An evangelist in the Church of the Nazarene for many years, McWhirter was a larger-than-life figure in the church. A gifted preacher and Bible teacher, McWhirter held hundreds of local church revival meetings, city-wide crusades, and other services in many areas in and outside of North America.
A memorial service for McWhirter was conducted Sunday, January 22, at Community of Hope Church of the Nazarene in Corydon, Indiana. Featured in the service was music by Nazarene evangelist Gary Bond and remarks from ministerial friends Col. Sherman Reed, chaplain, U.S. Army; Larry Leckrone, Nazarene evangelist; and Jamey Johnson, lead pastor of LifePointe Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
H. Lamar Smith, pastor of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Warrior, Alabama, and a lifelong friend of McWhirter, delivered the sermon and eulogy.
McWhirter is survived by his wife, Ellen; two sons, Stuart and Stephen and their spouses; daughter, Suzanne and her spouse; and four grandchildren.
McWhirter donated his remains to the University of Louisville Medical College.
During his time battling cancer, McWhirter always displayed Christian grace and fortitude. His children remarked as they witnessed his heroic struggle with cancer, "Daddy taught us dying grace."
It was fitting that the title of Smith's memorial sermon was "The Defeat of Death."
Former director of Evangelism Ministries Chuck Millhuff was unable to attend the memorial service, but shared the following about his friend, as read by Leckrone:
Stuart McWhirter my dear friend now home
Another soldier has left the battle field and come home. As the smoke drifted across the raging battle Stuart was fighting right up to the end in places that only God knew about.
He has been such a friend all these years. I first heard him preach at an evangelism conference in 1962 in the Kansas City Music Hall when I was a seminary student. I had never heard such a combination of talent and anointing. I first preached with him in the West Texas camp meeting in the early 1970's. Many times after this I preached with this giant. Never jealousy, only a boosting partner.
And then all our wonderful long phone calls in recent years. I stare at the phone and so miss him. Darling Stuart I'll be there in a bit. You are a giant oak that has fallen, leaving a cavity on the horizon of our lives. We have not lost you because we know where you are."
"The following words from Jesus was the last Bible verse that my dad wanted read before he passed," Stephen McWhirter wrote on his Facebook page. "'Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid' (John 14:27 NIV)."