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Article Published: Friday, August 29, 2003 - 12:00:00 AM MST 
By Virginia Culver, Denver Post Staff Writer


Donald Wolfram moved souls

Donald Wolfram, who was an early participant in religious street meetings in Lower Downtown Denver, died Monday of pancreatic cancer. 

Wolfram, 83, was a lifelong member of the Pillar of Fire Church, and as a young man, he joined other members for religious meetings in downtown Denver. The meetings resembled those of the Salvation Army, with a band and speaker. Wolfram usually played the trumpet or trombone, said his daughter, Suzanne Wolfram. Eventually, he learned to play about a dozen instruments, she said.

The speaker for those meetings was Alma White, who founded the church in Denver in 1901. White was a great-aunt of Wolfram.

"Donald was a gifted, forceful man, a gentleman and a fervent guy," said Bishop Robert Dallenbach, president and general superintendent of the Pillar of Fire. Wolfram was immediate past president and general superintendent of the Pillar of Fire when he died.

Dallenbach said Wolfram was there when the Pillar of Fire opened its first radio station in March 1931 in Zarephath, N.J., where the church has had its headquarters for many years.

For several years, Wolfram spoke twice a day and gave sermons and Bible lessons on New Jersey station WAWZ. He later did the same on the church's Denver station, KPOF.

He taught all his adult life at the church-owned school, Belleview College, in Westminster, which is also the location of KPOF.

Wolfram "never retired from the ministry," said his daughter.

He went to a church camp meeting early this month in New Jersey and preached at Alma Temple, a Pillar of Fire congregation, just weeks before his death.

Wolfram often traveled for the church, visiting missionaries all over the world.

His faith never wavered. "There was simply no question about his beliefs," said his daughter. In his sermons, he often said, "You have heaven to gain and hell to shun."

"He lived his faith every moment," said Suzanne Wolfram.

Wolfram loved to learn. Once when Belleview College needed a German teacher, he quickly took German so he could teach it.

An avid skier, he took Belleview students on skiing trips for 55 years, including this past winter. He was an excellent swimmer and taught lifesaving classes.

Donald Justin Wolfram was born in Zarephath, N.J., on Nov. 13, 1919. He was ordained to the ministry at 16.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Alma White College in Zarephath, a master's in education from Columbia University and his doctorate in education from the University of Denver.

He married Phyllis Hoffman in 1948. She died in 1985.

Services will be 10 a.m. Saturday at Alma Temple, 1340 Sherman St.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by a son, the Rev. Phillip Wolfram of Westminster; three daughters, Charlene Maines and Donna Reiner, both of Thornton, and Lorraine Lepley of Baltimore; and 14 grandchildren.

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This page last updated 09-09-2003;  ©2003, Pillar of Fire; All rights reserved. The Denver Post is the copyright owner for the obituary article.