Memorial Service Aug. 17 For Retired Professor

Aug. 12, 2004
News Photo 2125Dr. Gerald Fielder

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Dr. L. Gerald Fielder, professor emeritus of political science, died Aug. 8 in San Angelo. He was 78.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, at the First Baptist Church Leavell Chapel. Baylor will hold a memorial service for Fielder at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17, in the Powell Chapel at George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Dr. Kyle Reese will officiate both services.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Robert Massie Funeral Home in San Angelo.

Fielder was born in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China, on April 26, 1926, to Maudie and Wilson Fielder, who were missionaries to China.

Because of a strong family tradition, Fielder entered Baylor University in 1944 beginning preparation for his chosen field of teaching. After graduating from Baylor, Fielder also earned a master's degree from Vanderbilt University, a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and his doctorate from American University.

Fielder was an instructor of political science at Baylor from 1949-51. In 1954, he was appointed Southern Baptist Missionary to Seinan Gakin University in Fukuoka, Japan, where he served as a faculty member for 23 years. He returned to Baylor in 1976 and taught political science until his retirement in 1997.

At Baylor - with a special love for this birth country, China, Japan and his own United States of America - Fielder broadened his interest to other nations. He became founding director of the Asian Studies Program, helping to implement the teaching of Japanese and Chinese languages, and the establishment of faculty/student exchange programs between Baylor and several universities in Asia.

Always optimistic, Fielder firmly believed in the ultimate victory of love over hate, good over evil. And though there will always be "Wars and Rumors of Wars," he believed there is a moral responsibility to be seeking peace and justice, good things for our neighbors here and in other lands as well as oneself.

Recognizing that his own flawed humanity was common ground with others, he lived his life as a teacher, yet even more so as a learner, a disciple of Christ, striving to be a bridge of understanding between cultures, a channel of God's grace and love toward others.

One of his dearest pleasures during retirement was the ongoing contacts with his former students and other friends, and colleagues here and abroad.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Wilson and Maudie Albritton Fielder; son, Patrick Dale Fielder; brothers, Wilson Fielder Jr. and Richard Byron Fielder; and sister, Golda Jean Fielder Moore.

Survivors are his wife, Jo Beth McKneely Fielder, and daughter, Dorcas Elaine Fielder, both of San Angelo; sister, Florence McKinney, and husband, L.G., of San Angelo; brothers-in-law, Dr. Robert A. Moore, of Houston, and Jack W. McKneely and wife, Claudia, of Georgetown.

Many cousins, numerous nieces and nephews were cherished by their Uncle Gerald and had on numerous occasions given him much affection; also a host of student friends and colleagues here and abroad. The family thanks each one for their friendship through the years and prayerful support especially during his final illness.

To his physicians, Dr. Barnett and Dr. Cheruku, the family expresses deep appreciation for their compassionate care. With Dr. Barnett there was good-natured banter about the Red Raiders vs. Baylor Bears or life in San Angelo vs. life in Waco; with Dr. Cheruku, stimulating comments about Indian politics. Both relationships gave a warm, human face to medicine.

Heartfelt gratitude extends also to the staffs of 5 North and ICU at Shannon Hospital and staff of SCCI, who cared faithfully for him during his final hospitalization with caring sensitivity; and to our caring church family of First Baptist Church, who have surrounded us with their love and prayers.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Baylor University Global Christian Ventures Fund; First Baptist Church of San Angelo, Mission Offering Fund; Baptist Memorials Retirement Community in San Angelo; Habitat for Humanity; or other beloved charity.

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