THOMAS, David Gourlay 1896 - 1962
Obituary from the Minutes of the Methodist Conference 1962, page 214
Born at Llandilo, Carmarthenshire, in 1896. He came of Welsh and Scottish parentage, and illustrated the fervour and stability of the two races in his dedicated personality.
After training and practice as a schoolmaster, he was serving in the Royal Navy during the first World War when he was accepted as a candidate for the Wesleyan Methodist Ministry.
After being at Handsworth College he went to the Porthleven Circuit, and next served for eight fruitful years in the Transvaal District.
Passionate evangelism combined with wide interests and a brotherly spirit made him equally successful in both African and European spheres, and he built up every Church under his care.
When he came home again, work in the Bodmin, St Austell and Salisbury Circuits was followed by chaplaincy service in the R.A.F. After the second World War he travelled in the Exeter, Williton and Launceston Circuits, and when he died suddenly whilst superintendent at Launceston it seemed as though the whole town mourned his passing.
People of all types thankfully called him their friend, and he wisely used the opportunities thus provided to commend his Saviour. His own radiant, sure faith was attained and held only by struggle and prayer, but this gave him insight and sympathy with the needs of others.
He cared for all, perhaps especially the humblest, and freely gave himself in their service. Balanced and charitable in judgement, tolerant and believing the best of everyone, he yet was firm in declaring his own principles, and none ever doubted his integrity.
His sermons were thoughtful expositions of central biblical truths carefully prepared by a conscientious student and preached with passion. He had a remarkable gift of letter-writing and many treasure his letters written to them when in sorrow or perplexity.
Wise in administration, reliable in counsel, gracious, happy and modest in spirit, he won the confidence and love of his people and his brethren.
A keen gardener, he was nationally acknowledged as an authority on sweet peas, gladioli and the art of hybridizing, and wrote books on all three subjects. He was awarded the Gold Medal of the National Sweet Pea Society.
He died on 28 April 1962, in the sixty-seventh year of his age and the forty-second of his ministry.
©Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 1962