Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Myles Walburn

Myles H. Walburn
September 10, 1929 – August 26, 2017

Myles Hugh Walburn died August 26, 2017, at home in hospice care. He was born September 10, 1929, in San Diego, California, the son of Hugh F. and Vera E. Walburn. The Walburns took their family to Shanghai, China in 1939 where Hugh was the Business Administrator for the Armed Services YMCA. Myles attended the Shanghai American School until returning to the United States before the start of World War II.  After the war, the family returned to China and Myles graduated from high school in Tsingtao (now Qingdao).  Returning to the U.S. after high school, he earned a bachelors degree at George Williams College, Chicago, Illinois. Following theological education at the Divinity School, University of Chicago, he was ordained for ministry by the Evangelical and Reformed Church, now the United Church of Christ, and served a congregation in Maywood, Illinois.

In 1951 Myles married Donna J. Barkey. In 1959 the couple began service with the United Church Board for World Ministries (UCBWM), a predecessor body of what is today known as Global Ministries, with their two daughters. They first served in Hong Kong where Myles taught at the Hoh Fuk Tong Theological Institute, and then later transferred to Makassar, Indonesia where Myles taught at the Theological School of Eastern Indonesia.  A son was born to the couple in 1963.  Health concerns made it necessary for the family to return to the U.S. in 1966.

For the next thirty years, Myles worked for the UCBWM in different roles including serving as Treasurer and General Secretary for Support Services.  His work sometimes took him on trips around the world and for visits with churches in more than two dozen countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the islands of the Pacific.

Myles married Barbara Lamberson Smith in 1982. In 1992, they moved to Nepal to serve in Kathmandu, Nepal, working with the United Mission to Nepal (UMN).  During their time in Nepal, Myles served as the interim treasurer for the UMN.

They retired in 1994 and moved to Carolina Meadows, Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1995.

Surviving Myles Walburn are his wife Barbara, two daughters, Carolyn W. Metzler and Marsha L Walburn, and one sister, Olive McLaughlin.  His son Wayne M. Walburn died in 2014.  Also surviving are three stepchildren, Elizabeth, Jeannine and Cleve Smith, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Condolences may be sent to Barbara Walburn, 247 Carolina Meadows Villa, Chapel Hill, NC 27517. Memorial gifts may be made to the North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, 123 West Main Street, Suite 700, Durham, NC 27701, or to the Chatham Outreach Alliance (CORA Food Pantry), P.O. Box 1326, Pittsboro, NC, 27312.


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  • commented 2017-09-26 11:48:00 -0400
    Myles was a big man with a big heart. Rest In Peace
  • commented 2017-09-26 10:42:34 -0400
    Miles was a good friend and trusted colleague. We were the same age. He supported my work first with A.D. magazine and later with the National Council of Churches, as he brought his financial skills to those endeavors. He was once a part of a committee that interviewed me that asked “How can you undertake so many different things?” I jokingly said, “I guess because I am a workaholic.” Sitting at the far end of the table he misunderstood the term and blurted out, “I never saw any evidence that you were an alcoholic!” For a second there was a tense moment and then all broke into laughter. I will miss him—just as he and I missed Dalton Smith.
  • published this page in News 2017-09-25 13:40:40 -0400