This is the day that … Wendell P Loveless died in Honolulu, in 1987.
“I was born in Wheaton,” he had told an interviewer the year before he died, “which is the Protestant Vatican!”
After his father’s death, when Wendell was still an infant, the rest of the family lived with the godly grandparents. They attended Wheaton College Church, and “before I was saved,” Wendell tells, “I was leading the choir.”
He studied singing, piano and drama – God was preparing him for future service. In 1914, he was chosen as a member of an entertainment group that toured the United States for six seasons, giving him experience and training in voice, piano, dramatics, and master-of-ceremonies duties, which he used later in Christian ministry.
During World War I he was an officer in the US Marines. He was married in 1920 (“neither of us knew the Lord,” he said) – and was chaplain of a Masonic Lodge.
But, watching his eldest child playing, he says: “The thought came to me with terrific force – I’ve got to set a better example to my son!”
Wendell Loveless began to read the Bible – and “when I came to Romans, I was saved!”
Seeing the incompatibility between Masonic teaching and Christianity, he resigned from the Lodge.
James Gray, the president of Moody Bible Institute, invited him to join the staff in a management role.
Then WMBI, Moody’s radio station, commenced – and Wendell Loveless was the first manager … “along with a secretary – that was the radio department!” Today WMBI has over 160 full-time workers.
In 1928 he wrote his first chorus …
Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before….
Others flowed from his pen – Altogether lovely …, You’ll never know real peace ‘til you know Jesus …, All because of Calvary….
After 20 years with WMBI, Wendell Loveless pastored three churches, Wheaton, Illinois; Boca Raton, Florida; and Honolulu, Hawaii, and lectured at the Moody Bible Institute.
At the age of 90 he suffered a stroke that slowed him down a little – some days, he told a reporter, he could only type 25 letters because he could no longer use his right hand.
Living in Honolulu, where his son Bob was “chaplain of Mid-Pacific Institute”, Wendell P. Loveless went home to glory at the age of 95.
This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History, which I previously considered to be a little stuffy and of little practical value. I find in the process of updating Don’s Christian Diary that I am being constantly refreshed, illuminated or challenged by the lives of those who have gone before.