Theatta Culbertson


Retired Support Staff
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer
February 2015

“I’m not very good at math,” retired WGM support staff member Theatta Culbertson said, laughing. “I just learned what I needed to know on the job.” Theatta’s jobs over her career included 15 years working in bookkeeping at a dime store, 19 years at Wesleyan Publishing House in customer service, and finally, 10 years in Donor Services at World Gospel Mission. Whether or not she had a natural ability in mathematics and processes, she was always successful in her various jobs.

Theatta grew up in the tiny town of Jonesboro, Indiana. Her parents and extended family all were local. She had a happy childhood, and her mother always made sure she and her siblings attended church and Sunday School. Although her father was not a believer at the time, he would later accept Christ in his 70s.

Theatta met her husband, Carl, while she was working at Wesleyan Publishing House, which was located in Marion, Indiana, at the time. Carl’s sister worked with Theatta and introduced the two. “We started dating in October, and we were married in March,” Theatta said. They will celebrate 39 years of marriage in March 2015. One of their favorite things they have done together during their marriage was walk the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan every year for 20 years on Labor Day.

In 1989, Wesleyan Publishing House relocated to Indianapolis. Theatta made the hour commute for about a month during the transition time and then decided she needed a workplace closer to home. Her friend from church, Gladys Gafford, was working at WGM as the hostess for the Abbott Center, a guesthouse. Theatta’s sister Sue was helping her, but had to take time off and asked Theatta to step in. For a year, Theatta worked at the Abbott Center, preparing rooms for missionaries and other guests staying there.

When a part-time position opened up in the Donor Services department, Theatta applied and was accepted. She recorded and processed donations from missionaries’ supporters.

“It was such a joy and honor getting to know Theatta and experiencing her warm, generous, and humble spirit,” said Cheryl Bishir, who worked with Theatta for 10 years. “She is such a cheerful person and always willing to go above and beyond what was expected. She demonstrated kindness and generosity to everyone she met, and her witness for Christ enriched us all.”

Theatta especially enjoyed the staff devotions that were held throughout the work week and meeting missionaries as they visited headquarters. She retired from WGM in 2000. She and Carl live in Marion. In her retirement, Theatta enjoys crossword puzzles, crocheting, and volunteering in the mailroom at Indiana Wesleyan University.