REV. ARNOLD POPE
Arnold Pope was born Sept. 14, 1932, in Enfield, N.C., to Henry and Audrey Pope, two of the finest parents God could have provided.
Arnold graduated from Enfield High School, where he rejoiced in playing three years of football. He then attended Duke University, from which he graduated in 1954 with an B.A. degree in religion, and Duke Divinity School, where he earned a M.Div. in 1958. His senior year in college and the three in seminary, he also served as a student pastor for a charge of three churches: Stokes, Parmele and Vernon. In later years, he also earned a Master's in Adult Education from N.C. State.
Arnold was blessed beyond description by 64 years of marriage to Barbara Wilson, deceased in 2018. Surviving him are: sons Thomas (wife Margaret) and Patrick (June); grandchildren Michael Pope and Leigh Anne Pearson (John), and Theo Pope; great-grandchildren Savanna, Zach and Will Pope, and Brayden and Kensley Pearson; and eight nieces and nephews.
Arnold served full-time pastorates of five years at Smith Methodist in Roanoke Rapids, four at Winstead (Wilson) and one year at Franklinton before the opportunity to join the faculty at Methodist College as its Dean of Men. He was later promoted to Dean of Student Life, and accepted a position to go into teaching full-time in the Religion Department. After leaving Methodist, he was a teacher and coach at Terry Sanford High School and Douglas Byrd Middle School until his retirement in 1996.
Despite a busy schedule, he was involved in a number of other activities. He gained great satisfaction from officiating football, serving 43 seasons as a high school referee and ranking as a Class 1 official from 1961 until his retirement in 2002. He officiated in two state championship games, as well as the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. He served a term as President of the Southeastern High School Football Officials Association. After retiring from working on the field, he served as a trainer and evaluator of officials from 2002-17.
He also officiated college football with the Atlantic Coast Conference from 1970-83, and worked the NAIA national championship game in 1981. He also worked a number of years as a high school wrestling referee and softball umpire. His intense involvement in refereeing came from a deep desire to contribute to athletics, had given so much to him, and to help make it the best possible experience for those who followed him.
His greatest enthusiasm, however, was in competitive weightlifting, where in 31 years in the Open division he won 27 state and six Southern championships. He was named to the N.C. Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 1998, and was ranked as a National Referee from 1973-2017.
His greatest success as a lifter came in the Masters age/weight competition. In this, he won the world championship in 1998 in addition to 13 national titles. He was inducted into the National Masters Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 1998.
Pope also competed in Scottish Games athletics from 1966-86, winning the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games caber toss in three consecutive years, and the North American Caber Championship in 1976. He represented the USA for three years in the World Caber Championships in Scotland, and in 1971 became the first American to win a caber-tossing event on Scottish soil.
Arnold was a faithful member of Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Stedman, and a member and Past Master of Stedman Lodge #730 AF&AM. He was a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason.
Arnold Pope lived a long and blessed life, and did his utmost to be a faithful representative of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in any way he could.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM Saturday, October 9, 2021 at Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Stedman with Rev. Debbie Matthis and Rev. Dennis Sheppard officiating. Burial will follow in the Fisher Cemetery with Masonic Rites. The family will receive friends from 12:00 Noon - 1:45 PM on Saturday at the church prior to the service.
Persons wishing to make memorial donations are encouraged to make them to Cokesbury UMC (P.O. Box 280, Stedman, NC 28391) or the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford (600 College St., Oxford, NC 27565).
Services entrusted to Butler Funeral Home, 6535 Clinton Road, Stedman, NC.
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