Guerrant remembered for life of service

Published 10:24 am Thursday, February 22, 2018

Wallace Guerrant carried a lot of titles in his life.

Minister. Reverend. Optician. Father. Church and ministry founder.

Guerrant, 77, passed away Friday after a five-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

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He was born in the Guerrant clinic, now the Bluegrass Heritage Museum, which stands in front of his home where he lived with his wife Lana. His father, Edward, was a doctor who ran the clinic.

Lana and Wallace met when she was 14 and he was 18, she said.

“He was bagging groceries at Kroger,” Lana said. “I came through the line with my mother and aunt. He said to the other bagger, ‘Do you know her?’ He said ‘Yes, I know her. Would you like her number?’”

Wallace called, but Lana wasn’t interested at that point in “Dr. Eddie’s son.”

“I wasn’t too excited for him to call,” she said. “We were going on a vacation anyway.”

When she got back, he called again and they talked for a while before he asked to see her. But he was about to leave on a two-week vacation, she said. They finally went to Jerry’s restaurant, which was a popular local hangout. The rest was history. They married in 1963 in Winchester.

Guerrant started as an epidemiologist for the state of Kentucky, a public health worker who tracked patterns and causes of disease. That lasted until he felt the call to ministry, and moved his family, including two children, to Springfield, Missouri, so he could attend Central Bible College. Guerrant graduated in 1974 and was ordained into the Assembly of God.

After returning to Winchester, he founded Covenant Assembly of God and led the congregation for several years before leaving to minister and visit people in hospitals, Hospice and nursing homes, Lana said. The church ultimately merged and became First Assembly of God.

“He had a good combination of medical (knowledge) and the Holy Spirit,” she said. “He’s led many people to Christ through the years. He led prayer services in people’s homes.”

He did this while handling the insurance and and billing in his father’s medical practice and after becoming an optician in 1983.

One day in 1989, Wallace came home from a Kiwanis Club meeting where the program was about adoption.

“He said, ‘Honey let’s have more children,’” Lana said.

Lana was opposed, but came around after much prayer and were led to Costa Rica, where they adopted four siblings between 6 and 12 years old. Later they adopted two more.

As the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren came, the Guerrants retired.

Five years ago, Wallace was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which slowly took its toll as he slowly lost his communication.

“He began to lose his nouns, then he lost his verbs,” Lana said. “The last two (years) there was completely no language.”

One of Wallace’s joys was singing in the choir at First United Methodist Church and in the Winchester Chorale. After his diagnosis, Wallace worked with the choir director on some music therapy. He was still able to sing, and was able to sing one more hymn in front of the church in the last year, she said.

“He loved people,” she said.

The visitation will be today from 6 to 8 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. Friday at the church.