After a spiritual experience at age 13, several years later, she began itinerant preaching, with her elder sister and brother-in-law, in Idaho. Later, she was ordained by the Evangelical Church Alliance. Kathryn met Burroughs Waltrip, a Texas evangelist who was eight years her senior. Kathryn and her friend and pianist Helen Gulliford came into town to help him raise funds for his ministry. It was shortly after their arrival that the romance between Burroughs and Kathryn became publicly known. Burroughs and Kathryn decided to wed.
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Her parents were German and she was one of four children. Her mother was a harsh disciplinarian, who showed little love or affection. On the other hand, she had an extremely close and loving relationship with her father.
She would describe, as a small child how, her father would come home from work and she would hang on his leg and cling to him. She often said that her relationship with God the Father was extremely real because of her relationship with her own father. Kuhlman was converted, when she was 14, at an evangelistic meeting held in a small Methodist church.
When she was 16 she graduated from high school, which only went to tenth grade in their town. He older sister Myrtle had married an itinerant evangelist, Everett B. They spent their time traveling and asked that Kathryn could join them for the summer. Her parents agreed and she went to Oregon to help out. She worked with them, and often gave her testimony. When the summer was over she wanted to stay, and the couple agreed. She ended up working with them for five years. The evangelistic team was made up of four people, Everette, Myrtle, Kathryn, and pianists named Helen Gulliford.
In Everette missed a meeting in Boise, Idaho. Myrtle and Kathryn preached to cover for Everette. The pastor of the church encouraged Kathryn to step out on her own. Helen agreed to join her.
Her first sermon was in a run-down pool hall in Boise, Idaho. The team covered Idaho, Utah, and Colorado for the following five years.
In they moved into Pueblo, Colorado. They set up in an abandoned Montgomery Ward warehouse. They stayed there for six months. Denver, being a much bigger city, was the next stop. Then in they moved once more to an abandoned truck garage they named the Denver Revival Tabernacle. Kathryn was seeing a lot of success in Denver. The church grew to about members. She began a radio show called "Smiling Through" and invited speakers from all over the country.
One of them was Phil Kerr who taught on divine healing. In another invited evangelist was Burroughs Waltrip. Waltrip was bad news for Kuhlman. He was a charismatic, handsome man several years older than she was. There was an immediate attraction, and one family claims to have seen the couple embracing in , but he was married and had two children.
Waltrip left Denver and went home to Austin, Texas, but the relationship simmered between Kuhlman and Waltrip. In he was invited back to Denver to take the pulpit for two months. Shortly after he divorced his wife and abandoned his two sons.
He then spread the story that his wife had left him. He moved to Mason City, Iowa, where he told everyone he was single, and started a new ministry. It was state of the art with a disappearing pulpit and an art deco style.
He appeared to be a successful and dynamic preacher. There was an ongoing relationship between Kuhlman and Waltrip, and they married in September Kuhlman was naive about the consequences of her choices and the marriage was a disaster.
She announced to her church that she and Waltrip were married and they would go between Denver and Mason City preaching at their two churches. Most of the people in her congregation left due to her relationship with Waltrip. She gave up her church in Denver, lost some of her closest associates, and moved to Mason City.
The Radio Chapel was completed in June of By October Waltrip could not meet his debts. In December Waltrip was demanding a higher salary, even with the shortfall in income. His Board of Directors quit and left him to deal with the finances.
His solution was not to pay the mortgage or debts on the Chapel. Radio Chapel went into bankruptcy. The Waltrips were on their own. The next few years were very hard for the couple.
They embarked on the road as traveling evangelists, primarily staying in the Midwest. They were not accepted in many places due to their marriage history. Initial advertisements listed Waltrip as the primary evangelist.
Then occasionally Mrs. Waltrip was also mentioned. By the early s Kathryn Kuhlman Waltrip was given equal billing. Finally by the mids Kathryn was using only Kathryn Kuhlman in meetings where she was the primary speaker.
In Kuhlman went on an evangelistic tour on the east coast without Waltrip. It may have been a conscious decision to leave him, or she may also have taken the opportunity to reassess her life. It appears to have been more gradual as Waltrip wrote about them as a couple as late as Kuhlman never returned to Waltrip and they eventually divorced in She left her marriage behind and from then on acted as if it never existed in the first place.
In Kuhlman was asked to speak in Franklin, Pennsylvania. She was well received and decided to stay in the area. Kuhlman began preaching on radio broadcasts in Oil City, Pennsylvania.
These became so popular they were picked up in Pittsburgh, and she was preaching throughout the area. She began to preach about the healing power of God. In a woman was healed of a tumor while listening to Kuhlman preach. Several Sundays later a man was also healed while she was teaching on the Holy Spirit. Allen and many others were propelled onto the public stage. In Kuhlman held a series of meetings at Carnegie Hall in Pittsburgh.
She eventually moved to Pittsburgh in , and continued to hold meetings at Carnegie Hall until She was used by God to bring the charismatic message to many denominational churches, including the Catholic Church. She received a lot of criticism over this and was accused of being a closet Catholic.
These were her best known years. Her style was flamboyant. She would hold her famous miracle services and the auditorium was filled to capacity every time. She was on radio and television shows. She was ordained in by the Evangelical Church Alliance. Hundreds of people were healed in her meetings, and even while listening to her on the radio or television. People she prayed for would often be hit with the power of God and be "slain in the Spirit.
She always pointed people to Jesus as their healer. Kuhlman had been diagnosed with a heart problem in She traveled back and forth from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles frequently, as well as taking trips around the world.
Her heart was enlarged and Kuhlman died on February 20, , in Tulsa, following open-heart surgery. Videos of some of her services are still available and continue to be popular today. Names in blue have biographies on this site.
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After a spiritual experience at age 14, several years later, she began itinerant preaching, with her elder sister and brother-in law, in Idaho. Later, she was ordained by the Evangelical Church Alliance. Shortly after his visit to Denver, Waltrip divorced his wife, left his family and moved to Mason City, Iowa , where he began a revival center called Radio Chapel. Kuhlman and her friend and pianist Helen Gulliford came into town to help him raise funds for his ministry. It was shortly after their arrival that the romance between Burroughs and Kuhlman became publicly known. Burroughs and Kuhlman decided to wed. While discussing the matter with some friends, Kuhlman had said that she could not "find the will of God in the matter.
Her parents were German and she was one of four children. Her mother was a harsh disciplinarian, who showed little love or affection. On the other hand, she had an extremely close and loving relationship with her father. She would describe, as a small child how, her father would come home from work and she would hang on his leg and cling to him. She often said that her relationship with God the Father was extremely real because of her relationship with her own father.