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Pioneering minister Nokomis Yeldell dies at age 78 after 50-plus years of preach

MEMPHIS, TENN. — Born in Eureka, Texas, the eighth of 12 children, Yeldell studied preaching and boxing, but decided to give up the gloves and go behind the pulpit at the request of his fellow church members. He preached in Texas and Arizona before moving to the Vance Avenue church in Memphis in 1960. The congregation moved to Norris Road in 1988.
Yeldell also preached sermons on the radio and later television. His messages were heard in the Memphis area and in countries as far away as Sri Lanka and South Africa, said Michael Cruso, minister for the Norris Road church.
During his career in ministry, Yeldell also was instrumental in inventing a theft-proof collection plate. He worked to improve race relations among Churches of Christ, and his efforts led to an ongoing partnership between Norris Road and the White Station church in Memphis.
When he retired as full-time minister in 2001, the church renamed the educational wing of its building in Yeldell’s honor. Recently, the city of Memphis named the street in front of the church after him.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Dollie Pearl. Survivors include five children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Filed under: National Staff Reports

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