April 16, 2020
Dr. Eugene L. Stowe, third president of Nazarene Theological Seminary, passed away 6 April 2020 at the age of 97.
His extensive legacy includes the shaping of many people and institutions over his decades of service to the international Church of the Nazarene.
Born in Iowa in 1922, just years after the denomination was formed in 1908, Stowe’s early spiritual formation took place at Broadway Methodist Church in Council Bluffs. When he later moved to California, he attended the Santa Monica Church of the Nazarene, where he accepted Christ as his savior under the ministry of Pastor E.C. Martin.
Stowe graduated from Pasadena Nazarene College (now Point Loma Nazarene University) in 1943. He married Faye Cantrell the same year.
Stowe served in pastoral ministry in California, Oregon, and Idaho. He led Nampa College Church of the Nazarene, in Idaho, from 1952 to 1963, while teaching in the religion department at Northwest Nazarene College (now University).
Stowe led the Central California District as superintendent from 1963 to 1966, when he was elected president of Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS).
“He was president of NTS my last two years as a student,” said Dr. Jesse Middendorf, General Superintendent Emeritus and Executive Director of the NTS Center for Pastoral Leadership. “My senior year I was student body president. Dr. Stowe and I met on a regular basis and formed a relationship that lasted through the years. He and Mrs. Stowe were frequent guests, we served together in many settings, and he was both friend and mentor.”
In June of 1968, Stowe was installed as a general superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene. He served in that role for 25 years until his retirement in 1993.
“One of the stories few know is that after his retirement, Dr. Stowe became a volunteer chaplain for a facility focused on victims of HIV-AIDS. He poured his energy into that, being an example of love and grace,” Middendorf said.
While serving as general superintendent, in 1986 Stowe ordained Jeren Rowell, current NTS president.
“The NTS community shares deeply the sense of both grief and gratitude as we mourn the loss of Dr. Stowe, our third president,” said Dr. Rowell. “Dr. Stowe brought a strong pastoral bearing to the leadership of NTS, illustrated in part by his influence in adding faculty in practical theology during his tenure.”
Stowe was preceded in death by his son Donald in 2009 and his wife Faye in 2017. Dr. Jim Diehl, General Superintendent Emeritus, recalled Eugene and Faye’s relationship and ministry as a true team.
“Not only did they work and minister together in the pastorate, the district superintendency, as president and first lady at Nazarene Theological Seminary, and in the role of general superintendent, but they were sought after speakers for Ministers’ and Mates’ retreats across America for years following his retirement,” Diehl said.
“We thank God for the life and ministry of Dr. Eugene L. Stowe and pray the Spirit’s comforting presence for the family,” Rowell said.
Stowe is survived by his daughter, Gayla, his son, Lynn, and his daughter-in-law, Kathleen.
View the obituary and send condolences here.