Michigan Conference
United Methodist Archives


Search Website

Adrian College:

Detroit Conference United Methodist Archives Facebookemail

Albion College:

Detroit Conference United Methodist Archives Facebookemail

<< Back to West Michigan Conference Cane

Alvin G. Doten

ag doten

28 October 1888 – 13 March 1986
Conference Cane: 1980
Age at death: 97 years, 4 months

The Reverend Alvin (Papa) Doten

Alvin (Papa) Doten, 97, of Traverse City, died March 13, 1986 at Munson Medical Center. He was born October 28, 1888, in Lapeer, to William E. and Amelia (Smith) Doten. A graduate of Standish Normal College in teaching, as well as Albion College and Garrett Seminary, he served as a United Methodist minister for 76 years.

He began his ministry in Midland in 1910. He married Iva Lisk on December 27, 1910, in Auburn. He served several churches including Empire where a new church building was constructed during his appointment. He spent 11 years in the Upper Peninsula where he was known as the U.P. Sky Pilot, traveling largely by train as a missionary to begin new congregations on a circuit of 14 churches, stretching across the length of the Upper Peninsula.

Alvin retired in 1956, and returned to active pastoring in 1957, at the Williamsburg Circuit, People's Church of Kalkaska in 1967, and Empire from 1971 to 1977. He married Alice E. Foster on October 12, 1968, in Grand Rapids. She survives. He chaired two Detroit Annual Conference memorial services and was the holder of the West Michigan Conference Cane as the oldest member of the Conference. He was author of a book titled, "God, Grit and Humor."

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Marian Dyer of Rochester, Indiana, and Doreen Johnson of San Diego, California; one step-son, Murray Foster of Empire; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Iva, in 1965, and his son, Rev. Donn Doten, former editor of the Michigan Christian Advocate, in 1982. Funeral services were held at Central United Methodist Church, Traverse City, on March 17, 1986, with Rev. Leon Andrews, Grand Traverse District Superintendent, Dr. David Crawford, senior pastor of Central Church, and Rev. William Hertel, minister of Asbury Church of Traverse City, officiating.

- West Michigan Annual Conference minutes of 1986, p. 270