“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” Philippians 1:21
A devoted servant of God, Barbara Jean Biddle lived her life to the fullest. She passed away January 16, 2012. She was 68 years old.
Born July 4, 1943 to the parents of Elder James and Rosalie Freeman, Biddle was raised in a Christian home by her grandparents, the late Deacon George and Helen Warford Sr., who gave her the foundation to become one of God’s most faithful servants.
She was saved and filled with the Holy Ghost as a child and continued her godly walk at Rehoboth Tabernacle COGIC under the pastorate of the late Elder Virdell Wallace and Mother Mary Wallace, (her aunt). In her early years as a believer, Bishop Charles Harrison Mason, who was founder of the Church of God In Christ, prayed for her. This was an experience that remained deeply meaningful throughout her life.
As a teen, Barbara was active in the church serving as Secretary, member of the Usher Board and a dedicated participant in the State YWCC.
After graduating from North Division High School in 1959, she met the love of her life, Denver Biddle. The year that ensued was full of love, laughter and making plans for a future together. In 1960, the two were united in holy matrimony.
To this union five beautiful children were born; Shonda, Twyla, Denver Jr., Tatia and Kimberly Joi. Denver and Barbara raised their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord and gave them no ceiling as to life’s opportunities thus challenging them to be whatever God wanted them to be.
Throughout her career, Barbara was a devoted public servant. She worked with the Internal Revenue Service then found a home with the US Postal Service in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she first realized her management potential. She spent 33 years with the agency, rising through the ranks from Mail Clerk to General Supervisor. During her tenure, she garnered the reputation of a feared, competent and no-nonsense manager.
Barbara continued being a devoted and dedicated member of Rehoboth under Elder Virdell Wallace and Superintendent R.V. Mills, faithfully serving in a number of capacities. In the church’s Women’s Department, she instituted a special recognition plaque commemorating “Unsung Heroes.” She served Wisconsin First Jurisdiction as State Registrar, State Puritan President and State Evangelist under the leadership of Bishop Sedgwick Daniels and Supervisor Billie Jo Thomas.
Being a true ambassador of Christ, Evangelist Barbara Biddle took God’s word and her love for Him outside of the church walls. She founded CHOSEN Ministries (Christ Has Ordained Sisters to Evangelize Now), to give guidance and support to woman in need. She also formed several bible study groups for new believers.
To further her ministerial knowledge, she attended the C.H. Mason Bible College under the tutelage of Mother Beatrice Reynolds. She was always willing to spread and teach God’s word. Evangelist Barbara, along with Elder Jeffery Rideout, was instrumental in having a portion of Hadley Street renamed Elder Virdell Wallace Drive, in honor of Rehoboth’s founding pastor.
Evangelist Biddle had a great love for God’s people and a spirit of Evangelism. There wasn’t anyone that Evangelist Barbara would not witness to, encourage, counsel or help. Her testimony was God could save anyone and that God could do anything but fail. She believed in living by precept and example. She carried God’s word with a unique boldness. She never tried to take glory for herself, but she began every testimony with, “TO GOD BE THE GLORY”.
She was preceded in death by her husband Denver and sister Norma Jean Freeman. She leaves to celebrate her life four daughters, Shonda Biddle, Twyla (Herman) Carnie, Tatia Biddle, Kimberly Joi Biddle; One son, Denver (Eulandria) Biddle; ten grandchildren, two great-grandchildren. Brothers George (Rita) Warford, David and Robert Bleadsoe, Arthur (Kim) Brown, James “Ricky”Freeman, Freemon and David Freeman; Sisters Betty (Clarence) Cooper, Helen (Steven) Lewis, Yvette Freeman; her special daughters, Lisa (Elliot) Torrence and Kim Bradley; and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, relatives and friends.
Services for Barbara Jean Biddle were held Monday, January 23 at Holy Redeemer Institutional COGIC, 3500 W. Mother Daniels Way, where Bishop Sedgwick Daniels is pastor. The Rev. Dr. Steven D. Lewis, of True Vine Missionary Baptist Church, in Dixmoor, IL, officiated the services.