Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Wallace “Wally” Merle Robeson

Wallace “Wally” Merle Robeson

November 24, 1930 – March 21, 2020

Wallace Merle Robeson died surrounded by his family on Saturday, March 21, 2020, at Fairhaven Retirement Community in Whitewater, Wisconsin. Wallace, known as Wally, was the only child of Paul D. and Mary (Doubleday) Robeson born on November 24, 1930 at home in Bradford Township, Rock County, Wisconsin.

Wally grew up attending school in one-room country schools, and graduated from Clinton High School in Clinton, WI in the class of 1948. He attended Milton College in Milton, WI for three semesters, and after completing the requirements for a Bachelor of Education degree in Secondary Science Education, Wally graduated from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1952. Wally served as a student pastor for Methodist churches in Jasper and Trosky, Minnesota for one school year.

In August of 1953 Wally began serving with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), a predecessor of what is today Global Ministries, at Tarsus American College, a secondary boarding school for boys in Tarsus, Turkey. Wally taught classes in health, general math, chemistry, biology, bookkeeping, and was school treasurer during his three years there.

Wally met Ruth C. Sowter at an annual meeting between ABCFM schools in Istanbul, Turkey. After a short courtship by letter, they married on June 13, 1955 in Izmir, Turkey. In 1956, Wally and Ruth returned to the United States where Wally enrolled in the Graduate School of Theology at Oberlin College in Ohio and graduated with his Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1960.

Wally and Ruth were commissioned in August 1960 by the ABCFM to serve in Turkey. From 1960 to 1965 they lived in Izmir where Wally was the business manager of a school. In December 1961 they welcomed to the world their only daughter. From 1965 to 1966, Wally was the principal of a boarding middle school in Talas. In 1966, the family moved to Madison, WI where Wally earned his Master of Administration in Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin. Upon their return to Turkey from 1967 until 1988, Wally served as the principal of Tarsus American College. Wally and Ruth often opened their home to international teachers to make them feel at home.

Wally and Ruth retired to Fairhaven Retirement Community in 1996. Wally was preceded in death by his parents and wife, Ruth. Wally is survived by his daughter, Mary Heather (Dogan Satir); three granddaughters: Ayse Celik (Ural Celik), Zeynep Goktepe, and Ipek Goktepe; Troy Marinkovic, who was like a grandson; and his great-granddaughter Aria Celik; he also is survived by many cousins. Condolences to the family may be sent to Mary Heather Robeson at maryheatherrobeson@gmail.com