Daniel Webster Fooks

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

1874 - 1944


On December 12, 1944, Rev. D. W. Fooks, one of the older ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the stated clerk of the Assembly, passed to his eternal reward. Brother Fooks had suffered a stroke of paralysis some days ago and was never able to rally from its effect. He passed away quietly in a hospital at Paducah, Kentucky, where he was in the midst of his many, many friends and relatives.

Brother Fooks was born in Paducah on February 13, 1874, the son of William Franklin and Susan King Fooks. He received his education at Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee, and West Kentucky College, Mayfield, Kentucky. Ordained to the ministry in October, 1900, he was pastor of the church at Paducah for the first few years of its turbulent history after the merger. He was also pastor of First Church in Nashville for a number of years when it needed him most. He, at various times, pastored a number of other churches in times of emergencies.

In 1915, while still a comparatively young man, Brother Fooks was chosen stated clerk of the Assembly, financial agent of the Church, and traveling agent for the Church. From that time on until his death, a period of thirty years, he served his Church in that capacity-a longer tenure of office than any other Cumberland Presbyterian in that office. During this time he traveled all over the bounds of the Church again and again, being in more homes of Cumberland Presbyterians, in more Cumberland Presbyterian churches than any other minister in any period of the Church's history. He contacted persons who wanted to leave their property to the Church and wrote many deeds and wills. Traveling back and forth throughout the land, he made it a point to be in some church on Sunday, where he was usually asked to preach. Always his was a message of faith in God, trust in His care and leadership; faith in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and admonition to have confidence in its future. He usually injected faith in both God and the Church into all people wherever he preached. Often he would conduct a series of services of four or five days, making this the burden of his messages. He had the ability to stir people unusually deeply in their respects.

His many duties finally carried him to China for one year in the interest of our property there. While there he and the late Rev. Gam Sing Quah translated the Confession of Faith into the Chinese language.

Always Brother Fooks liked to be thought of as the servant of the Church. He felt his responsibility to it very keenly and tried to guard it with all the loyalty of his soul. He could almost be classed in the group of the Church's founders--Ewing, King, and McAdow, in that he had much to do with its re-formation after the merger, and in the trend it took in the following years. He literally helped to shape its policy, its thinking, and what it did during those years. He stood by to question the motive of everyone whom he thought was not as loyal to the Church as he should be, guarding that which he had been committed unto him more determinedly than ever. To him the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was sacred and he wanted nothing but faithfulness to its cause within its ranks.

Brother Fooks came out of a Primitive Baptist background, his grandfather being a minister in that church. Yet. D. W. Fooks and his brother, T. D. Fooks, knew no other Church loyalty than the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Brother Fooks was married to Maggie Dale Rudolph on May 2, 1894, and they have lived long useful lives together. Although no children were born to them, they at various times had young people in their home, helping them to attend school. First and last they probably ahve touched more young lives than the average family in this way.

The Fooks home was also a home for preachers. Not many ministers in the Church of Brother Fooks' age who did not spend at least a night in that home. Also many of the younger ministers found it a haven for themselves, some of them living with the Fooks' through the summer between school time. You always knew that you were welcome to go into their home and break bread with them when you happened into their town.

Thus one of the older, faithful ministers of the Church is gone. A number of useful ministers have slipped away during the last few months. His going will leave entirely new men in the place of leaders of the Church in its stated clerk's work in that the assistant clerk, Rev. W. B. Cunningham, passed away not many months ago.

Although Brother Fooks suffered somewhat, his friends and loved ones are consoled in that he did not suffer to the extent of many persons who go through this king of death experience. Much of the time long toward the last he was not conscious long at a time. Loved ones and the doctor did all that could be done to make his suffering less.

The funeral was conducted in Paducah and Benton. Rev. T. E. Bright, pastor of the local church Brother and Mrs. Fooks loved so well, and Rev. Wayne Wiman, the new assistant stated clerk, conducted a brief service in the Roth Funeral Home in Paducah. Rev. Sam B. Rudolph, a life-long friend, conducted the services in the Oakland Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the church of Brother Fooks' childhood days. Burial was in a family cemetery a short distance from the church. Very large crowds attended both services despite the fact that it was a very cold day with a snow storm raging. Many, many flowers were there to soften the stark reality of death and to bespeak the Master's own spirit of beauty and eternal life that lives again even after death.

When the speakers were through speaking tributes of love and respect for Brother Fooks, the crowd filed by one by one to take their last look of a man who had been far more active every day of his long life than most men are, a man who gave his life to the Church. People in every walk of life, some dressed in the finest clothes money buys, others dressed very humbly, came by and paused before his open casket. These people, some of them tottering with age, others mere children, had compassion in their faces as they looked for the last time upon the face of one whom they thought of as friend.

Many people had come from long distances to be present, despite the bad weather. Word had not been sent out over the Church-the occasion was too close upon us all to get this word out, or there would have been even more people present to pay their last tribute of respect to Rev. D. W. Fooks. Among the ministers present in the services were: Revs. C. E. Hurley, C. M. Zwingle, J. W. Stiles, and Ky Curry of Nashville; Rev. Wayne Wiman of Memphis; Rev. O. T. Arnett of Jackson; Rev. T. J. Scott of Milan; Rev. Guy Moore of Missouri; Revs. T. E. Bright, O. E. White of Paducah, S. B. Rudolph, Roy Shelton, and Martin Rudolph; Rev. Joe Gardner of the Presbyterian Church; Rev. Lex Riley of the Church of Christ; and Rev. H. C. Jones of the Methodist Church. Also Moderator I. M. Vaughn of Jackson, C. C. Brock, manager of the publishing house in Nashville, and other prominent Churchmen were present.

Rev. Lex Riley of the Church of Christ read the Scripture at the church, and Rev. O. E. White led in prayer.

Brother Sam Rudolph, it was said, preached "just the kind of sermon that fitted everything exactly."

There were perhaps some four hundred people at the two services.

Rev. Wayne Wiman prayed the prayer at the grave, a grave that was a wonderful mound of flowers.

Brother Fooks has gone to rest and his work lives on in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, Dec. 21, 1944, pages 1-2]

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Updated April 24, 2008