The Blind Singing Evangelist

A historical Adventist with possibilities who was chosen for mission

Ernesto Douglas Venn
The Blind Singing Evangelist

Born in Caroline, New York, United States, on October 11, 1871, DeGrove Turk married Grace A. Shear (born November 3, 1876) on December 28, 1903, in Binghamton, New York. They joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 19071 and that same year reported their literature evangelism efforts.2 By 1908 we find a record of the Turks joining in evangelistic efforts as musicians at a tent meeting in Oneida, New York.3 The next year, 1909, Grace received her missionary license, and D. G. Turk was ordained to the gospel ministry.4 They continued to travel together preaching and singing the Word throughout the state of New York.5

He died at age 79 on May 15, 1951, and his wife died 15 years later, at age 90, on November 16, 1966. His obituary reads, in part, “Though Elder Turk was blind before his marriage, he and his wife were very musical and spent their talents in the Lord’s work. They helped in several tent and evangelistic efforts in which Brother Turk proved himself a convincing and powerful speaker. His faithful companion served as eyes to him in his sermon preparation. . . . With the exception of taking time off for evangelistic efforts in a number of New York cities, he served as pastor of the church in Binghamton for 25 years.”6

The ministry of the Turks is emblematic of how all are chosen for mission, and all are gifted, needed, and treasured.

1 “Obituaries,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, June 28, 1951, p. 22.

2 D. G. Turk, “Binghamton,” New York Indicator, Apr. 10, 1907, p. 2.

3 Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Webster and Mr. and Mrs. D. G. Turk, “Tent Meeting at Oneida,” New York Indicator, June 10, 1908, p. 3.

4 F. N. Johnson, “The 1909 Conference,” New York Indicator, Oct. 27, 1909, p. 2.

5 A meeting in Albany, New York: J. G. White, “General Meeting at Schenectady,” New York Indicator,
Apr. 14, 1909, p. 1; a meeting in Union, New York: “Notices and Appointments,” New York Indicator,
 Apr. 5, 1910, p. 4; a meeting in Willet, New York: R. E. Bliss, “Willet,” Atlantic Union Gleaner, Sept. 30, 1914, p. 6.

6 “Obituaries,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, June 28, 1951, p. 22.

Ernesto Douglas Venn