appointed to the Hardy Charge. While there, Mr. Peters was asked to provide leadership in the founding of a new church in Cherokee Village.
Reverend Peters held a number of offices in the former North Arkansas Conference. He served on the Board of Ordained Ministry and was the registrar of the Board. He served as the Chairperson of the Worship Committee and the Board of Trustees. He served as the secretary of the Council on Ministries. He served on other boards and committees as well as many committees and boards on the district level.
Reverend Peters served appointments at Rosewood, West Memphis, Wesley Foundation Director at Arkansas Tech University, and the Corning/New Home Charge. He was appointed to lead in the development of the Maumelle Cooperative Ministry that later became the present United Methodist Church. He also served Wiggins Memorial/Farmington Charge and the Harrisburg/Pleasant Valley Charge. In 1989, he was transferred to the former Little Rock Conference and served the Primrose Church in Little Rock. He retired in 1991 and returned to the Bethel United Methodist Church where he was elected Pastor Emeritus of the church.
Reverend Peters is survived by son, Dale (Ann) of North Little Rock; daughter, Debbie (Richard) of Jacksonville; daughter-in-law, Kay of Jacksonville; six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and one sister, Grace Thrash of Houston, Texas. He is preceded in death by his wife Othella; son, Don Peters; parents, Andy and Hazel Peters; and three brothers, Lloyd, Arthur and Billy Gene.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to Rebecca Peters, Dixie Willsey, Stormy Smith and Arkansas Hospice for their loving care.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Bethel United Methodist Church.
Visitation will be held at 2:00 P.M. Monday, May 6, 2019 at Bethel United Methodist Church, 7417 Jacksonville Conway Road. Funeral service will follow at 3:00 P.M. under the direction of Rev. Marty Bowie. Burial will be in Bethel Cemetery.
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