Victor W. Decker went home to be with his Savior about 8:40 am on Mon., Jan 28 at the age of 86 following a lengthy illness. His ministry began in the mid-1940s after his graduation from the Mehoopany (Pa.) High School as he drove his uncle, a blind Methodist circuit preacher, on his weekly preaching rounds. It was during those trips with Uncle John that God called Victor to preach. His own pastor at Mehoopany Baptist Church sent him initially to Eastern Baptist Seminary to prepare for ministry. Victor came home before the second semester and found a long-closed church near Mehoopany, tracked down the trustees of the building, and began preaching each Sunday at the Fox Hollow Church. The following year he began his studies at Baptist Bible Seminary in Johnson City, NY. The next year he became the interim pastor at Tunkhannock (Pa.) Baptist Church and later that year started a new church that would become the Osterhout Bible Church, 3 miles south of Tunkhannock–both while still a BBS student. He pastored the Osterhout church for the next 53 years. His ministry was bivocational throughout, initially of necessity to pay the bills as a church planter, later by choice so that the church could put more money into missions. The church budget eventually sent more than 50% of their annual budget to various missionaries. After BBS relocated to Clarks Summit, Pa. and became Baptist Bible College and Seminary, many BBC and BBS students made Osterhout their church home away from home and went into ministry with Pastor Decker’s imprint as part of their training. Victor’s wife Agnes made it home to heaven almost 3 years ago. He is survived by 4 children (Rodney, a BBS prof; Evelyn, an ABWE missionary in Peru; Susan, active in her church in Missouri; and Cecil, a deacon in his church near Gettysburg, Pa.), 16 grandchildren (including another ABWE missionary and a third generation “Pastor Decker”), 27 great grandchildren, and one sister.
A few photos…
Our last pix of “Pop,” Dec. 2012
April 2012, trying out his new walker on our deck (He lived with us for nearly 3 years after Mom died.)
85th birthday, Feb 2011, with his 4 children
Victor and Agnes at the 60th Anniversary celebration of Osterhout Bible Church