ESSAY ON ERSKINE By Nona Ellen Scates-Olbert
Irma was born in a sod shanty but by the time Erk and I arrived there was a one-room frame. Merle must have been born while they were moving back and forth. I used to envy Irma because she got to be born in a sod house. Papa hauled the lumber fifty miles from Alva with a team. Erk's date was Aug 4, 1909. Eleven months later his mother passed away. She said all that worried her was what would become of her children.
Aunt Lu ran a quarter of a mile once to a neighbor to get her to get Erk out of a spasm. The bloomin' bugger was holding his breath. I guess he wanted his Mama.
Papa got a housekeeper presently and all of us but Merle came home. The housekeeper soon departed but we endured thru picking up chips, and cold dishwater, and Indian games, and Barley Bright. Merle taught us that one on a summer's visit.
School days found Erkie standing in the corner. He just didn't like to study. Primary methods were different then and it was his second year before he decided that the thing was worthwhile. After that he took his grades two at a time. I still haven't gotten over the injury when they let him skip the 7th grade entirely. It put him just one grade behind me. He still can't spell any better than I can. The 7th grade was just crowded. It was his popping brown eyes and his hand always waving. He psychologized his teachers, that's all.
And he wouldn't be as good a boy as he is if it hadn't been for all the lickings I gave him. I had a time one summer. Papa gave him a crew hair cut. It took the longest time for that to grow out to where you could get a hold again. He was a head shorter than I and I had a longer reach. I had to hold his hair with one hand and lick him with the other, or boy! He'd a licked me. He could just keep trying longer than anybody you ever did see. Erk never did hit where it really hurt you, but he hit awfully hard where it didn't.
He came in the back way from Brother Gassaway's and stopped at this end of the grape arbor just in the sunlight, his eyes and face full of light and said, "I'm going to be a preacher!" So many kids nowadays have such murky faces. Erks face was always so clear and clean and his eyes so honest. Papa just didn't make the kind of jokes that make kids shifty and sneaky.
He never made the football team. He probably weighed around 110 then. But persistently all thru High School he practiced. When they called the big boys out on the platform to give them their sweaters with the big F (Fairview, Oklahoma) on them, somehow they had a couple of extra sweaters on hand and they gave them to a couple of little runts that never made the team. Erk was one of them.
They hadn't ought to let a youngin' graduate from hi school at 15. He doesn't have a chance to grow. So I have to tell you about when he grew. He came home from his sophomore year at college. I believe he had a new girl. He had height, he had reach, and he had muscle. It wasn't long before we tangled. He took me down. He rolled me on the floor. He shoved me under the bed. And then he stood up and crowed! You never heard such a Yahoo! And I joined in. None was any gladder than I was to have my little brother grown up big enough to give me a licking. If I had to take a licking I'd rather take it from a preacher or a real good old elder than anyone.
Erk's been licking the world, the flesh, and the devil ever since.
A RECORD OF THE FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF CLEO SPRINGS, OKLAHOMA January 16, 1902 to October 8, 1989 “A list of those former pastors will be attached to this record, but we realize there will surely be errors. One minister, Erskine Scates, was pastor here in 1926, or maybe in 1927, or perhaps both years, but we cannot find his name mentioned in any church records, and we regret such deletions.”
The Last Years of Mission Messenger by Karl Ketcherside
“Speaking about next year reminds me that I am to be the key speaker at the World Vision Crusade in Grand Junction, Colorado, March 3, 4, 5, 1971. I am anticipating with pleasure being with my brother, Erskine E. Scates Sr., president of Intermountain Bible College.”
“The first of February found me at the World Convention of Missions at Grand Junction, Colorado. It was sponsored by Intermountain Christian College. Both the college and the convention were the fruition of the dream of Erskine Scates, the president of the school. Always an ardent advocate of sharing the Good News with the poverty-stricken people of the universe, he arranged the annual convention to inform and alert the inhabitants of the fertile Colorado Valley of the needs of the regions beyond. He has now departed to be with Jesus but he has left his sons to put wings to his words and feet to his prayers.”
