Jan. 12 was not a good day. Two saints left us that day.

James C. Holman, 96, of Clyde died after a lifetime of ministry in the United Methodist Church. Eunice Frazier Chambless, 99, died the same day. Both devoted their lives to the service of others, Holman from the pulpit, hospital rooms, funeral homes, wherever he was need.

Chambless, a member of First Baptist Church in Abilene, was so moved when she saw visitors at the local prisons with no place to stay that she pushed for a hospitality house, which today bears her name.

Over the years, I had the privilege of writing stories about both. Chambless was born Jan. 2, 1920, in Sagerton to the late Warren and Pearl (Webb) Frazier. She was married to the late Carroll Jack Chambless on July 16, 194, in Aspermont.

“Eunice had a heart for serving the Lord,” her obituary from The Hamil Family Funeral Home said. “The former beautician and ranchwoman virtually dedicated her life to missions, calling it her first love.”

Chambless and her late husband were active in mission work for 28 years in Red River, New Mexico, and served with the New Mexico National Ski Patrol. Chambless was a volunteer for 20 years for the Mission Service Corps. She served on several boards of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and as the Assistant Director at Abilene Baptist Social Ministries.

Chambless’ name was a familiar one in many circles, including the Abilene Woman’s Club and Clyde Study Club. She was active in the Baptist Church locally and beyond. In recognition of her leadership and service, Chambless was named Baptist Layperson of the Year in 1988 by the Abilene Baptist Association.

The story of house the Eunice Chambless Hospitality House came about, posted on its website, carries a quote from her pastor, Dr. Phil Christopher: “Eunice was concerned about the people who came and had no resources.”

In 2014, I interviewed Holman for a story in the Abilene Reporter-News about the last Christmas Eve service he would preach. H was 92 at the time and was ending his career at Hamby United Methodist Church. He had served the small congregation for two years, accepting that call at age 90.

In the story, Holman gave some advice to young preachers who might be preaching their first Christmas Even sermon. His advice:

“Don’t get away from the true message,” he advised. “I would just hold to the message, that’s all.”

And that is exactly what James Holman did his entire life, all 96 years of it. He held to the message.

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