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Local News

Harry Luman Bascom, 1923-2010

In retirement, former pastor of Trinity Baptist Church was a devoted volunteer at San Marcos Christian Camp

Harry Luman Bascom, age 87, passed into the presence of his Creator on Wednesday, June 2, in Santa Barbara. Graveside services will be at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 10. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 13, at Shoreline Community Church, 935 San Andres St.

Harry Bascom
Harry Bascom

Harry was born in Monterey Park to Burton William Bascom and Helen Kimball Bascom on February 1, 1923. They moved to San Gabriel in 1926 to the acre that remained the family homestead until 1987. He graduated from Mark Keppel High School in Alhambra, and then served in the Navy during World War II as a machinist’s mate in the South Pacific. He graduated from the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (now Biola University) in 1949. While there, he met his wife, Alma Classen, whom he married in 1947.

His career spanned many activities, including short stints as a busboy, mail carrier, cabinet maker, brick mason and grocery clerk. From 1947 to 1950, he toured high schools doing gymnastic exhibitions with his blind partner, Eddie Motter. He also served as a pastor at three churches: Calvary Baptist Church in Monrovia, Cogswell Road Community Church in El Monte and Trinity Baptist Church in Santa Barbara. From 1951 to 1954, he served as a missionary in Venezuela with the Orinoco River Mission; as a chaplain in the Los Angeles County Jail system from 1959 to 1968; and as a Los Angeles County probation officer from 1969 to 1980, specializing in juvenile and family services.

During this time he helped to develop an innovative test for measuring family relationships. He received a bachelor’s degree from Cal State Los Angeles in the late 1950s and a master’s of arts in psychology with honors from Pepperdine University in 1972, and was a licensed marriage and family counselor. He taught adult education classes for the La Puente School District, and served briefly as adjunct faculty in psychology at Biola University.

From 1980 until 1987, he served in the International Counseling Service of Wycliffe Bible Translators, traveling around the world with his wife, Alma, strengthening the marriages of missionaries who were isolated from family, friends and familiar cultural surroundings. He moved to Santa Barbara in 1987 to join the staff of Trinity Baptist Church, where he served until 1994. At his retirement, he began to volunteer many hours at San Marcos Christian Camp & Retreat Center, where he was working hard on the last full day of his life.

Throughout his life, Harry Bascom selflessly gave to others, combining his skills as a pastor, counselor and carpenter with his boundless optimism and willingness to tackle any project, large or small. In his later years, he built wheelchair ramps for widows, remodeled kitchens for family members and anyone in need, repaired and crafted furniture for family, friends and strangers, and gave countless volunteer hours to churches and other Christian organizations. He was often heard quoting the Bible verse from Nehemiah 8:10: “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Alma June (Classen) Bascom; son Ken of La Habra, married to Greer (Eagleson); son Eddie of Camarillo, married to Debi (Broughton); daughter Carolyn Aijian of Santa Barbara, married to Dr. Paul Aijian; and son Steve of Bend, Ore., married to Audrey (Holmboe). He leaves 13 grandchildren, seven of whom are married, and 14 great-grandchildren, the youngest of whom will be born in September.

Memorials may be given to San Marcos Christian Camp & Retreat Center, 5750 Stagecoach Road, Santa Barbara 93105, or to Biola University, 13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada 90639.

The family wishes to extend our sincere thanks to the staff of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for their wonderful care and great respect shown to the family during his brief time in their facility.

To God be the Glory.

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