Erskine Edward Scates, Sr. Intermountain Christian September 1979 – Vol. 29 No. 9 College Founder Dies Erskine E. Scates, age 69, past president and founder of Intermountain Bible College and area minister-evangelist, died July 21, 1979, at La Villa Grande Health Care Center. Surviving are his wife, Faith Marie of 562 Bluff Court, Grand Junction, and fie sons: Erskine E. Scates, Jr., minister, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Dr. David R. Scates, missionary to the Navajo people, Dolores, Colorado; Harry D. Scates, missionary, Uberlandia, Brazil; W. Thomas Scates, teacher and lobbyist, Winfield, Kansas; and J. C. Tim Scates, attorney, Denver. He is also survived by his three sisters, Mrs. Irma M. Rowse of Durango, Mrs. Nona E. Olbert of Fruita, and Mrs. Merle I. Cassidy of Bakersfield, California, and by fifteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by one son, Richard N. in 1950. Mr. Scates was born August 4, 1909, near Fairview, Oklahoma. He received his B.A. (1929), M.A. (1930), and B.D. (1931) degrees from Phillips University, Enid, Oklahoma. Two years after his first church ministry at age seventeen in Cleo Springs, Oklahoma, he married Faith Marie Berger on November 28, 1928, in Oklahoma City. He and his wife came to Colorado in 1931 as “missionaries” and he first served as a state evangelist. The next forty-eight years were spent in Western Colorado and the Intermountain Region preaching and planting non-denominational Christian Churches in nearly every town and city of Western Colorado. Most recently, Mr. Scates retired on January 21st, 1978, as President of Intermountain Bible College, which he helped establish in 1946. In 1978, over six hundred people honored Mr. Scates for his fifty years of commitment to non-denominational churches and the Bible college. He was well known for his simple manner of friendship, counseling and love to thousands of families and young people. He traveled widely throughout the Western United States as an evangelist and convention speaker. He was widely known for his devotion to his special ministry of preaching, planting churches, and building a Bible college to provide leadership to local churches and on mission fields. Mr. Scates ministered to local churches in Oklahoma and the towns and cities of Pueblo, Salida, Palisade, Nucla, Montrose, Clifton and Grand Junction (Northeast Christian and Orchard Mesa Christian Church). His ministry of planting churches spanned communities in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. Mr. Scates was known to tens of thousands as producer and radio teacher on a Sunday morning program for over thirty years. During and for many years after the Depression, he was also well known where his family lived and he worked as a farmer, miner, newspaper publisher, public school teacher and principal, producer of religious plays, debate coach and judge, and college instructor. Known for his interest in young people, Mr. Scates, for over twenty-five years, organized and led summer camps on Grand Mesa and New Castle where he helped initiate church youth camps. Until shortly before his retirement from Intermountain Bible College, he had traveled hundreds of thousands of miles throughout the Western United States on tours with Bible college students.
The Daily Sentinel – Grand Junction, CO Monday, July 23, 1979 Erskine E. Scates
Erskine E. Scates, 69, who died early Saturday in La Villa Grande nursing home, was known throughout Western Colorado as a missionary-evangelist and retired president of the Intermountain Bible College. In 48 years of pursuing the Christian mission which called him to Colorado in 1931, Mr. Scates had ministered to churches in Pueblo, Salida, Palisade Nucla, Montrose and Clifton. He established a number of churches, including the Northeast Christian Church and Orchard Mesa Christian churches in Grand Junction, others in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. He, along with John Ball and Earl Heald, founded Intermountain Bible College in 1946. Under his leadership the college soon outgrew its modest quarters and eventually plans were made for the new campus on Patterson Road. Construction of the first of three projected buildings is nearing completion. Mr. Scates helped organize church sponsored youth camps on Grand Mesa and near new Castle for 30 years. He also produced and taught a Sunday morning radio program with was known to thousands of listeners. He traveled widely as evangelist, producer of religious plays, and conductor of college-sponsored tours to churches throughout the West. Scates came to Colorado in 1931 as missionaries, assigned initially as state evangelist. During the depression he also worked as miner, farmer, newspaper publisher, public school teacher and principle, debate coach and judge. He was an enthusiastic supporter of high school and college sports and a skilled fisherman familiar with Western Colorado’s streams. Mr. Scates was born August 4, 1909, near Fairview, Okla. His first ministry, at the age of 17, was in Cleo Springs, Okla. He married Faith Marie Berger Nov. 28, 1928, in Oklahoma City. He earned degrees from Phillips University at Enid, Okla., including a bachelor of arts in 1928, a master of arts in 1930, and a bachelor of divinity in 1931. Surviving in addition to Mrs. Scates are five sons, Erskine E. Scates Jr., a minister in Albuquerque, N.M.; David R. Scates, a missionary to the Navajo at Dolores; Harry D. Scates, a missionary to Uberlandia, Brazil, W. Thomas Scates, a teacher and lobbyist at Winfield, Kan.; and J. C. ‘Tim’ Scates, an attorney in Denver; three sisters, two of who are Irma M. Rowse of Durango and Nona E. Olbert of Fruita; fifteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. McLean Funeral Home.
