Thursday, December 26, 2013

Remembering Dr. Norman Vincent Peale May 31, 1898 - December 24, 1993

"You can make your life what you want it to be through belief in God and in yourself"

"Never talk defeat.  Use words like hope, belief, faith, victory."

"It is of practical value to learn to like yourself.  Since you must spend so much time with yourself you might as well get some satisfaction out of the relationship."

"Always remember that problems contain values that have improvement potential."

"Successful and happy living is built into you by God who created you.  If you have never experienced this kind of life, maybe you need to be re-created."

These are just a few of the many quotes spoken and written by the author of "The Power of Positive Thinking."  These quotes were taken from the memorial program of one of America's most memorable television pastors and motivational speakers.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale is best known for his belief in positive thinking.  He believed that a person's life can be transformed by his own attitudes and the way we look at life.

Peale was born in Bowersville, Ohio and was the eldest of three boys.  His dad was a physician who later became a Methodist minister.  After graduating from Bellefontaine High School, he enrolled in Ohio Wesleyan University.  He always had a love for writing.  While in college,
he worked during the summers for the Ohio Morning Republican in Findlay, Ohio.  Following graduation, he took a job with the Detroit Journal.  It was later that Peale decided to follow in his dad's footsteps.  He decided to pursue a theological degree and enrolled in Boston University.  Following his ordination in the ministry, Dr. Peale began to gain a reputation as a dynamic pastor.  The churches that he served had terrific growth.  While pastoring the University Methodist Church in Syracuse, Peale met and married his wife and life partner, Ruth with whom he was married for 63 years.

When Peale was 34, he accepted a position at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, New York.  It was there that he remained for the duration of his ministry.  The church grew and expanded.  It became widely known outside the City of New York and the destination of tourists visiting New York City.  During his years in the Marble church, Peale launched innovative programs and established a weekly radio broadcast called "The Art of Living" that continued for 54 years.  He also established  the
Institutes of Religion and Health.  He and his wife Ruth also began publishing a magazine called "Guideposts" that continues to be popular years after his death.  The magazine is the world's largest inspirational, interfaith publication.  The publishing of Peale's sermons grew into the Peale Center for Christian Living in Pawling, New York.

Over his career, Dr. Peale authored 46 books that included (his fourth book) the all-time best seller "The Power of Positive Thinking."  He was also a popular motivational speaker that was invited to share his message all over the world.  His life story was turned into a 1963 movie called "One Man's Way"  Peale stayed active on the tour circuit until the age of 93.  Over his lifetime, it is estimated that he reached 20,000,000 people.  He was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan.  Peale also co-founded the Horatio Alger Association that continues to recognize and honor Americans who have been successful in spite of difficult circumstances.

It has been said of him "Dr. Peale does not just preach the Bible, he preaches life."  He is remembered most for his love of people."  Billy Graham said of Peale "I don't know of anyone who has done more for the kingdom of God than Norman and Ruth Peale or have meant any more in my life for the encouragement they have given me."

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale died following a stroke on December 24, 1993 at the age of 95.
Peale's funeral program

His funeral was held on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 1993 at his beloved Marble Collegiate Church (program pictured).  His service included many of his favorite hymns including Handel's Messiah, Jesus Loves Me, and Faith of Our Fathers and his service included many memories spoken by his family.
Peale's resting place

Dr. Peale was laid to rest in the Christ Church Cemetery in Pawling, New York.  The epitaph on his monument (pictured) include the words Author-Pastor-Counselor-Friend

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