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1930 Robert 2018

Robert E. Garris

April 2, 1930 — December 5, 2018

Robert E. Garris passed away December 5, 2018. He was born April 2, 1930 in Madison County, Indiana to William and Dorothy (Burdette) Garris.  Survivors include daughters Rebecca (David Perry), Teresa (Greg Mershon), Sharon (David Wallace), son Paul (Kim) Garris, ten grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. Robert’s parents, brother, and wife predeceased him.  After graduating from Pendleton High School, he received degrees from Anderson University (B.A. in Bible, 1956), Christian Theological Seminary (Bachelors of Divinity, 1961), and Butler University (M.A. in Religious Studies, 1965). His Master’s thesis documented the missionary efforts of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in East Africa.  Bob met Elsie Tubbs while they were students at Anderson University and working at the Delco Remy factory to support their education. One night after work, Bob and a group of male friends invited some of their female workers (including Elsie) to have a cup of coffee together. Later, after Elsie had returned home to Ohio to study nursing, she mailed Bob a Christmas card and he responded with a letter. They celebrated 52 years of marriage.  Robert is a retired pastor having served many congregations throughout central Indiana. When asked why he became a minister, he succinctly replied “Man had a need and God’s action took care of that need”. After his first pastorate at the Huntsville Community Church, he converted to Quakerism and served for 50 years in different capacities in Western Yearly Meeting of the Friends Church. His conversion to the Quaker faith began when he accepted the job as pastor of Gray Friends Church. After next pastoring Sandcreek-Azalia Friends Church and Second Friends Church, he joined the administrative team at Western Yearly Meeting. Here he was Director of Christian Education for two years and General Superintendent for 25 years.  Bob also served on a number of Boards and Commissions at Friends United Meeting in Richmond, Indiana and the Board of Advisors of the Earlham School of Religion. He also served on several ecumenical groups in Indianapolis.  After his retirement, he later served as pastor of the Hadley Friends Church and as interim pastor at First Friends Church in Kokomo and Mooresville Friends Church, all in central Indiana.  Bob participated in the Prisoner Support and Visitation Program at the Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana for twenty-five years. His prison mission was motivated by Matthew 25:40, “…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” He was a regular visitor at the Indiana Boys School, playing cards and befriending youth interned there through the Quaker Men’s group at Plainfield Friends. These experiences expanded his horizon beyond the circles of people with whom he usually interacted.  Bob was an avid baseball fan. He cheered on the Cincinnati Reds his entire life, beginning as a child while listening to their games on WLW radio and later enjoying the Big Red Machine on television. He played in the Plainfield Church League for a number of years and was known as a fearless pitcher and crafty hitter. During this time, he coached his son and umpired in the Plainfield Little League. He later coached his daughters in the Hendricks County Women’s League and the Plainfield Women’s Church League.  He greatly enjoyed time with his family and seeing his grandchildren growing up. While there were suspicions, he admitted to no favorites. Robert’s idea of a good day involved fishing, camping with his family throughout the United States, attending sporting events, mentoring youth, or sharing experiences with other Christians. He loved a good joke and to help people. His early life through college involved rarely going more than 25 miles from his home, but he later embraced the opportunity within Quakerism to travel to Texas, Colorado, New England, England, Africa, and many other places.  A Memorial Service will be held at the Plainfield Friends Meeting, 105 South East Street, Plainfield, IN on Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 1 pm. Visitation will be held on Friday evening, December 21st from 5-7 pm in the church.  In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to Quaker Haven Camp https://www.quakerhaven.com/contribute or SIM (www.sim.org/giveusa with Missionary ID 009892)
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