President Tim Warner in the 1970s
by Zebadiah Demorest, Publications and Promotions Coordinator
This month we are featuring another prominent faculty member and leader from the Fort Wayne campus: former president of Fort Wayne Bible College, Dr. Timothy Warner. Born during the depression, Dr. Tim was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II shortly after graduating high school. While in Europe, Dr. Tim served as a chaplain’s assistant. To read more about his World War II service and experiences in an article written by Kayleen Reusser g82,click here, or request a copy of her most recent printed publication, Battle of the Bulge: Stories from Those Who Fought and Survived (2021), by visiting her website here.
After serving in the war, Dr. Tim came back to the United States and enrolled in Taylor University. During his junior year at Taylor, Dr. Tim became friends with Evangeline Witmer, daughter of then FWBC president S.A. Witmer. In 1950, Dr. Tim married Evangeline, and together they went on to study at the Biblical Seminary in New York. Evangeline passed away suddenly in 1951 due to illness, and two years later Dr. Witmer invited Tim to join the staff of FWBC. Dr. Tim accepted the offer but resigned after two years to serve as a missionary in Africa in 1956 with his new wife, Eleanor Neuenschwander. (To hear a song by Dr. Tim and Eleanor, click here)
Dr. Tim served in Sierra Leone primarily as a general missionary under the Missionary Church. During his time there, he also served as educational secretary of the mission and engaged in translation and publishing activities as a member of the United Christian Council Literature Committee. On his first furlough from mission work, Dr. Tim was asked by FWBC president Jared Gerig to serve on the Missions Department faculty for one year. Although he loved teaching, Dr. Tim intended to return to Africa after his year of service at FWBC. One year of service, however, turned into two, and he ended up serving ten years as the chairman of the Department of Missions. Even though he himself was unable to go back to Africa during this time, under his leadership, the percentage of foreign missionary appointments increased by 50 percent at FWBC.
President Warner in 1974, looking out of his office window in Witmer
After a sabbatical leave from the college in 1966-1967, during which time he earned his Doctor of Education degree from Indiana University, Dr. Tim returned to the college in 1968 and was appointed Academic Dean. In 1971, he became president of the College. In his nine years (1971-80) of service as president of FWBC, Dr. Tim expanded the public image of the college. He served on the Committee of 24 at the Chamber of Commerce which dealt primarily with human development and civil rights issues. He was a board member for the Fort Wayne Rotary Club, Urban Youth Ventures, and Fort Wayne Youth for Christ. He also sang with a group called “The Faculty Four,” which was comprised of Dr. Tim, Ira Gerig, Tom Zehr, and Harlan Wright. To hear a piece from the faculty four, click here. In addition, Dr. Tim led in the preparation and promotion for the establishment of WBCL-FM (which stands for “We Broadcast Christ’s Love”), the radio ministry of FWBC which still exists today, fulfilling their name with broadcasts to the tri-state area over the airwaves and worldwide through their website.
The Faculty Four: Tom Zehr, Timothy Warner, Harlan Wright, and Ira Gerig (left to right)
Dr. Timothy Warner left a significant impact on FWBC. Three of his children graduated from the campus of Fort Wayne Bible College: Gwen (Warner) DeSelm g78, Marcus Warner g82, and Cheryl (Warner) Jore g71. Over the years, all three have served faithfully in ministry positions, following the pattern set by their dad. Dr. Tim was loved and respected by both students and colleagues at FWBC and left a lasting impact on many lives through his service. We give thanks to God for Dr. Tim and his service to our college and alumni.