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Sarah F. Hemphill

Posted By DeBord Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory On May 1, 2018 @ 9:13 am In Obituaries | 9 Comments

Hemphill obituary image web

Sarah Francis (Foster) Hemphill of the Willow Valley Communities in Lancaster PA passed on to be with her Lord on Friday, April 27, 2018 at The Glen at Willow Valley Communities, Lancaster, PA.  Born October 18, 1925 on a dairy farm in West Goshen Township, PA, she was the youngest of four children born to Robert and Elizabeth Seymour Foster.  While she was very young the family moved to Havertown, PA where she attended public schools and graduated from Haverford Township High School in l943. She was then employed by Smith, Kline and French Laboratories in Philadelphia and took evening classes at the Pearce Business School and the Philadelphia Bible College until she was married to William Hemphill Jr. on February 14, 1948.

In May of that year she and Bill moved to East New Market on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where he began his pastoral ministry in The United Methodist Church.  In addition to serving the three churches on this circuit, Bill traveled to Philadelphia two days a week to attend classes at the Temple University School of Theology while Sarah stayed home to take care of the administrative matters of the churches.  She soon became involved in volunteer activities: teaching Sunday School, working with Women’s groups, pianist for the High School choral group, etc.  As two sons were born to the family in the next 8 years and her husband was appointed to other churches, these activities varied to include work with the scouting program.  She was an outstanding Cub Scout Den Mother, but Sarah’s primary focus was always as homemaker for the family.

Sarah had the gift of being a good listener and of quietly sharing her faith with others. During her husband’s 41 years of full-time ministry she constantly undergirded his work in such a way that he described it as a “team ministry”. While living in the Wilmington area Sarah was a member of P.E.O. and briefly chaired its Scholarship Committee. She also enjoyed participation in the Brandywine Hundred Garden Club.  After Bill’s retirement, the couple moved to West View Shores in Cecil County Maryland where for 13 years they enjoyed life on the Chesapeake Bay and became active in the Elkton United Methodist Church while Bill served as part-time Associate Pastor.  In 2001 they moved to the Willow Valley Retirement Community of Lancaster and affiliated with First United Methodist Church there.

Sarah was predeceased by her parents and her three siblings:  Violet, Robert and Edward.  In addition to her husband, she is survived by her son William Bruce Hemphill and his wife Dorothy of Earleville, Maryland and by her son Robert Mark Hemphill and his spouse Scott Shrader of West Hollywood, California; by her grandson Dr. Richard J. Harrison, Jr. of Indian Harbour Beach, Florida and by her granddaughter Katherine H. Betterly and her husband Luke Betterly of Wilmington, Delaware, and by three very active great- grandsons:  William, Grayson, and Xavier.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, May 5, at 11:00 a.m. in the Johnson Auditorium of Manor North of The Willow Valley Communities, 600 Willow Valley Square, Lancaster, PA.

A private Interment will be at the Arlington Cemetery in Upper Darby, PA.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts could made to The United Methodist Committee on Relief, c/o First United Methodist Church, 29 East Walnut St., Lancaster, PA  17602 or to the Building Fund of that Church.  To leave an online condolence for the family, please visit: www.DeBordSnyder.com

Condolences for the family of “Sarah F. Hemphill”

Condolence from Robert W. Starrett on May 1st, 2018 1:30 pm

Sarah was a wonderful woman. She was nice and friendly. I knew her and Bill, her husband, through a collegial relationship in the ministry of the United Methodist Church. Sarah was a powerful witness for Christ as a wife of a distinguished pastor. Her children “rise up and call her blessed,” no doubt. You made your mark, Sarah.

Condolence from James Close on May 1st, 2018 2:13 pm

Very sorry for your loss Bruce. May God bless your Mother, and you and your family.

Condolence from Susan H. Griesbach — HUMC on May 2nd, 2018 7:23 am

Dear Rev. Hemphill and Family,

I am so very sorry to read of Mrs. Hemphill’s passing. My sympathies to all of you but as someone told me, for Christians, death is not a loss — only a separation. I will look forward to seeing her again in Glory.

Condolence from John Holden on May 2nd, 2018 11:09 am


Since my wife died last summer, I know more of the difficulty of your coming months. Welcome God’s love and support directly and through your family and friends. That will help.

Sorry, I cannot come to support you, yet.

John Holden

Condolence from Jack and Melva Smith on May 2nd, 2018 7:05 pm

Dear Rev. Hemphill and Family,

We were so sorry to hear of Mrs. Hemphill’s passing; we remember her fondly from your years of ministry at St. Paul’s. Please be assured of our prayers during this difficult time.

Jack and Melva Smith

Condolence from Joe and Anna Walls on May 3rd, 2018 9:18 am

Mrs. Hemphill was a lovely, warm and kind lady. Always friendly to talk to and always smiled at you.
Both Mr and Mrs Hemphill knew you by name even though you may not see them very often.
Our love goes out to the family and friends she will be missed very much.
Our prayers and sympathy are with the family especially Mr. Hemphill

Condolence from Scott Ackerson on May 3rd, 2018 9:22 am

Bill and Hemphill Family:

Elisabeth and I have wonderful memories of Sarah. She was cheerful and kind. We remember fun times at the Hemphill cottage on the Chesapeake.

We will keep you all in our prayers …

Elisabeth and Scott Ackerson

Condolence from Henry & Mary wentz on May 5th, 2018 3:52 pm

I was sorry to read of the death of Sarah. She was a kind lady who must have been great help to you during your active pastoral life and continued to be after retirement. May God bless you and your family and may your faith help you and your family at this difficult time.

Condolence from Babe Quintrall on May 14th, 2018 10:08 am

I am sorry for your loss of Sarah. May the “God of all comfort” embrace you and bring to your minds joyful memories. (2 Corinthians 1:3,4) All the best wishes for your family at this time, take care.

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