Dale Waymire holds the first “Dale Waymire Leadership Award,” presented to him at the September 2007 meeting of the United Methodist Men Foundation. Waymire served as the first president of the foundation in 1981 and held that position for 19 years.
Dale Waymire, 82, former president of the National Association of United Methodist Men and the United Methodist Men’s Foundation and the man who drafted the General Conference petition to create the General Commission on UM Men, died December 6 at at the Veterans Center in Ardmore, Okla.
Dale was born Sept. 24, 1930, in Seminole, Okla., where he lived until age 16 when he moved to Madill, Okla., where he resided until his death.
Perhaps the most important moment in his life came on New Year’s Eve, 1949, when he met Mona Gary, daughter of Oklahoma State Senator Raymond Gary. The couple was married in 1951, following Dale’s graduation from East Central State with a B.A. in education. He had also attended the University of Oklahoma for two years.
After one year of teaching a 7th grade class at Lenapah, Okla., Dale was drafted into the army in 1952 and was stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C., the same year daughter Emily was born.
Operations sergeant for atomic gun
While in Fort Bragg, Waymire was named operations sergeant for the 280 mm Atomic Gun (nicknamed Atomic Annie), a battlefield weapon designed to oppose possible offensive actions by the Soviet Union in western Europe. The gun was 85 feet in length with a diameter of 11.5 inches. It could deliver a 600 pound explosive device 25 miles. Only 24 guns were in existence during the time.
The only time a nuclear weapon was fired from Atomic Annie was in 1953 at a Nevada Test site. “We fired many practice rounds at Fort Bragg,” said Waymire, “but never with a nuclear warhead.”
Following two years of active duty, Dale returned to Madill, where he was employed by his father-in-law as vice president of the Sooner Oil Company. His father-in-law wouldn’t have a lot of time for the business as he was elected governor of Oklahoma in 1955 after 14 years in the state senate. That was the same year Mona gave birth to son Andy. The couple had six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Scores of church offices
While continuing to serve as a captain in the Army Reserve and commander of the 45th Division in Madill, Dale held a succession of church offices. He was elected president of Oklahoma Conference of UM Men (1974-78), president of the National Association of Conference Presidents of UM Men (1978-81), and lay leader of Oklahoma Conference (1980-88). He was elected a delegate to General Conference in 1980, 1984 and 1988 and he served on the General Board of Discipleship from 1976 to 1988. He couldn’t begin to list the number of offices he has held in his local church.
When it appeared that the church was going to quit supporting scouting ministry, the can-do president created the UM Men Foundation and served as the first president of the fund-raising organization for scouting in 1981. During that time, he also started the prayer ministry and the National Association of UM Scouters while chairing the Protestant Relations Committee of the Boy Scouts of America.
Drafts legislation creating the general commission
In 1995, Dale drafted a petition to the 1996 General Conference to create the General Commission on UM Men. He received support from the foundation and conference presidents for the effort.
While many questions were raised in the legislative committee about the proposal, Waymire gave assurance that if the commission were to encounter financial difficulties, the foundation stood ready to help it address those issues. That assuring word from Dale encouraged delegates to approve the petition.
“We would not be where we are today, physically, organizationally, financially, prayerfully, or as a leader in a wide variety of scouting ministries had it not be for our friend and mentor, Dale,” said Gilbert C. Hanke, top staff executive of the General Commission on United Methodist Men.
The family requests that gifts in honor of Dale be given to the United Methodist Men Foundation. Send check to 1000 17th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37212. Make check payable to UMM Foundation, designated for Dale Waymire. The family will be notified of your gift.