The Rev. Ralph I. Epps
EDENTON, NC — The Rev. Ralph Isaac Epps, 87, of 310 White Oak Drive, Edenton, died Thursday, January 3, 2008, in his home.
Born in Sumter, S.C., he was the son of the late Dr. Carl Belden Epps and Mary Purdy Epps. The Rev. Epps, affectionately known as “Preacher,” was a retired Minister and Elder with the United Methodist Church, having served over 60 years in churches throughout the state. He served as chaplain of Chowan Hospital in Edenton and minister of visitation with Edenton UMC. He had a passion for visiting the sick and shut-in throughout the area.
The Rev. Epps graduated from Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. and in 1950 graduated with a Master’s Degree of Divinity from Duke University. On October 10, 2005, Duke presented The Rev. Epps with the 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award, its highest honor given by the school’s Alumni Association, for service to God, the church and the community. Beginning his ministry in 1946, he continually worked to help those in need, sharing meals with the homeless, delivering clothes to the poor and ministering to incarcerated women. His service to the NC Conference of the United Methodist Church includes serving on the Board of Pensions, Conference Council on Ministries and Board of Education and the Town and Country Commission. In 1979, at age 59, he raised nearly $3,500 in donations by roller-skating 50 miles, in support of Cambodian Food Relief and programs for the mentally handicapped. In presenting the Alumni Award, the committee chairman said “Our Distinguished Alumnus is a living testament to our school and its quest to form and educate students who will teach, inspire ‘Love God and love neighbor’”.
While serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he was honored for his distinguished service to the XVIII Airborne Corps and the 17th Airborne Division, earning the 82nd Airborne Division Commanding General’s Award for Excellence.
The Rev. Epps is survived by his wife of 60 years, Pinear Windley “Pat” Epps; two daughters, Barbara Tuttle of Richmond, Va. and Karen Owens of Raleigh; a son, Isaac Epps of Edenton; and five grandchildren, Carolyn Tuttle, Deborah Phillips, David Epps, Malia Epps and Jonathan Owens. He was predeceased by a sister, Mary Purdy Epps and brothers, Carl B. Epps, Jr. and Robert Purdy Epps.
The family will receive friends Saturday evening from 7 until 8:30 in Edenton United Methodist Church.
The Rev. Epps will lie in state in Edenton United Methodist Church on Sunday from 1 p.m. until funeral services begin at 3 p.m. The Rev. Charles Moseley, The Rev. Jim Huskins, The Rev. Tommy Smith and Rev. Ellis Bedsworth will officiate over the services. Burial will follow in Beaver Hill Cemetery.
Swindell Funeral and Cremation Services of Hertford is serving the Epps family.