Rev. Wilbur M. Milbourn, 93, West Baden

Wilbur MilbournRev. Wilbur M. Milbourn, 93, of West Baden, formerly of Birdseye, died Wednesday at Springs Valley Meadows in French Lick. He was born in St. Joseph, Missouri November 3, 1922, to Frank and Julia (Menges) Milbourn.

During high school Rev. Milbourn was actively involved in music and was a member of an all string orrchestra playing the guitar, bass, piano, and mandolin. The group played at the 1939 New York World Fair. After graduation from high school, he attended Guard Business College and later traveled to New York City where he became a master on the accordion and performed on stage in various venues. He served for three years in the U.S. Army Air Corps, reaching the rank of sergeant. He was discharged at the end of World War II.

After his discharge he met and married Mildred Bayer of Birdseye. Wilbur and Mildred, along with Rev. Harold Bayer, traveled for two years in evangelistic ministry. Later, Rev. Bayer married Juanita Hemphill and the four of them continued the evangelical ministry.  Rev. Milbourn started the first apostolic church in St. Joseph, Missouri. Today the Pentecostals of St. Joseph are still in that city.

In 1965 Rev. Milbourn became the dean of music and taught biblical studies at the Pentecostal Bible Institute in Tupelo, Mississippi, serving in that capacity until 1967,returning to full time evangelistic ministry until 1973. Rev. and Mrs. Milbourn moved to Clearwater, Florida, in 1987 to pastor a new church of 19 people. The average attendance grew into the in the 90s before he and his wife returned to Birdseye to care for his mother. He and his wife began attending church in French Lick to help their daughter and son-in-law in the church they pastored. Even though he was advancing in age, Rev. Milbourn then accepted the pastorate at Oakridge Church from 1994 to 2002.

Family members and friends say Rev. Milbourn took his calling to the ministry very seriously and gave everything that he had to the work of God. He mentored many men in the ministry as well as men behind bars who were baptized and filled with God’s spirit. Some never experienced freedom in this world but left for a better place free from chains on their souls because he took time to care. They say he “fought a good fight and kept the faith.”

He is survived by his wife, Anna Milbourn; two sons, Barry Milbourn and wife Jan, Bloomington, and Rodney Milbourn, Nashville Tennessee; one daughter, Velda Qualkenbush and husband Kern, West Baden; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by an infant brother, Frank James Milbourn, his step father, Rev. John Buford, and two step brothers, Donald and Garel Buford.

Friends may call from 4-8 p.m. Friday at the Nass and Son Funeral Home in Huntingburg and from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at New Life United Pentecostal Church in Huntingburg. Memorial contributions may be made to Bharosa Ghar Mission and Orphanage in India. Condolences may be shared online at Funeral services at 1 p.m. Saturday at New Life United Pentecostal Church with burial following in Birdseye Cemetery. Rev. Charles E. Carr will officiate at the service. The VFW Post No. 2366 memorial detail, assisted by the Evansville Honors Team, will conduct military graveside rites.


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