ERSKINE EDWARD SCATES, Sr. - Timeline Complied by Lynn Marie Scates-Adams
EDUCATION: 1925 - Fairview, Major OK High School 1929, 1930 & 1931 - Bachelor's, Master's and Bachelor's of Divinity at Phillips University
EXPERIENCE: Erskine skipped two grades (7th & ?) and graduated from high school when he was 15 years old. He turned 16 in August of that year and attended Phillips University in Enid, OK. His father died in February 1926 at age 60, of heart failure. Erskine preached his first sermon when he was 17 years old. As a Colorado western slope state evangelist and circuit rider with the State Missionary Society his goal was to reopen several Disciples Churches that had closed. Later he resigned with this society but continued with the church planting vision. In 1946 Erskine founded Intermountain Bible College in Grand Junction along with his two friends and fellow ministers, John Ball and Earl Heald. He served as president of the college from 1946 until his resignation in 1978 due to his failing health. Erskine was directly involved in the planting of Christian Churches in the western Colorado towns of Rangely, Cortez, Durango, Meeker, Grand Junction, Orchard Mesa, Fruita and Grand Valley as well as Riverton, Wyoming and Salt Lake City, Utah.
Timeline: Erskine Edward Scates, Sr.
1909 - 1918: residing in Granton, Major, OK 1918 - 1925: residing in Fairview, Major, OK 1925 - 1931: residing in Enid, Garfield, OK Phillips University: 1929 Bachelor of Arts 1930 Masters 1931 Bachelor of Divinity 1926 - 1927 Minister in Cleo Springs, Major, OK (age 17) 1927 Minister in Elm Flat, Major, OK 1928 - 1931 Minister in Mooreland, OK 1927 - 1931: Debate Coach & Speech Instructor at Phillips University 1928 Nov 28: marriage to Faith Marie Berger, Oklahoma City OK 1931 - 1935: residing in Salida, Chaffee, CO: Church planter, Debate Coach & Speech Instructor Pueblo Jr. College 1935 - 1939: residing in Palisade, Mesa, CO: Church planting for the Colorado State Missionary Society 1938 - 1941: residing in Nucla, Montrose, CO: Minister at Nucla Community Church Preaching in Naturita, Uravan, Delta and Paonia CO (all in Montrose County) Started the first newspaper in Nucla "The Nucla News" Served on the Nucla Town Council Employed with the Uravan Mine Coach for Nucla High School football, basketball & baseball 1941 - 1945: residing in Montrose, Montrose, CO: Minister for Montrose & Delta Christian Churches Preaching in Paonia, Telluride at the "Odd Fellows Hall" and in a country school "Stone School House" 1942 - 1944: Public School Instructor and Administrator : Nucla High School & Montrose High School 1945 -1953: residing in Clifton, Mesa, CO: Minister for Clifton Christian Church 1945 - 1956 English, Speech & Debate Instructor for Mesa Junior College 1946 - 1978: Founding President of Intermountain Bible College 1947 - 1956: Public School Instructor and Administrator: Central High School in Grand Junction, CO 1953 -1979: residing in Grand Junction, Mesa, CO
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