Mr. Childs was born in Matthews on July 1, 1921, the youngest of 11 children born to Oliver Morton and Junietta Ruth (Morris) Childs. He spent his formative years in that community, and graduated from Jefferson Township High School in 1939. Upon his graduation he worked for a period in a grocery store and meat market in Muncie, and on his 21st birthday, was inducted into the U. S. Army during World War II.
He served as an enlisted man, private 1st class, corporal, sergeant, and staff sergeant. Initially discharged in Germany at the conclusion of the war, he was inducted back into the U. S. Army and received a battlefield commission upon the recommendation and under the command of General George S. Patton, Jr., and by an act of congress. Serving in the European Theater and in the Battle of Germany, he was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service.
On September 9, 1945 he was married in Gaston to Barbara Ann Rench. The couple lived in Columbia, South Carolina for a period, and following his military discharge in 1946, moved to Gaston where they spent all of their adult lives. As a young man he joined his father-in-law, A. M. Rench, in the family’s lumber and hardware business in Gaston. Along with his wife, the couple owned and operated the former Gaston-Rench Lumber Company in Gaston for over 40 years until his retirement in 1990.
In addition to his family and business concerns, his life was marked by active participation in church and community affairs. He was a member of the Gaston United Methodist Church, where he had held a variety of administrative positions, taught Church School, and sang in its Chancel Choir. He was a member of Matthews Lodge 650 F&AM, Purity Order of the Eastern Star 126 in Hartford City, and had been an active volunteer in a variety of civic activities throughout his adult life.
In 1980 he and his wife were honored as the Gaston Citizens of the Year. At that celebration he said, “The Lord has run my life far better than I could have. I say it, I believe it, and I try to live by it. I am far the richer, and I know the happier, for it.”
In his leisure time he found joy in lawn work, dining out, church activities, spending occasional weekends at Epworth Forest, and supporting Gaston and Wes-Del athletic teams. Most of all he will be remembered as a patient man who never raised his voice, and was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and a friend to many.
Mrs. Childs preceded him in death on November 14, 2008.
The surviving relatives include his son and daughter-in-law, C. Gregory and Dr. Jeanine Childs of Churubusco; a brother, Robert C. (Ruby) Childs of Warren; a sister, Illon Freese of Hartford City; and three grandsons, Drew (Becca) Childs of Indianapolis, Perry Childs of Churubusco, and Joel (Brittany) Childs of Huntington.
In addition to his parents and spouse, he was preceded in death by four brothers, Earl O. W. Childs, Herman L. Childs, LD Childs, and O. Morris Childs; and by four sisters, infants Neva and Nina Childs, Delight Gadbury, and Elizabeth Losh.
Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 13, 2010, at the Gaston United Methodist Church, 107 N. Main Street, Gaston, with Rev. John Long, officiating.
The family will receive friends at the Sheets & Childs Funeral Home in Churubusco on Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m., or at the church two hours prior to the service Sunday afternoon.
Interment will be in the Thompson Cemetery, west of Gaston.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be directed to the Gaston United Methodist Church, 107 N. Main Street, Gaston, IN 47342; or Taylor University Department of Music, 236 W. Reade Avenue, Upland, IN 46989.
To leave a condolence for the family in Mr. Childs’ memory, log on to www.sheetsandchilds.net