Marjorie E. Dilts, age 86, of Joplin, MO, graduated to glory on Friday, January 1, 2021. She was born to Gaylord and Ruth Hutchinson on August 14, 1934, in Findlay, Ohio. She graduated from Findlay High School, in Findlay, Ohio as Valedictorian.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marjorie Elaine Dilts (Hutchinson), please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
She was offered a fully-funded music scholarship to the college or university of her choice, but she declined and decided to preach. She and some teenage friends traveled around preaching for several summers, driving all over Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. One summer she and three other girls held a revival in an abandoned one-room schoolhouse near Newark, Indiana. They cleaned out an old chicken coop for a prayer room. That revival was the beginning of a new church which still exists.
The summer after graduation Marjorie and her friend Ferrell Semler co-pastored a farm-community church in Gilboa, Ohio. One Sunday night a handsome young man named Paul Dilts attended service. As he entered the sanctuary Marjorie, playing the piano, heard God tell her that Paul was the man He had chosen for her. Paul accepted Christ there the following Wednesday. Five months later they were married. She resigned as pastor and became the Youth Director for Blanchard Avenue Pentecostal Church of God in Findlay. When Paul answered a call to ministry that year Marjorie was his teacher and guide.
In 1957 they moved to Tampa, Florida where they organized many tent revivals where hundreds of people were saved and healed. The tent was later used by a new congregation in Ruskin, Florida while they built their church. Paul and Marjorie pioneered Northside Pentecostal Church of God in Tampa, now known as New Life Church. Marjorie was elected Secretary-Treasurer for the South Florida District of their organization. They became District Youth leaders and established the summer Youth Camp program. In 1963 they pioneered another church in Bartow, Florida that still exists.
In 1965 they moved to Joplin, Missouri to pastor the First Pentecostal Church of God at 23rd & Annie Baxter. During that time Marjorie earned an Associate Degree in Journalism while also working as Secretary-Treasurer of the National Youth and Indian Missions departments at the Pentecostal Church of God headquarters. She organized youth conferences all over the country.
In 1974 they resigned from the church in Joplin to become resident missionaries in Central America, and stayed there for 20 years. A 7.6 earthquake struck Guatemala in 1976 and they became first responders, loading trucks with beans, rice, coffee, oil, sugar, flour and other staples from the grain market. They drove through rubble from landslides to the surrounding villages to deliver supplies and hope. From that disaster they established New Hope Christian School in a squatters’ village that had materialized from thousands of people left homeless from the earthquake. They set up a tent there and had a revival from which three churches were formed. The school and churches are still active.
While in Central America they helped establish 200 churches, a Bible Institute to teach young men and women to become evangelists, ministers and pastors, and established 3 grade schools.
Paul and Marjorie resigned their positions in Central America and returned to Joplin in the fall of 1994. They reopened their former church at 23rd and Annie Baxter and became pastors again. During that time Marjorie, at the age of 70, completed a 4-year degree in Spanish, became certified to teach, and taught Spanish and Missions classes at Messenger College in Joplin. They retired from pastoring in 2002 but still ministered in other churches and cared for widows and elderly friends.
From the church at 23rd & Annie Baxter many other churches and ministries have been created as well as ministers and missionaries. Additionally, Paul and Marjorie established Crown Ministries to help support the Central America schools, to help purchase land and supplies for building new churches there, and to support other ministries. Funds were provided recently for the hurricane recovery efforts in Central America, and the ministry will continue in order to honor the legacy they established.
Throughout their married lives Marjorie was an equal partner with Paul. They made all decisions together. In Central America Paul advised the organizational leaders and ministers that Marjorie would participate in all board meetings and have all of the same authority as him, accepted in equality, otherwise he would go back to the States or to another country as a missionary. Marjorie’s involvement and compassion paved the way for the women’s ministries that exist in Central America today.
Marjorie is survived by their three children - Rhonda Walton of Edmond, OK, Denise Hinkle and husband Sam Hinkle of Warsaw, MO, and Dennis Dilts and wife Joyce Dilts of Joplin, MO. She is also survived by 8 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Paul F. Dilts, both parents, 2 sisters - Jeanne and Eileen, and an infant brother - Paul. She is survived by her sister, Anita Curtis, of Terrell, TX.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, January 7, 2020 at Joplin Family Worship Center in Joplin, MO. The family will receive friends from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening at Mason-Woodard Mortuary.
Memorial contributions may be made to Crown Ministries in honor of Paul and Marjorie, which can be received at the funeral home or mailed directly to Crown Ministries PO Box 815, Joplin, MO 64801.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Mason-Woodard Mortuary & Crematory.