The Rev. Dr. L. Carroll Yingling Jr., a retired United Methodist Church minister and former superintendent of the Baltimore Northwest District, died of cancer Aug. 23 at the Charlestown retirement community. He was 87.
"He had a lot of strengths, and he loved the people wherever he served and they returned that love," said the Rev. Lon B. Chesnutt, a longtime friend who retired in 1999 from Hiss Memorial United Methodist Church in Parkville, where he had been pastor for many years.
"He focused on people and made them feel that they were the most important and only person in the room. He was an extrovert and drew his energy from other people," said Mr. Chesnutt.
The son of Lewis C. Yingling Sr., a banker, and Hilda Elliott Yingling, a homemaker, Lewis Carroll Yingling Jr. was born in Walbrook and later moved with his family to Wells Manor Avenue in Woodlawn.
A 1947 graduate of Catonsville High School, he earned his bachelor's degree in history in 1951 from the Johns Hopkins University. He subsequently decided to enter the ministry and earned a master's degree in divinity from Duke University.
In 1973, he earned a Ph.D. in ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, and did further graduate work at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, Yale Divinity School and Harvard Business School.
In 1952, he became a member of the Baltimore Annual Conference, which later became the Baltimore/Washington Annual Conference of the Methodist Church and is now the United Methodist Church.
He was ordained an elder by Bishop G. Bromely Oxnam and began pastoring Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church and Oakland United Methodist Church, both near Sykesville.
Dr. Yingling later pastored Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church in Owings Mills, St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Forest Park, and Christ United Methodist Church in Washington.
From 1974 to 1980, Dr. Yingling served as superintendent of the Baltimore Northwest District under the leadership of Bishop James K. Matthews.
He was elected by his peers as a member of six General Conferences and six Jurisdictional Conferences. He was also a delegate to five world Methodist conferences, held in London, Nairobi, Dublin, Singapore, and Brighton, England.
In 1980, he became pastor of Catonsville United Methodist Church, where he remained until retiring in 1992.
"Carroll was a very good preacher. He had the great ability of being able to preach to all age groups, whether they were kids or seniors," said Mr. Chesnutt. "He was well-suited to be a minister. He was able to deal with all kinds of people and personalities and their problems and needs as they came up."
During his career, Dr. Yingling served two exchange pastorates in England, in Mullion, Cornwall, in 1962 and Bury, Lancashire, in 1983.
Dr. Yingling was also active in the civil rights movement.
According to a biographical sketch that Dr. Yingling wrote, he "upset his mother when a story appeared in The Sun that he had testified before the Baltimore City Council in favor of the integration of bars in Baltimore."
He was an "early advocate of women's ordination, the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the life and ministry of the United Methodist Church," he wrote.
After retiring in 1992, he was trained by the Alban Institute in Washington in managing conflict resolution and subsequently worked with a team assessing United Methodist Church congregations throughout the region.
Dr. Yingling was an adjunct faculty member for the Community College of Baltimore County, where he taught courses in contemporary issues, biography and world religions. He also taught at Charlestown as part of the Elderhostel Lifelong Learning Programs.
In 1983, he was named to the board of the then-new Charlestown retirement community, serving for 23 years. The Catonsville resident moved to Charlestown in 2006.
"We served on the board at Charlestown and he was very forward-looking and had a lot of great ideas and where we needed to go to accommodate an aging population," said the Rev. Leo J. Larrivee, pastor of the Roman Catholic parish at Charlestown.
Dr. Yingling enjoyed sailing the Chesapeake Bay with his wife of 60 years, the former Phyllis Marie Stuckey, aboard their sailboat, Kairos.
A long-distance walker, he hiked the 160-mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the 500-mile El Camino de Santiago through France and Spain, which inspired him to write "One Million Footsteps Across Spain," chronicling the experiences of his journey.
He also completed the Canterbury Walk in England, the Napa Valley wineries, Provence in southern France, and Hadrian's Wall Path in the north of England.
In 1990, he and his wife built a vacation home on Cacapon Mountain near Berkeley Springs, W.Va., where they enjoyed "retreating and entertaining," he wrote.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 20 in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels at Charlestown, 715 Maiden Choice Lane.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Lewis C. Yingling III of Unityville, Pa.; a daughter, Deborah Beth Yingling of Falls Church, Va.; a brother, David Yingling of The Villages, Fla.; a sister, Lois Schwinger of Ponte Verde, Fla.; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun