Salem-Rev. Calvin G. Witham went home to be with the Lord on Sunday morning, January 3, 2021. He was surrounded by his loving family who helped fulfill his wishes of dying with dignity at home. Rev. Witham was 94 years old at the time of his death and is predeceased by his wife of 69 years Clara (Bonnie) Witham, their daughter Juanita L. Bardon and their son Gary L. Witham. He is survived by his daughters Cheryl Ehrlich of Salem, NY and Mary Etta Grabowski and her husband Edmund of Westfield, MA. He is also survived by his son Jerome (Jay) Witham of Rockland, MA and his wife Linda and numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and five great-great granddaughters, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Cal and Bonnie Witham met as country music entertainers and were very popular in the country music scene throughout New England, Canada and the east coast. Cal, also know as Dusty Cal Witham, was a champion yodeler and loved entertaining. He and Bonnie came to know the Lord as their personal Savior on the same day under the ministry of Pastor George Schilling (the man who led evangelist Jack Wyrtzen to the Lord). After attending the Providence Bible Institute Cal entered the gospel ministry and was ordained in 1964. He served several churches throughout New England and Upstate New York and, after retiring from the Open Bible Baptist Church in Cambridge, NY where he pastored for 18 years, he came out of retirement to pastor the Whiteside Church in the town of Cambridge for another four years.
On the last day that Cal Witham was truly alert, December 28, 2020, when it appeared that his death was imminent, the family gathered around his bedside. He then shared his own faith journey, beginning when he was five years old and decided to become a minister even though he had never been to a church, and continued the narrative that felt almost biblical (like Jacob blessing his sons as he prepared for his own death). He then sang “I Love Him Because He First Love Me” before concluding with a reminder that if we seek God, we will find Him as did he, and an exhortation to keep the faith. He did indeed keep that faith until his dying day.
Calling hours are Wednesday, January 6, 2021 from 4-6 pm at the Ackley, Ross & Gariepy Funeral Home, 73 West Main St., Cambridge.
Funeral services will be Friday, January 8, 2021 at 1:00 pm at the Calvary Baptist Church, 429 Monponsett St., Hanson, MA. Interment will follow in Fern Hill Cemetery in Hanson, MA.
Donations to Rockland Baptist Church, 200 Union St., Rockland, MA 02370 would be appreciated.
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