Rev. Melvin L. Schaper, Founder of SJCSS passed away

Reverend Melvin L. Schaper departed this life on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, at Ochelata, OK. Services will be held on Saturday, Aug. 22, at the Bible Holiness Church in Ochelata, at 10:00 AM. Graveside services will be at 4:00 PM on the same day at Mount Hope Cemetery in Independence, KS. Visitation will be on Friday, Aug. 21, 6:00 PM, at the Bible Holiness Church in Ochelata as well. Davis Family Funeral Home of Dewey, OK, in charge of arrangements.


Melvin Louis Schaper was born on Aug. 30, 1920 in Troy, MO, the first child of Albert Henry and Willie Mae (Conley) Schaper. He grew up on the family farm and was his father’s main helper. He was allowed to begin High School at age 18, after his younger siblings were able to help carry the load at home. After graduation he went on to college, obtaining several degrees.


He attended college at God’s Bible School and the University of Cincinnati, in Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1941-1943, then transfered to Greenville College, in Greenville Illinois. He earned the following degrees in Education and Theology: BA, Greenville College 1945; BD (now MDiv), Asbury Seminary 1947; ThM, Princeton Theological Seminary, 1948; and MS Ed, Pittsburg State Teachers College, 1962.


He later received an Honorary Doctorate of Ministries Degree from the College Department of God’s Bible School.


He was married to Carol Joy Firkins on November 11, 1948, in Downey CA, and they soon moved to Independence, Kansas, where they assisted in the founding of the Independence Bible School. Seven children were born into their loving home during their years at Independence; Nathan Louis, Ruth Elizabeth, Charles Melvin, Albert Keith, Stephen Neil, Quentin Philip and Kent Firkins.


In 1964, God called Melvin and Joy to the island of Grenada, where together they founded the St. John’s Christian Secondary School. Melvin also taught at Independence Junior College, Pittsburg State Teachers College Lab School, Kansas City College and Bible School, and God’s Bible School and College in Cincinnati OH.


He was a licensed minister of the Bible Holiness Church (formerly Fire Baptized Holiness Church) headquartered in Independence, Kansas, and a member of the Bible Holiness Church, Ochelata, OK. Reverend Schaper pastored churches in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and in Grenada, as well as serving on a variety of governing boards and leadership positions for his denomination. He also served on the Board of God’s Bible School in Ohio.


In 2001, Reverend and Mrs Schaper were honored by the Prime Minister and Governor General of Grenada for their outstanding service in the field of education in their nation. He was also recently given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Committee of the Grenada 2015 Award Week, as the Principal who had the most uplifting impact in Grenada during the decade of the 1970‘s.


One of the hardest days of his life was November 12, 2010, when God called his loving wife, Joy, home to heaven.


On Oct. 26, 2013 Melvin was united in marriage to Evalyn Rose Nielsen in Bethany, OK. For the last 22 months of his life, Evalyn beautified his home with her loving ways and beautiful paintings.


His first love, after God, was his family. He was a loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He enjoyed gardening, traveling and spending time with family and many friends.


He leaves to mourn: his wife, Evalyn, of the home; seven children, Nathan, Ruth, Charles, Albert, Stephen, Quentin and Kent; five daughters-in-law, Diane, Janette, Della, Lavonna and Pam; one son-in-law, Gary Schenck; 23 grandchildren; and 51 great-grandchildren, one sister, Irene Bergfeld, as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.


He also leaves his church family in both the U.S. and Grenada, as well as present and past students and faculty of the Independence Bible School, St. John's Christian Secondary School and God's Bible School.


He was preceded in death by his wife, Carol Joy Schaper, his parents, one sister, Mildred Miller, three brothers, Benjamin, Albert Jr, and John, and one great-grandson, Austin Hollenbeck.


Memorials have been established with the Independence Bible School, Independence, KS, St. John’s Christian Secondary School, Gouyave, St. John’s Grenada, and God’s Bible School, Cincinnati, Ohio