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Otis Clark, world's oldest traveling preacher, dies at 109

This photo of Otis Clark was taken in April 2012 outside his home in Federal Way. He was 109 years old. - Andy Hobbs/Federal Way Mirror
This photo of Otis Clark was taken in April 2012 outside his home in Federal Way. He was 109 years old.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/Federal Way Mirror

Federal Way resident Otis Clark, the world's oldest traveling preacher, has died at age 109.

Clark died Sunday, May 20, according to his website lifeenrichmentinc.com.

Last month, The Mirror reported that Clark was preparing for a Pentecostal revival in Nigeria in January 2013. Church leaders from Africa expect the revival to attract more than a million people and transform Christianity across the continent. Clark was seen by many as the modern spiritual leader for Pentecostalism.

Clark was a living witness of the denomination’s roots, which date back to the early 1900s in Los Angeles with the Azusa Street Revival. This revival, led by African American preacher William J. Seymour, is credited as the main catalyst for the Pentecostal movement.

Clark converted to Christianity at age 25 while in a Los Angeles jail for selling bootleg whiskey during the Prohibition era. While in Los Angeles, Clark was heavily involved in the Azusa Street Mission and the first Pentecostal church in America. He was later given power of attorney to the Azusa mission, and worked to keep it open after Seymour died.

Clark was born Feb. 13, 1903, in pre-statehood Oklahoma. A news station from Oklahoma reports that Clark was the oldest survivor of the 1921 Tulsa race riot, considered the worst race riot in U.S. history.

Up until his death, he was in excellent health. Clark had all of his teeth except one, which he claimed was accidentally pulled by a dentist. He wore glasses when reading, but did not use hearing aids and did not take any medications. Clark did not need a walking aid or cane.

He spent his last years traveling across the United States and world, preaching his faith. Clark credited his longevity to faith in God, and was known for telling people: “If you’re on God’s side, you’re on the right side."

To learn more about funeral services and memorial donations, visit lifeenrichmentinc.com.

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