Rev. Vonda Joyce Holtzclaw, 88, entered the arms of her Savior, Friday, January 28, 2022, in Willow Springs, Missouri.
Her transition to Glory marked the close of a 67-year chapter of ministry here on earth with her husband, Rev. Melvin Roy Holtzclaw. While her health and her memory failed her in recent months, she never missed an opportunity to pray and sing hymns with her children and grandchildren.
She was born March 30, 1933, in Enfield, Illinois, daughter of Horace Wilford and Mary Eliza (Johnson) Baker. Her family moved to Evansville, Indiana, and later to St. Louis, Missouri.
She met her first true love while on a double-date with friends, and after months of love letters and train trips from White County to St. Louis, she and Roy were married February 26, 1950. She saved those hand-written letters of young love, which are now treasured by her children.
Her second true love was her children. And then, her greatest love, Jesus, called her and her husband into a life of ministry. They pastored First Apostolic Church of Rosiclare from 1963 to 1982.
As a pastor’s wife, she often sang in a beautiful soprano voice that was a bit unusual for the traditional southern Gospel style singing at their church. The family still laughs, remembering the time she unwittingly sang a duet, joined by a neighborhood dog howling from the crawl space of the church.
When her husband faced health challenges, she returned to school and graduated from nursing college in Paducah, Kentucky, May 10, 1974. She was ordained as a minister of the Gospel May 11, 1980.
Her nursing experience would serve a dual purpose with her call to preaching in several states and abroad when God sent them to full-time evangelism and mission work in the HELPS ministry, assisting churches in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Granite City and Mt. Vernon, Illinois; Rockport and Birdseye, Indiana; Faith Farm in Florida; and establishing Community Chapel in Hardin County, Illinois. They also assisted missionaries in Haiti, Mexico, Jamaica and India.
Her words live on in sermon archives lovingly preserved in digital format at https://anchor.fm/robin-boley/episodes/Vonda-Joyce-Holtzclaw–Gods-Mouthpiece-e1djufk?fbclid=IwAR2F4mzTLpCMWiDxD2pBTkATukgdJyKPnk3LDaHfGk-xnj7phVFQip1Pd-c .
She is survived by her children, Gloria (Dale) Watson of Willow Springs, Missouri, Karen Pickle of Kirksville, Missouri, Joy (Michael) Drumm of Springfield, Tennessee and Daniel (Mindy) Holtzclaw of Jackson, Tennessee; 17 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, 10 step-great grandchildren, four great-great-grandchildren and two step-great-great-grandchildren; a sister, Barbara (Jim) Hall of Woodson Terrace, Missouri; and many loving nieces and nephews and brothers and sisters in Christ.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Rev. Melvin Roy Holtzclaw in April, 2021; her parents; infant son, Roy Allen Holtzclaw; brothers, Wilford Baker Jr. and James Matthew Baker; great-grandson Josiah Drumm; great-great-grandson, Alex Bowden; and son-in-law Scott Pickle.
Funeral services for Rev. Vonda Holtzclaw will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 12, 2022, at Stendeback Funeral Home in Carmi, with burial at Marshall Ferry Cemetery, near Rising Sun. Family and friends may visit from 9:30 a.m. until time of service at Stendeback Funeral Home in Carmi.
Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or to a missionary of choice in her memory, and will be accepted at Stendeback Funeral Home who is in charge of arrangements.
To buy flowers and gifts locally, visit RosiclareFlowerBasket.net .