Death of Former Missionary, Norwood Tye

Death of Former Missionary, Norwood Tye

The Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries has received word of the passing of former missionary, Norwood Burl Tye, on Saturday, May 15, 2010.

Norwood was born on a farm outside Greeley, Colorado, on October 27, 1917, the second of four children of Vibert Tye and Clara Fankhauser Tye.  He graduated from high school in Sheridan, Wyoming, and from Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma.  He went on to earn a Bachelor of Divinity and an M.A. from Phillips and, in the late 1960’s, a Doctorate in Education from Columbia University.  While at Enid, he met and married Wilma Dorothy More. 

Norwood volunteered as a U.S. Army Chaplain in the Second World War and, in that capacity, entered the Philippine Islands immediately after it was liberated from the Japanese.  There he met friends from Phillips who had been in the internment camp at Santo Tomas.  Strongly influenced by that meeting, Norwood and Wilma were commissioned to missionary service through the United Christian Missionary Society of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) February 1, 1947.

Throughout his years of service, Norwood was a leader in the formative years of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and in 1956 he was elected General Secretary of the UCCP.  He also served as a member of the faculty of the Union Theological Seminary, as founder of a mission station, evangelist and educator, and was on the board of trustees of Philippine Christian College, Manila.

Dr. Tye authored “The Local Church in Action” and “The Cooperative Parish,” textbooks for the lay ministry program of the UCCP, as well as “Journeying with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines:  A History” in 1994.

Norwood and Wilma concluded their missionary service in 1969, and Norwood worked with the American Leprosy Commission in New York, retiring in 1973.  He was interim pastor in New Mexico, Texas, and Indiana.  The couple made their retirement home base first in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and later in Indianapolis, Indiana.  They made six return visits to the Philippines and lived there again briefly in 1981.  After Wilma’s death December 22, 2002, Norwood moved to California to be close to family.    

A memorial service is planned for 2:00 p.m. Saturday, June 26, 2010, at the Guerneville Community Church, 14520 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville, California  95446.  Norwood is survived by his daughter, Judy Angell; sister, Viberta Briggs; brother, John Tye; granddaughter, Kara Hawthorne and great-grandsons, Joshua and Nathan; and many nieces and nephews.   

Notes of sympathy may be sent to Judy Angell at:  19650 Hidden Valley Road, Guerneville, CA 95446.  Memorial gifts may be directed to the Wilma More and Norwood B. Tye Fund, Christian Church Foundation, P.O. Box 1986, Indianapolis IN  46206.  Distributions from this fund are used by Global Ministries in support of educational ministries in the Philippines.

Global Ministries thanks God for the life, ministry, and testimony of Norwood Tye and celebrates his pastoral journey as part of the Church’s global presence and witness.