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Dr. James Samuel Timberlake

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Dr. James Samuel Timberlake, long-time Oklahoma Baptist University professor of Greek and religion, died Sunday, March 13, in Shawnee. He was 87. Timberlake was born in Texarkana, Texas, on March 11, 1918, the fourth of four children, to Sewell Edwin and Pearl (Jones) Timberlake. A 1936 graduate of Classen High School in Oklahoma City, Timberlake received his bachelor of arts degree from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1940. He earned a master of theology degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1943, and a doctor of theology degree from the seminary in 1950. During World War II he served as a chaplain in the U.S. Army from September 1943 to September 1946. He attended Chaplain's School at Harvard University and was assigned to Camp Blanding, Florida. He was later transferred to the European Theatre, First Army, 3rd Armored Division, 32nd Armored Regiment. During this period he received three battle stars: Battle of the Bulge, Siegfried Line and Central Valley Campaign. After the war, he was assigned chaplain's duties at the 98th General Hospital in Munich, Germany. He attended several sessions of the Nuremberg Trials. In 1950, Timberlake joined the OBU faculty. He rose to the rank of professor in 1960, and senior professor in 1984. He retired in 1988 and was named professor emeritus in 1989. During his tenure, he served as chairman of the university's division of philosophy and religion. Among the courses he taught in his 38 years at OBU were Greek, Old Testament, New Testament, Christian Doctrine, History of Religions and Church History. His professional memberships included the American Academy of Religion, Southwestern Baptist Association of Teachers of Religion, and American Association of University Professors. Timberlake married Kathryne O'Bryan on June 11, 1944. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2004. For 55 years of their marriage, they were members of the First Baptist Church of Shawnee, where Timberlake taught the Baxter Sunday School class. He served as interim pastor in numerous Oklahoma churches. He is survived by his wife, Kathryne O'Bryan Timberlake of Shawnee; his daughter and son-in-law, Mary Kathryne and Craig P. MacKenzie of Atlanta, Georgia; a granddaughter, Kathryne MacKenzie Susong and her husband, Kirk, of Atlanta, Georgia; and a grandson, Craig Peter MacKenzie Jr., of Greenville, South Carolina. He also is survived by four nephews and two nieces. Preceding him in death were his parents; his sister, Mildred Timberlake Thompson Guthrie; and two brothers, Dr. William Burman Timberlake and Sewell Edwin Timberlake Jr. Memorial services were Friday, March 18, the the First Baptist Church of Shawnee. Burial was at Resthaven Memorial Park Cemetery in Shawnee. Memorial gifts may be made to the James S. Timberlake Scholarship in Biblical and Theological Studies at Oklahoma Baptist University.
Published in The Oklahoman on Apr. 3, 2005
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