Hugo H. Culpepper Th.D.

Male, #21983, (5 Jan 1913 - 25 Nov 2000)
Father*John Hurlston Culpepper (26 Dec 1891 - 5 Oct 1970)
Mother*Ida Jewel Bradley (19 Nov 1892 - 18 Apr 1976)
Birth*5 Jan 1913 Hugo was born at Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co., Arkansas, on 5 Jan 1913. 
1920 Census*1920 Hugo was listed as a son in John Hurlston Culpepper's household on the 1920 Census at Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co., Arkansas. 28 m-ED140/9/71 1411 W. 16th Ave.. 
1930 Census1 Apr 1930 Hugo was listed as a son in John Hurlston Culpepper's household on the 1930 Census at Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co., Arkansas.1 
Graduation Hugo graduated at Waco, McLennan Co., Texas. Institution: (an unknown value). 
Graduation*1939 Hugo graduated at Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky, in 1939. Institution: (an unknown value). 
Marriage*1939 He married Ruth Cochrane in 1939. 
Residence*1941 Hugo resided at Philippine Islands in 1941. 
Residence1945 Hugo resided at Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky, in 1945. 
Employment*1947 He was employed in 1947 at Santiago, Chile
Employment1952 He was employed in 1952 at Buenos Aires, Argentina
Education*1959 He was a student at Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky, in 1959. S. Baptist Theological Seminary. 
Employment1960 He was employed in 1960 at Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky
Employment1965 He was employed in 1965 at Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky
Employment1970 He was employed in 1970 at Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky
Death of Father5 Oct 1970 His father John Hurlston Culpepper died on 5 Oct 1970 at Little Rock, Pulaski Co., Arkansas
Death of Mother18 Apr 1976 His mother Ida Jewel Bradley died on 18 Apr 1976 at Little Rock, Pulaski Co., Arkansas
Retirement*1981 Hugo retired at Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky, in 1981. 
Death*25 Nov 2000 He died at Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky, on 25 Nov 2000 at age 87. 
Biography* Rev. Hugo H. Culpepper is the son of John Hurlston and Ida Jewel (Bradley) Culpepper. He was born and raised in Pine Bluff, AR.2 He graduated from Baylor University in Waco, TX and went on to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD.3 However, after he and Ruth McClain were married, the couple felt called to become missionaries.

In 1939, Rev. Culpepper graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY with a Master of Theology degree.3 In 1940, the Foreign Mission Board sent the Culpeppers to Kaifeng, China to teach at the All-China Theological Seminary.3 In the Henan Province of Zhonghua, Kaifeng is one of the most historic cities in China and formerly the capital of the empire during the period of the Five Dynasties.4

As war threatened, the U.S. State Department ordered an evacuation of China and, with the permission of the Foreign Mission Board, the Culpeppers removed to the Philippines with the intention of continuing their Chinese language studies.3 However, on 7 Dec 1941, Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor and, on 22 Dec 1941, the Japanese Army landed at the Gulf of Lingayen to begin an invasion of the Philippines.5

The Culpeppers were prisoners of war and were interned by the Japanese in a series of concentration camps but Rev. Culpepper made the most of his time, when he wasn't on work detail, Rev. Culpepper studied a copy of the New Testament in Greek and made a list of the 500 most infrequently used words in it.3 Over the next three years, Rev. Culpepper mastered Greek by reading through the Greek New Testament 12 times and studying the 21,000 references in A.T. Robertson's Greek Grammar book.3

Not until Christmas of 1942 while interned at Baguio were the Culpeppers, through the Red Cross, able to get word back to the United States that they were still alive.3 The Culpeppers were shifted from work camp to work camp and eventually their rations were cut down to one cup of corn meal mush a day.3 While in a work camp in Manila, the missionaries learned that American soldiers kept in a separate area were dying of starvation at a rate of 15 a day because they had no way of grinding their corn. The missionaries got permission to grind corn for the soldiers and kept the grinder going 24 hours a day and the death toll was cut in half.3

In March of 1945 U.S. troops retook Manila and Corregidor and the Culpeppers returned to Louisville, KY to convalesce.3 But, after the War, the Culpeppers returned to missionary work. The Foreign Mission Board first assigned Rev. Culpepper to teach at the Chilean Baptist Seminary in Santiago, Chile and then at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Buenos Aires, Argentina.3

