The Life of Deacon Donald L. Rudolph Sr., the man we called “Pop,” entered this world on July 24, 1920, in West Chester, Pa., the eldest of 11 children born to the late Samuel A. and Emma M. Rudolph.
After living a wonderful life full of purpose and destiny, he departed this earth on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. He attended the Chester County Public Schools in Pennsylvania during his youth — successfully completing the 10th-grade. He then began his journey into the world of employment, becoming a farm worker at the age of 16. He was later employed as an insulation maker for several manufacturing companies, he served as a truck driver for Well Built Homes and the New Jersey Department of Transportation, where he worked until his retirement. Because of his strong work ethic, he couldn’t sit down and not contribute to the workforce. Upon relocation to Cleveland, he worked for Evans Janitorial Service for 15 years.
He served his country as a corporal in the U.S. Army, with tours of duty in England, France and Belgium. It was during this time where he developed his truck driving skills, and was the recipient of several medals — The American Theater Medal, The European/African/Middle Eastern Campaign and the Good Conduct Medal.
Family and faith were both extremely important to “Pop”, and he did his best to be fully committed to both. He received salvation in 1942 in West Chester, Pa., where he also met his first wife, Dorothea Brown. After a six-month courtship, they married and their union was blessed with four children. Sadly, Dorothea passed in childbirth with their fifth child. He then relocated to Somerville, N.J., where he became a longtime member of Shiloh Pentecostal Church.
In 1950, he met and married Barbara A. Johnson, and their union was blessed with nine children. As he continued to serve God and his family, Donald was appointed a Deacon in the Lord’s Church,never taking any of his responsibilities lightly, he fulfilled his duties as a father and Deacon with hard work, humility, and trust in God. After many years of happy family life he relocating to Cleveland, Barbara Rudolph passed away in 1989. Donald didn’t waiver in his commitment to serving God or taking care of his family.
While in Tennessee, he fellowshipped with the Restoration Fellowship and the Church of God at Jerusalem Acres. He returned to New Jersey for a period of time, where he became a member of Christian Fellowship Center and Outreach Ministries, under the leadership of his son, Apostle Joel David Rudolph Sr. He also visited his New Life Worship Center in Chester, N.Y., where his eldest son, the late Bishop Donald L. Rudolph Jr. served as pastor.
While at CFC, “Pop” continued serving as a Deacon and was a member of the Mighty Men of Valor Choir. He also worked as a member of the Church’s facilities staff — always making sure that the sanctuary was clean and presentable.
He received an added blessing when he met and fell in love with Vernet Hickson, whom he married in 1999. This union allowed him to welcome four more children into his village, and he embraced them with love, wisdom, strength, and his big smile. His happiness with Vernet was short lived, as she passed away in 2001 following a valiant battle with cancer.
In spite of the many challenges, “Pop” endured, he was truly thankful for all of God’s blessings, and you would often witness him running around the church giving praise to God. He would have more energy than many half his age — and he would cry out “Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy”.
His final years were spent back in Cleveland, where he enjoyed fellowshipping with Christian Fellowship Center of Cleveland, and living each and every day to its fullest. He enjoyed the fine arts and a good steak. He truly celebrated spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He is predeceased by his eight siblings: Herbert, Charles, Ellwood, William, Elizabeth, Reba, Marjorie, and Alberta; and seven children: Donald Jr., Hope, Clifford, Robert, Janet, Jeffrey and his stillborn child.
He has left a legacy of service, commitment, devotion to family, and love for God that is to be treasured and remembered.
He leaves to celebrate his life, cherish his memory, and carry forth his legacy: five daughters: Dorothea Penn of Cape May, N.J.; Cheryl Harris and Wendelin of Cleveland; Pamela of Charlotte, N.C.; and Roberta Woods (George) of Bloomfield, N.J.; six sons: Joel Sr. (Sheila) of Wayne, N.J.; Timothy (Eleanor) of Somerset, N.J.; Douglas (Karen) of Cleveland; Ronald and Terrance (Samantha) Hickson of Norfolk, Va.; and Quentin Hickson-White of Lumberton, N.J.; daughter-in-law, Verdele Rudolph of Chester, N.Y.; 35 grandchildren; 58 great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren; one brother, Andrew (Agnes), and one sister, Barbara Wylie, both of West Chester, Pa.; adopted daughter, Betty Washington; godson, Wendell Hawkins; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives and friends; his Christian Fellowship Center families of Paterson, N.J., and Cleveland, Restoration Fellowship, Church of God in Jerusalem Acres of Cleveland, Shiloh Pentecostal Church of Somerville, N.J., and Zion Tabernacle of Piscataway, N.J.; and other relatives and friends.
The body may be viewed Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, at the Patton Funeral Chapel, 265 Fair Street S.E., Cleveland.
The family will receive friends Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, from 5:30 until 7 p.m. at The Church of God, Jerusalem Acres, 1826 Dalton Pike S.E., Cleveland. Service will follow at 7 p.m.
Final arrangements by Carnie & Bragg Funeral Home, Patterson, N.J.
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