Floral 20


Barbara I. Rouse

November 11, 1931 ~ July 4, 2018 (age 86)

Barbara Ilar Johnston Rouse born on Wednesday, November 11, 1931 in Statesville, North Carolina, is the eldest daughter of the late Robert Jenkins Johnston and the late Sallie Lucille McCall Johnston.  She went from labor to reward on Wednesday, July 4, 2018, at her home in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. 

Mother Rouse spent her childhood in Dover, North Carolina.  As the eldest of nine children, she took her role as leader with pride and joy.  She was well loved and respected by her siblings all of her life.  Mother Rouse was an excellent student and voracious reader.  She often stated that her mother enjoyed giving her several new books at one time and she would finish them in one night!  Her mother wanted them to last a little longer, but fostered her love for reading. 

Mother learned and gleaned much from her phenomenal parents.  Her mother was an exquisite homemaker and her father a gifted educator, itinerate preacher and skilled craftsman. She fined tuned her skills in cooking, sewing and enjoying poetry through her mother.  Her peach cobbler was always in high demand and her dressmaking, flawless.  Her passion for gardening was cultivated through her father.  Both parents wisely encouraged her to get an education. 

Mother Rouse attended Dover Elementary School and received her high school diploma from Newbold Training School.  She continued her education at North Carolina College culminating in receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics/Education.  She took advance courses in education at Kean University and several other institutions.  She was very proud that four generations of her family had received degrees in higher education.  Mother Rouse encouraged everyone to study. She even offered financial assistance to anyone who told her they were pursuing a doctorate degree.

On June 12, 1954, Mother Rouse married the love her life Willie S. Rouse, Sr, later to be known as Elder Rouse and now, Bishop Rouse. They dated six years prior to this blessed date.  He playfully claims that “she wooed me” for those years.  She often states she received “the worse whipping in her life” because of him. Backstory:  As second graders, her father, the principal of the school, caught them spectating an “altercation”.  He rounded up the scattering offenders—she was not as quick as he. You can imagine the conclusion!  Fast forward Sixty-four years, everybody knows she was the “cream in his coffee” and he was her “sugar lump”. God added to this strong, loving union three children—Willie Jr, Phyllis Mae and Deirdre Lucille.   

Mother Rouse’s early career positions included nursery school teacher, Burry Biscuit employee and United States postal worker.  In 1969, she realized her ambition to become an home economics teacher with the Newark Board of Education.  Her career spanned until 1996, and she had the repeated pleasure of teaching multiple generations of the same family. It delighted her to see her students’ children in her class. She took great pride in seeding into the lives of young people.

Mother Rouse was always active in church.  In her youth, she was a member of First Baptist Church at which her father was the pastor.  She served as a church delegate or representative and was responsible for giving detailed narratives of church gatherings.  After her marriage, she and her husband relocated to Newark, NJ, and were members of St Luke Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ and were founding members of the Emmanuel Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ.  In 1971, God called Bishop Rouse to the pastorate at Fountain Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, in Brooklyn, NY.  She was an active leader in the Northeastern District Assembly of the Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ. 

In 1975, she stood beside her husband as he became the founding pastor of The Rose of Sharon Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ in Brooklyn, NY.  At the Rose of Sharon, Mother Rouse served as an officer as well as a member of various choirs, the Missionary Board, Mother Board, Usher Board, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School Director, Trustee Board and corporate Secretary.  She mentored and trained young people in how to serve faithfully.  Mother also shared wisdom, knowledge and love with many First Ladies in churches throughout the United States.  In 2006, Mother Rouse was ordained as Evangelist Barbara Rouse.  She preached the gospel with power and conviction.

First Lady and Mother, Evangelist Barbara Ilar Rouse was well rounded.  She understood that ministry should be to the whole man. For fun, she loved to play games.  Scrabble opponents had to be on point!  Other games she enjoyed were “The Game of Life”, “Racko”, “Boggle”, “Sudoku”, word search, picture and crossword puzzles. Mother Rouse was fond of travelling and family outings. She enjoyed life, smiled often, and served God passionately. 

She was preceded in death by her son, Willie Jr and son-in-law, Lawrence Bernard; great-granddaughter, Anastasia; brothers Denver, Robert and James.  She leaves to cherish her love and wisdom her husband of 64 years, Bishop Willie S. Rouse, Sr; daughters Phyllis of PA, Deirdre (Jimmy) of PA; grandchildren, Keli (Kevin) of NJ, Lori of NJ, Kymberley (Reginald) of VA, Veronica Ilar (Oliver) of PA, Alicia of PA, Jimmy of AR, Natasha of AR, Joi of PA, Daniel of PA; great-grandchildren, Makayla of PA, Christopher of NJ, Alyssa of NJ; sisters, Gwendolyn (Eugene) of GA, Peggy of NC, Alice of NC, Pearl (Earless) of NC, Sandra (Alexander) of NC; god-children, David of NJ, Ericka of NY and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

Homegoing Services will take place on Sunday July 15, 2018 at 5PM in Rose of Sharon Church of Christ 120 S. 12th Street Easton, PA.  Viewings will be held in the church on Saturday from 2-6PM and Sunday from 4-5PM.  Interment will take place on Monday in Graceland Memorial Park, Kenilworth, NJ.


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