Tal McNutt Homegoing

Tolbert "Tal" McNutt (1923 - 2010)


October 17, 1923 – October 19, 2010

Tolbert (affectionately known as “Tal”) McNutt was born October 17, 1923 to Tolbert A. and Elva D. McNutt in Englewood, New Jersey. When his parents became believing Christians he rebelled at becoming “born-again”. But, at 18 years of age, at Sunrise Mountain Bible Conference in Lake George, NY, Tal was led to Christ by another teenager, Harry Bollback (of Word of Life), in a motor boat in the middle of that lake. It was at the same Bible Conference he committed his life totally to Christ under the preaching of Dr. V. Raymond Edmon, then President of Wheaton College, IL.

That same fall of 1941, Tal was a freshman at Wheaton College for almost a semester. He rejected the “ministerial deferment” from the military and enlisted in December in the U.S. Army Air Corp for WWII, where he was trained as a central fire-control mechanic on B-29’s. As a cadet he was stationed in Charleston, SC, Macook, NB, and Denver, CO, where he started Youth for Christ rallies in local churches or in Service Men’s Centers.

In 1944 Tal was in Okinawa, and when the war ended he was among the first U.S. troops to occupy Japan. Tal and two other Christian GI’s prayed that the Lord would use them to reach Japanese young people for Christ. Through two C&MA missionaries who had been prisoners of war they were able to start Tokyo Youth for Christ. Many Japanese, U.S. GI’s, and some allied forces soldiers came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior through these special YFC rallies. Upon Tal’s honorable discharge from the military in February, 1946, he traveled for Word of Life, under Jack Wyrtzen, sharing the Japanese story and raising funds for Pocket Testament League New Testaments in the Japanese language, to be sent to Japan.

In the fall of 1946 Tal entered Gordon College of Theology and Missions in Boston to become a full-time servant of Jesus Christ. While there he began Teen Bible Clubs in towns surrounding the Boston area using committed college students and Christian laymen as leaders, and leading the Brockton and Danvers Clubs himself. While a college student he also took over the directorship of Boston Youth for Christ, held at Park Street Church. In 1950 he formed Christian Youth, Inc., with a ministry to teens, evangelistic crusades and Boston Youth for Christ.

On June 2, 1950, Tal and Evelyn Bearse (from Schenectady, NY, also a student at Gordon College) were married, and in 1952 they both graduated in the same ceremony at Tremont Temple Baptist Church in Boston – Tal from Gordon Seminary, and Evelyn from Gordon College. Upon graduation Tal was ordained as a Baptist minister in his home church in Grantwood, New Jersey.

Tal, being a visionary, was led of the Lord to start a teenage ranch in New England, and in the summer of 1957 Camp Wamindi, at Stinson Lake, NH was purchased under Christian Youth, Inc., and Happy T(Teen) Ranch was born! Great years of ministry to teens followed with Tal doing evangelism in churches all over New England, NY, NJ, and the Canadian Maritimes.

In 1963, when Tal became Executive Director of the New England Fellowship of Evangelicals, Happy T Ranch was merged into NEF and became the teen ministry of NEF. Tal was prompted to do this because of his vision for a Snow Camp ministry to youth using Wright Lodge (then called the “White Elephant” because it was only being used as the conference dining room and a two-week teen camp), and in the winter of 1965 Rumney Snow Camp began!

Snow Camp continues today as does the Happy T Ranch which has been renamed the White Mountain Ranch. Hundreds of young people have come to salvation in Christ and hundreds of Christian young people have committed their lives totally to Christ through these ministries. There are former campers and staffers serving the Lord as pastors, missionaries, youth workers and Christian Educators all over the world as the result of these ministries.

Tal was led of the Lord in 1979 to resign from NEF to go full-time into an itinerant ministry of evangelism and Bible teaching under McNutt Ministries, Inc., a ministry to small churches, Christian School, camps and conferences, prisons, and on mission fields as the Lord opened doors. Tal loved “preaching and teaching” God’s Word! He (along with Evie) did short term missionary assignments to South Korea, Trinidad, Dominican Republic, Portugal, Venezuela, Peru, Columbia, South America, and at Broken Arrow Bible Ranch in New Mexico to Native Americans.

Tal dearly loved the Lord, loved His Word, the Scriptures; and served Him faithfully with his whole heart and being until the Lord took him home to “glory”! He was a beloved husband to Evie; a beloved father to Cindy and Marcy; a beloved father-in-law to Michael; and beloved grandfather to Seth and Steven Assink. He will be greatly missed by all of us!

Tal graduated into the presence of His Lord, October 19, 2010, at 87 years of age.

“A faithful man shall abound with blessings” Proverbs 28:20

Editor’s Note:

Tal was a long time friend of NBBI. He spoke on our campus at chapels, conferences and retreats over many years and was always a firm believer in the Bible institute movement. His memorial service was held at Rumney Bible Conference, Rumney, NH on October 30th. Our prayers have been with his wife Evie and his children and grandchildren.

4 Responses

  1. Fred Gilreath Jr

    I worked kitchen boy status under Tal’s leadership in 1961, maintenance in 64, assisted in the construction of Happy T’s dinning hall which was rebuilt due to snow loads.Led many hikes to Stinson Fire lookout tower, assisted retrieving one staff member from the lake suffering from a boating incident, dove from a tall ladder perched on the raft into flames we might have thought twice about, and oh the memories from those years. I’ve never forgotten the wonderful exposer to Christ and Godly living, it took time for me, but I smile upward and say thanks Tal….see ya

  2. Dr. P.J.Schultz

    I was saved under Tals ministry in the 60’s.Some 30 years later
    I happened to stop at a Bible Camp in NM, looking for someone to give me directions to where I needed to be, I happened to look thru a window and there was Tal’s name, surely there can’t be two men with
    that name. It was a warm time we had together after all those years.
    We’ll know bye and bye the true influence we had on people we
    interacted with in this life. He’ll be missed but not forgotten!!!

  3. Mickey Holiday

    I met Tal McNutt at First Baptist Church in Asbury Park, NJ, where I embraced the Lord in 1967. He invited me to come to Rumney, NH and share my music ministry. In the summer I would sing at Rumney Bible Conference and in the winter I would sing at the snow camps. People were amazed that Tal, a very conserative preacher, would have me, a somewhat radical singer/songwriter at the time, to be his musician. It was a very productive time in my life. Thanks Tal.

  4. Linda Micelotta

    I just came across Tal’s obituary today. I was saved at Happy T Ranch on July 10, 1962 and it was the best day of my life. Tal, Evelyn, the Singing Bragdons, Punky and all the wonderful counselors at Happy T will all be in my fondest memories and in my heart for all they were to so many of us, in leading the way to the best lives we could lead, having shown us the way to The Lord through the ministry they had at the Ranch. It was a wonderful time of my life and I will never forget it. When I look back on those years, I often wish I could go back for just one more summer. But I know that it will be even better when we all meet up in our eternal home with The Lord.

    Thank you Tal, for changing my life.
    Linda Fitzpatrick Micelotta

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