This Week in Texas Methodist History April 16
Tragedy Strikes Opening Night of 1968 General Conference, Rev. and Mrs. D. L. Landrum, Jr., Killed in Plane Crash April 21, 1968
Sunday, April 21, 1968 was the opening of the historic General Conference that would result in the creation of the United Methodist Church through the uniting of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Unfortunately as the delegates recessed from the evening session, they learned that a tragic plane crash has killed the Rev. and Mrs. D. L. Landrum, Jr. of First Methodist Wichita, Kansas. The pastor’s father, D. L. Landrum, Sr., was a delegate to the conference and the District Superintendent of the Palestine District of the Texas Conference.
The younger Landrum was born in Houston in 1928. He attended Southwestern University and Perkins School of Theology. He served pastorates in the Texas Conference including Milano Circuit, Calvert, Joaquin, Brookshire, and in 1958 was appointed to organize a new church in west Houston, Memorial Drive. That church grew rapidly and soon became one of the largest churches in the conference. In May 1967 he transferred to First Methodist Wichita.
Wichita is known for its aviation industry and the large number of private citizens who own airplanes. One of the church members offered his private plane for D. L. and Betty Landrum to visit friends in Houston for a weekend, and then stop in Dallas to visit other friends at the General Conference. Their two children, Laura Lee (11) and Lawrence (10) remained in Wichita. They were only seven miles from Wichita when the plane crashed.
There were two services. Bishop McFerrin Stowe led a service at First (now United) Methodist Church in Wichita. At Memorial Drive UMC Rev. Charles Williams, who had replaced Rev. Landrum, Bishop Stowe, and Bishop Paul Martin conducted another funeral service.