The Reverend Dudley Wayne Condron, 96, died September 14, 2021. He was born October 6, 1925, in Wagoner, Oklahoma, to William Cecil Condron and Ada Nevada Davidson, a Cumberland Presbyterian family. His parents were grocers and his father a part-time farmer. The Reverend O.N. Baucom baptized Dudley October 30, 1925, at the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Wagoner. In 1937, Dudley joined the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Muskogee, Oklahoma.
Dudley was educated in the public schools of Wagoner, Washington Irving Elementary and Central High School. He graduated from Central High in 1943 and joined the United States Navy. He served in the Pacific from 1943 to 1946.
After the war, in 1947, Dudley came under the care of Cherokee Presbytery. He was licensed by Cherokee Presbytery in 1948 and ordained in 1950. The Reverend Charles Hendershot preached the ordination sermon and the Reverend Minor Powers delivered the charge. After ordination, Dudley was variously a member of Elk, Cherokee, Northeast Oklahoma, Columbia, Hopewell, Memphis, White River, Obion, and West Tennessee Presbyteries.
Also in 1947, Dudley left Oklahoma to attend Bethel College (now Bethel University) in McKenzie, Tennessee. After leaving he mostly made his home in West Tennessee. Dudley graduated from Bethel in 1950 and continued to the Cumberland Presbyterian Theological Seminary (now Memphis Theological Seminary) which was then also located in McKenzie. He graduated from seminary in 1952 but continued to study toward a masters degree in theology in summer sessions at Sewanee: the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. In 1973, he received a Master of Divinity degree from Memphis Theological Seminary.
Dudley’s first supply pastorates were Cherokee and Mount Hester in Alabama while he was a Bethel student. Gum Springs, McLemoresville, Cool Springs, Mount Carmel, Belvedere, Elora, and Goshen in Tennessee followed. He was the organizing pastor of First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from 1955 to 1963, and supervised construction of the church building. Dudley then pastored the Trinity Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Shelbyville, Tennessee, followed by both First Church in McKenzie and Shiloh, just outside of town.
In 1966, Dudley joined the staff of the denominational Board of Missions as Director of the Division of Education for Mission. One of his primary responsibilities was editor of the Missionary Messenger. He supplied Flippen Cumberland Presbyterian Church as well as preaching at various Presbyterian and Reformed churches in the Memphis area while working for the Board of Missions. He continued to work for the Board of Missions until his retirement September 31, 1990. The November 1990 issue of the Missionary Messenger was the last under his editorial control.
August 18, 1950, Dudley married Carrie Lynette Hamilton, a member of a prominent Cumberland Presbyterian family in the Humboldt, Tennessee, area. They had three children, Robert Stephen, Cheryl Lynn, and James Alan. Dudley and Lynette divorced in 1974. James Alan Condron died in a fire in Somerville, Tennessee, April 17, 1983.
Partly as a means to cope with depression, what he called “self pity,” and partly because he felt called, Dudley turned to the fine arts. He enrolled in a sculpting class at the Memphis Academy of Arts and a year later switched to painting. “I’m not an artist, but I am a pretty good painter.” In 1990, Dudley enrolled in the University of Memphis and, as he told Memphis Magazine, “ground out” a degree in fine arts by 1995. “I was 70 when I received that degree and am grateful to the school for helping me better understand what it is that drives us painters to do this.”
“The passion to do art had to be born in me,” Dudley said. “Perhaps my grandmother played a part. She did beautiful pastel pictures. Or I may blame Fred Rawlinson for my sustained interest. Fred has been the premier water-colorist in Memphis for 50 years. I heard of him back in 1976, when he was teaching art courses at the Memphis Academy of Arts (later the Memphis College of Art). I joined his class and am blessed  to still have Fred as my mentor.”
Dudley’s art appeared in numerous exhibitions in the Memphis area, particularly after his retirement from the Board of Missions. In 2009, Dudley illustrated The Reverend Thomas Campbell’s book of humorous stories, Campbell’s Collection. In 2013, Dudley exhibited 35 paintings of Memphis for an exhibit at Circuit Playhouse. “I don’t believe there’s a more ‘paintable’ city in the world,” Dudley said. One of those paintings, Rivertown, appeared as the cover for the 2013 Memphis City Guide published by Memphis Magazine.
June 30, 1985, Dudley married Joyce Becton of Dyer, Tennessee. She had three children, Alicia, Leigh Anne, and Howard. Dudley and Joyce together attended the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Germantown in West Tennessee Presbytery. While Dudley was a member of presbytery, Joyce joined the church. They became a vital part of the congregation.