Retired prof mixes fun, ministry - Word&Way

Retired prof mixes fun, ministry

SPRINGFIELD — Retirement for Wyman Grindstaff of Springfield has meant trading one joy for another.

Wyman Grindstaff (center) clowns around with Janice and Ed Ksara as they prepare a meal in the kitchen at University Heights Baptist Church, Springfield. (University Heights Baptist Church photo)

For 36 years, Grindstaff took great joy in his career as a chemistry professor at Missouri State University. Now he finds that joy and fulfillment as treasurer, a cook, a teacher and a Primetimers leader at University Heights Baptist Church.

"I especially want to do what I enjoy, and I enjoy all these things I'm doing," he laughed.

Enjoyment, though, is only one reason he volunteers. "I want to keep busy, but I want to do something that will make a difference and be helpful to other people.

A member of University Heights for 13 years, Grindstaff used his chemistry background to provide illustrations or "chem-magic" for Sunday School classes or as attention-getters for student groups.

The church's nominating committee approached him about taking over the treasurer's post about 10 years ago when the previous treasurer stepped down. "A chemist doesn't mind working with numbers," he said, so he agreed.

Since taking the position, Grindstaff has recruited and trained others. "Now we have several assistant treasurers," he said, who benefit from the financial secretary's leadership.

One thing Grindstaff wanted to do in retirement is learn to cook. "Chemistry is a whole lot like cooking. Chemists cook up things," he laughed. "I like those big one-pot meals…and I like to tackle new things."

His kitchen prowess now benefits the church, particularly his Sunday School class and the Primetimers, the congregation's mature adult group. He volunteers to cook the church's Wednesday night fellowship meals, provides corned beef on St. Patrick's Day, grills hamburgers before church members head out to Springfield Cardinals' home baseball games and participates in the church's annual chili cook-off.

Grindstaff teaches a Bible study class of about 65 to 70 members. "We have a very loving Sunday School class," he said.

The group ministers through contributions to the church's scholarship to students in Nicaragua, Grand Oaks Camp and other projects. Each year, he treats his class to a Christmas meal.

A member of the church's rotating board of deacons, he currently is on the active list, ministering in several ways. The Primetimers president organizes day trips and, for the past five years, has "loosely organized" a cruise each fall. This year, participants will head to the Mediterranean.

While he doesn't minister for praise, church leaders have noticed his volunteerism. "He does all of this without seeking public recognition, and he never seems to tire," member Bob Perry noted.

But Grindstaff points to many others who minister as well. "We have a bunch of good workers in our Primetimers, our church and our Sunday School class," he said. "I'm just a helper with a lot of good people I work with."