Ministers of the First Christian Church, Port Arthur, Texas Page: 37 of 70
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THE REVEREND HARRY BYRD KLINE
The Reverend Kline was minister in Port Arthur from March 1926 to March
1929. During this time the parsonage next to the church was
renovated. Some classrooms were made and it became a place for social
activities of the young people. He published a weekly church paper,
"The Christian," which had a wide circulation over the country. The
church basement was renovated and space was made for additional
classes. A men's Bible class was started, meeting at the Strand
Theatre downtown. It was called the Kline Bible Class. Men from many
religious backgrounds became members and it was one of the largest
classes in Port Arthur. In 1927 he sent out an invitation to all young
people to meet and form a Drama Club in the church. The response was
citywide. Out of it came the Little Theatre of Port Arthur which he
directed as long as he lived in Port Arthur. It is still an active
organization in Port Arthur.
His wife, Marion, was also active in the church, serving as choir
director, class teacher and also working in the women's organization.
Her Hawaiian guitar solo music was beloved by everyone. Her Hawaiian
orchestra made frequent appearances in Port Arthur.
The Reverend Kline announced his retirement from the ministry early in
1929. He was offered a position with our state office in Fort Worth
and also in our international offices in Indianapolis. He declined
In 1930 he established Southern School Assemblies, to send educational
programs to schools. By the time he disposed of it in 1957, he was
serving more than 1200 schools throughout the South and Southwest.
Then he developed the Harry Byrd Kline Celebrity Service, booking
celebrity speakers from coast-to-coast. in 1956 he bought 1100 acres
on Pine Island near Fort Myers, Florida. It was an operating cattle
ranch and orange groves. Much of it today has been developed into a
waterfront mobile home retirement village called Flamingo Bay. While
on Pine Island he organized the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Comnerce
and served as its president for three terms. In 1967 Marion became
terminally ill so he sold out and returned to Dallas where she passed
away. They had two children. Their son, Jercme, continues to live in
Fort Myers with his wife, Etta Rue. He has three daughters, a son, and
five grandchildren. His daughter, Madelyn, lives in Dallas as does her
daughter and grandson.
In 1948 he was elected president of the Layman's League of Texas
Christian Churches, succeeding Harry Hines, who de eloped the
organization. He served three terms. In 1951 he was elected president
of the International Platform Association. In 1968 he married Dorothy
Champlin May of Enid, Oklahoma. She was teaching in the American Base
School at Frankfort, Germany. They were married in Basil, Switzerland,
and after their honeymoon in the Middle East, they came to Dallas,
where they have lived since. He is listed in Who's Who in the South
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Ministers of the First Christian Church, Port Arthur, Texas, book, 1990; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth34949/m1/37/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting First Christian Church of Port Arthur.