Rev. Dr. W. Gehl Devore
The Rev. Dr. W. Gehl Devore, Age 102, of Zion, Illinois passed away on February 5, 2019, entering into the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Dr. Devore was born December 4, 1916 near the central Illinois town of Altamont. He graduated from high school at the age of 15, then spent 8 years as a linotype operator, before attending McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois. At age 23, he married Doris Mery, whose father, Rev. Fred C. Mery, pastored the First Methodist Church in Altamont and performed the ceremony.
Also, at the age of 23, Dr. Devore received a call to the ministry and soon after, enrolled at McKendree and was appointed by the District Superintendent to serve a four-point circuit, preaching throughout his college career at Sunday morning and evening services at four different churches every other week. After graduating with honors from McKendree, he enrolled at Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. While there, he was appointed to pastor his first church in Westmont, Illinois, where he served from 1944 – 1956. He then moved to Rockford, Illinois, where he served as Senior Pastor of Grace Methodist Church from 1956 – 1961. From Rockford, the Devore family moved to Barrington, Illinois, serving the Barrington Methodist Church congregation from 1961 – 1963.
In 1963, Dr. Devore moved to Waukegan, Illinois to become the Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church, where he remained until his retirement in 1980. After his retirement, he was honored with the title of Pastor Emeritus and worked part-time for Otar Printers in Waukegan. For over 20 years, he served as Chaplain for the Waukegan City Council, and he was active in a number of community and philanthropic organizations. Also, for several years, he was privileged to serve as Dean of a Methodist high school youth camp at Conference Point Camp in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Dr. Devore was a lifetime and avid New York Yankees fan, loved playing golf, baking pies and enjoyed playing softball in church leagues and working out and swimming at the YMCA in Waukegan.
Known as a great story-teller, he spent much time, both as a pastor and in retirement, visiting local hospitals, nursing homes and shut-ins, and those with whom he visited always appreciated him praying for and sharing the love of Jesus with them.
He is survived by his wife of 78 years, Doris; two children, son, Bill (wife, Jan) of Wadsworth, Illinois and daughter, Jan of Decatur, Illinois: two grandchildren, Christopher Devore of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and Angela Devore of Gurnee, Illinois.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William Durell and Pearl Devore and his two brothers, Raymond and Linder.
The family would like to thank the fine staff members at Rolling Hills Place and Rolling Hills Manor in Zion for their compassionate care for Dr. Devore over the past 5 years. Donations in Dr. Devore’s memory may be given to First United Methodist Church in Waukegan.
Visitation will be held Sunday, February 10th from 5:00 – 8:00 PM and again on Monday, February 11th from 10:00 – 11:00 AM at the First United Methodist Church, 128 N. Martin Luther King Drive in Waukegan. A service to remember and honor his life will be held Monday, February 11th at 11:00 AM, also at First United Methodist Church. Burial will take place at the North Shore Garden of Memories. The Rev. Thomas Ostrander and Dr. Cecelia Harris will officiate. Arrangements are being handled by Dr. Devore’s friends at the Congdon Funeral Home in Zion, Illinois.