The Culpeppers returned to the United States and, in 1959, Rev. Culpepper earned a Doctor of Theology degree and asked to teach at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.3 In 1965, the Home Mission Board made him director of the Missions Division but, in 1970, Rev. Culpepper returned to teaching.3 Rev. Culpepper was Director of Professional Studies at the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and, in 1978, he was made the W. O. Carver Professor of Christian Missions and World Religions.3

After retiring in 1981, the Culpeppers had an opportunity to visit southeast England and see Wigsell south of Goudhurst which had been owned by Lord Culpeper.2 The couple enjoy their grandchildren, reading and occasional travel trailer trips.
Obituary follows:
Hugo H. Culpepper, Southern Baptist missionary, professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Director of Missions at the Baptist Home Mission Board, died quietly at the age of 87 on November 25, 2000. Life for Hugo was an adventure of discovering and responding to the grace of God. Born in Pine Bluff, AR, January 5, 1913, his parents were John Hurlston and Ida Jewel (Bradley) Culpepper, and his sister was Wanda (Bedell). After graduating from high school in 1931, he studied at Marion Military Institute for a year before entering the U. S. Naval Academy. He studied at Ouachita College (1932-34), and completed degrees at Baylor University (B.A. 1936), and Southern Seminary (Th.M. 1939). In 1939 he married Ruth Cochrane and was ordained to the gospel ministry. Together they were appointed as missionaries. In 1940 he won the Arkansas state weightlifting title for his weight division. Later that year, Hugo and Ruth sailed to China and began language study in Peking, and then in Baguio, Philippine Islands. From 1942-1945, they were imprisoned in Japanese concentration camps in Baguio and Manila. From 1947-1952, he was Professor at the Baptist Seminary, Santiago, Chile, and from 1953-1958, Professor at the International Baptist Theological Seminary, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Again responding to a distinct sense of God's leadership, he became Assistant Professor of Missions at Southern Seminary in 1958 and completed a Th.D., there in 1961. From 1965-1970, he served as Director of Missions at the Home Mission Board in Atlanta. In 1970, he returned to Southern Seminary as the W. 0. Carver Professor of Missions and World Religions. After his retirement in 1981, he served as visiting Professor at Mississippi College. Hugo Culpepper is survived by his wife, Ruth; his two sons, Alan and Larry; their wives, Jacque and Nancy; and three grandchildren, Erin, Rodney, and Jennifer. A memorial service will be held at Smoke Rise Baptist Church, Wednesday, November 29, at 10:00 A.M. Interment Floral Hills Memory Gardens. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the Hugo and Ruth Culpepper Memorial Scholarship Fund, McAfee School of Theology, 3001 Mercer University Drive, Atlanta, GA 30341. The family will receive friends from 7 to 9 PM Tuesday at A. S. Turner & Sons. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 26 Nov 2000.) 


Ruth Cochrane (5 Feb 1918 - 25 Mar 2001)
Marriage*1939 He married Ruth Cochrane in 1939. 
ChartsJohn Culpepper of Randolph Co, AL: Descendant Chart
Last Edited20 Feb 2010


  1. 1930 Federal Census, United States.
    ED 35-41, Sheet #12-B, 604 W. Second Ave., Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co., AR
    Home owned, Value $6500, Radio=blank, Farm=No
    J. Hurley Culpepper, Head, M, 38, M, md@19, AR/TX/AR, Retail Shoe Salesman, Vet=No
    Jewel Culpepper, Wife, F, 37, M, md@18, AR/KS/MO, Stenographer, County Official
    Hugo H. Culpepper, Son, M, 17, S, AR/AR/AR
    Wanda Culpepper, Dau, F, 15, S, AR/AR/AR
    Frank M. Culpepper, Stepson, M, 24, S, AR/AR/AR.
  2. letter to Ms. Billie W. New 22 Nov 1987
  3. Brian W. Burton "Seeker of God" Arkansas Baptist Newsmagazine, unknown date but after 1981,"Faith At Work" section, p. 6
  4. Getty Research Institute Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names:
  5. James Trager, The People's Chronology: A Year-by-Year Record of Human Events from Prehistory to the Present (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1992) p. 872