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W. Stanley Mooneyham; Led World Vision Relief Growth

June 05, 1991

W. Stanley Mooneyham, a former president of World Vision, the giant Christian relief, development and evangelism agency that serves millions of the needy in nearly 100 countries, died Monday of kidney failure at UCLA Medical Center. He was 65.

During Mooneyham's tenure as president from 1969 to 1982 he directed the relocation efforts that helped feed and clothe thousands of Vietnamese boat people.

Mooneyham, a special assistant to Billy Graham before joining World Vision, took the Monrovia-based organization from an annual budget of $7 million in 1969 to $158 million with a worldwide staff of 11,000 when he retired.

He developed the use of telethons and direct-mail campaigns to raise funds and was not afraid to use emotional appeals.

Responding to criticism of his methods in 1978, Mooneyham said: "We are accused of emotionalism, but hunger is emotional, death is emotional and poverty is emotional. Those who wish to make it all seem neat, clinical and bureaucratic are the ones falsifying the picture, not us."

Mooneyham was the seventh child of a cotton sharecropper in Mississippi. He joined the Navy and served in the South Pacific during World War II.

He told The Times in a 1981 interview that he became a Christian because of the war. He graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University on the GI Bill. Mooneyham joined the Graham evangelical crusades as a media liaison worker in 1964 and became advance planner for Graham evangelism congresses around the world.

It was in some of those foreign lands that he saw what he described as "the awesome human needs" and joined World Vision.

World Vision operated orphanages and relief programs in Vietnam and Cambodia before those countries were taken over by Communist regimes in 1975. In the latter half of the 1970s, Mooneyham traveled to those countries several times and helped to organize programs for the refugees fleeing to the West.

Mooneyham leaves his wife, Nancy, an ex-wife, LaVerda, two daughters, two sons and a grandson.

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