Fannie May and Ryburn Stancil were straight-laced and proper even by 1950’s standards. He was pastor of Fieldale Baptist Church and she was his partner in ministry in the truest sense of the word. Although they looked like a boring couple, they had extensive influence on the young people in our congregation and in the community because each individual knew they cared and they were interested in the concerns of the person. Mrs. Stancil was the young people’s Training Union leader, which met every Sunday evening, and we learned about and discussed church polity, church history, and how to live a Christian life. Mrs. Stancil was very straightforward in her advice as to how we should live our lives, placing special emphasis on the perception of others.
During their ministry, ten young people from our small church were pictured in the Religious Herald as having dedicated their lives to Christian ministry. I was not one of the ten, but I knew and admired all of them and wanted to emulate their dedication. When I left Fieldale to attend Bluefield Junior College, Mr. Stancil left to become the Bible professor there and Mrs. Stancil became the Dean of Women. It was somewhat worse than taking your parents to college with you, but they continued to be my mentor and the mentor of an extended number of young people. Although they had no children of their own, their quiet and dedicated righteousness bore fruit and spread throughout the land.