John McNutt

John McNutt

BACK WHEN: Washington couple responded to life’s calling

WHAT IS YOUR life’s calling? Whatever it may be, that calling makes your life meaningful. People who answer their life’s call do not care about salary or comfort. A calling goes beyond those things.

A local couple who answered their call were Gordon and Gwyneth Gale.

Gordon Graham Gale was born on October 19, 1911, in Lynden. After high school, he graduated from business school in Seattle. He worked for the Seattle Post Intelligencer for three years. Gordon Gale arrived in Port Angeles in July 1936. He worked as chief clerk for the National Park Service at the Mt. Olympus National Monument, which later became the Olympic National Park.

At that time Preston P. Macy was the Custodian of the Olympus National Monument. Jack Cosser was in charge of the warehouse, but also doubled as a ranger, fire dispatcher, warehouseman and truck driver.

In many ways it was a dream job. At the time Gordon was the one-man office staff. His duties were varied. They included dictation, preparing reports, bathing the wounds of Park saddle horses that had fallen off a mountain trail, and back-packing mail and supplies to those in lookout stations.

On one occasion, Jack Cosser clandestinely loaded a brick into Gordon’s backpack. Gordon unknowingly carried that brick up to the Bogachiel Peak lookout. Gordon happily endured the jesting about his supposed plans to build a brick lookout station.

During the following year he was invited to attend the regular meetings and various functions of the Presbyterian youth group. They often met at 1st & Laurel Streets. Among those he met were John Breithaupt, Joe Wolfe, Eleanor Alleman, Irene Wagner, and Gwyneth Lewis. Eleanor and the others prayed for Gordon’s salvation. These prayers had a great impact on Gordon. While reading the Gospel of John, Chapter 10, Gordon saw his need for Jesus and surrendered his life to Him.

One person in the Presbyterian Youth Group made a particular impact on Gordon’s life. That was Gwyneth Mae Lewis. It seems that Jesus had Gordon’s soul and Gwyneth had Gordon’s heart.

Gwyneth was the daughter of David John and Hannah Lewis. The Lewises were Welch, though they were born in Argentina. The 1865 Welch emigration to Argentina is a whole other story.

In 1902, 28 of these Welch families moved to Saskatchewan, Canada. These families included those of David John Lewis and Hannah Davies. David and Hannah were married in Saskatchewan in 1913. In 1923, the Lewises moved to Port Angeles.

Shortly after meeting Gwyneth, Gordon attended a prayer meeting in Seattle.

Gordon was so challenged by the need to “go and teach all nations” that he applied to the mission field. Worldwide Evangelization Crusade (WEC) accepted his application.

On August 9, 1941, Gordon resigned his position at the Olympus National Monument to enter full-time missionary work. In his letter of resignation he wrote, “My reason for leaving the work with you which has been even finer than the best that one could hope for, is to enter the only service which I hold in higher esteem than the National Park Service: that of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Gordon also said, “These past five years have been the most blessed and fruitful years of my life in a work that I have loved, with men who have a proud devotion to a cause and desire to do great and lasting work for the American people.”

Gordon and Gwyneth had a shared love and a shared calling. On May 9, 1942, they were married in Seattle and started their life together at the WEC headquarters.

Gordon’s plan was to enter China and travel to the Tibetan border. Like so many of life’s plans, they changed. Though the plans changed, their calling did not.

Instead of China, Gordon entered a three-year world tour courtesy of the U. S. Navy. He enlisted in March 1943, and completed basic training on Oct. 30, 1943, in Farragut, Idaho. He may have served on the USS Clemento. He served in the Navy’s Intelligence Department. His service took him to Calcutta, Brisbane, and Manilla.

The war didn’t slow his missionary zeal. While shipboard he served with Gospel Teams sponsored by Navigators. On land he worked with Armed Forces Gospel Teams and Children’s Special Service Mission.

Gordon was discharged from the Navy in May 1946. Gordon and Gwyneth returned to W.E.C. and worked at their headquarters in Chicago. Finally, they entered the mission field in 1948 and served 15 years in India.

During Gordon’s last four years in India, he had started a young men’s fellowship in South India. Gordon longed to return to them, but a visa situation in India prevented a permanent residence. He was able to make only short visits.

While on furlough in 1962, Gordon served as interim pastor for Independent Bible Church until 1964. After his pastorate he returned to WEC Headquarters in Fort Washington, Penn. He also worked at their Toronto headquarters.

Gordon and Gwyneth left the WEC in 1970.

After 1970, the Gales spent much of their time in Port Angeles.

In 1972, Gordon sensed the Lord’s calling and went to Beirut to establish a house of prayer for all nations. The house would also provide discipleship. The Lebanese civil war of 1973 ended that mission. They then moved to Cyprus. From there they worked as itinerate missionaries visiting and encouraging missionaries all over the world.

In 1982, Gordon was visiting India to attend a prayer meeting. He arrived early, as he typically did. When other people arrived, they found his body on the floor. He literally died with his boots on. His body is buried in Udhagamandalam, India. The name Udhagamandalam is derived from the Toda word “othakal-mund”, which means “house in mountains.”

Gordon and Gwyneth were faithful to their call for 34 years. Gwyneth later married William F. Hubert. They lived in Port Angeles, then moved to Ontario, Canada. Gwyneth died in 2001 and is interred at Ocean View Cemetery.

What is your calling?

________

John McNutt is a descendant of Clallam County pioneers and treasurer of the North Olympic History Center Board of Directors. He can be reached at woodrowsilly@gmail.com.

John’s Clallam history column appears the first Saturday of every month.

Gordon Graham Gale circa 1935.

Gordon Graham Gale circa 1935.

Gwyneth Mae Lewis circe 1936. Gwyneth graduated from PAHS in 1936. This is her senior picture.

Gwyneth Mae Lewis circe 1936. Gwyneth graduated from PAHS in 1936. This is her senior picture.

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