Paul Wayne Booth died Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2007, in Houston, Texas. Born on July 30, 1929, in Caraway, he was the youngest child of Arthur Irvin Booth and Martha Isabell Wood Booth. Mr. Booth was preceded in death by his mother and father; by his brothers Orville Booth, Troy Booth, Carl Booth, Boyd Booth, Buford Booth, and Virgil Booth; his sister Ruby Booth Murphy; and his beloved wife, Lavanda Joan Colbert Booth.
He graduated from Central High School in Caraway in 1946, and on Dec. 29, 1949, married Lavanda. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, was awarded a Master of Arts in Sociology by the University of Louisville, Ky., in 1968, received a Master of Divinity degree from St. Paul School of Theology, Kansas City, Mo., in 1975, and took a number of courses at the University of Missouri-Kansas City graduate school of management.
Booth spent the early years of his career as a farmer and from 1953 until 1961 served as pastor of the Caraway branch of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now Community of Christ), having been ordained a priest in the RLDS church in 1952 and an elder in 1953. In 1962 he accepted appointment as a full-time minister and served in many administrative and ministerial capacities for the church in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, Australia, Tahiti, and the Philippines. He was a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles of the RLDS church from 1974 through 1992 and served as the Council's president from 1984 until 1988. He was ordained Presiding Evangelist of the church in 1992, and was superannuated as an evangelist upon his retirement in 1994. Following his retirement, he served at various times as a member of the Graceland University Board of Trustees, a member of the Graceland University Seminary Board of Trustees, president of Outreach International, president of the Restoration Trails Foundation, and chairman of the Community of Christ Investment Committee. He was an active member of the Rotary Club and a fundraiser for the Independence Symphony Orchestra.
He is survived by his sons, Dennis Booth, and wife Anne, and Donald Booth, and wife Sharon; daughter, Karen Booth Jewell, and husband David Jewell; sister, Lois Booth Finch; grandchildren, Gabriel Jewell, Zachary Jewell, Matthew Booth, Andrew Booth, and James Tidey and wife Lori; great-grandchildren James Tidey, Jr., and Jaelyn Tidey.
Visitation was held on Friday evening at Gregg Funeral Home, 300 W. Matthews, Jonesboro. Funeral services and a celebration of Paul's life were held at the Community of Christ Church in Caraway at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, with interment in Oak Lawn Cemetery in Jonesboro. Pallbearers were David Jewell, Gabriel Jewell, Zachary Jewell, Matthew Booth, Andrew Booth, and James Tidey.
A memorial service was held on Thursday, Jan. 3, at the Community of Christ Stone Church, Independence, Mo.
Anyone wishing to leave a lasting memorial is asked to consider the Graceland University Seminary, 1401 W. Truman Road, Independence, Mo. 64050.