Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Family portraits # 2: Wonderful In-Laws

This picture is somewhat dated, but is a very good portrait of my wonderful in-laws, Olin and Katharine Westmoreland. Mama Katharine passed on in 2000 when an incompetent medical team missed a complication in a routine hospital procedure. She is greatly missed. She looked exactly like this picture (c. 1995?) at her death.

Olin, my father-in-law, now has a full grey beard and plays Santa for orphanages in Knoxville, TN. He is a retired pharmacist and a Naval veteran of WWII whose ship sank during the Battle of Midway. In the early years after the war, he served small communities in East TN where a pharmacist was the closest many came to seeing a medical doctor. He is a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.

My beloved, Kate, and I both share the experience of having been raised in other Christian denominations and later becoming Baptist by conviction. Kate was the only daughter with 3 brothers and parents much older than mine. So, when our courting became serious during seminary (late ’80s), not only her parents but also her brothers all gave me the 3rd degree to determine whether or not I was good enough for her. (The verdict was “no,” but they could see that Kate was going to marry me anyway.) Posted by Picasa


October 2, 2006 - Posted by | family


  1. Have you ever chastised Olin for taking part in ‘evil’ by being a member of the military and an active supporter in the war against Japan and Germany?

    Comment by Marcguyver | October 2, 2006

  2. No, nor my father (see below), either. Both know my views, however. I made no secret of them.
    If a family member chose to debate me, I obliged them, but I didn’t usually seek family disharmony.

    Olin told me once that, though he was happy about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the time (because it meant he could go home sooner), he later came to see the nuclear bombings as wholly unjustified. He also talked once of the numbers of men he knew who came home from WWII and said simply “never again.”

    But Olin is a very private man and does not like to talk about WWII at all. I know that he dislikes war movies.

    Are you going to tell me that there are no subjects with which you disagree with family members, but try to avoid fights? When I see Olin, it is almost always on a trip with my wife and daughters. Am I to ruin a trip to their Poppy’s house by picking an argument?

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | October 3, 2006

  3. I don’t know that I’ve ever “chastised” any particular member of the military, either, Marc. My position would not be one of feeling a need to chastise the individual so much as correcting a broken, abused system.

    Comment by Dan Trabue | October 3, 2006

  4. No, I’m not saying that at all, nor did I. I was simply curious if you have ever confronted him with his ‘inappropriate’ behavior by taking up arms against a foreign enemy on foreign soil and taking an active role in ‘murdering innocent thousands’.

    Comment by Marcguyver | October 11, 2006

  5. Oh, and I forgot, he also actively took a role in protecting our freedoms, the freedoms of others, ridding the world of pure evil, and securing mine and your future.

    But alas…that wouldn’t make for much ‘fun’ in debating his actions now would it?

    Comment by Marcguyver | October 11, 2006

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