Rev. Gustave Victor’s homegoing service at Christ Gospel Church of Christ on March 25 was filled with people whose lives he’d touched in some capacity. His widow, Deanie K. Victor, is pictured with their children.
BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – Rev. Gustave Victor departed this life on Wednesday, March 15. His homegoing service at Christ Gospel Church of Christ on March 25 was filled with people whose lives he’d touched in some capacity.
Mr. Victor was born August 2, 1933, in Boston to Gustave N. Victor and Christina Victor. He attended school in Roxbury, Mass., and loved to participate in sports. He worked as a special technician at Sylvania Electronics and was top in sales at a fire detection and equipment firm.
While still in Boston, he met the love of his life, Mrs. Deanie, who was in the ministry at Deliverance Tabernacle and worked in a law office. As the story goes, Mr. Victor, a client at the law firm, spotted her one day, followed her to lunch, and the rest is history.
When the Victors left Boston and came to St. Pete, he worked for Montgomery Wards as an electronics technician but soon decided to become an entrepreneur, opening a submarine shop, which later expanded into a grocery store. With his entrepreneurial spirit, he embarked on several different businesses. The grocery store became a game room, then he and his wife opened a beauty salon, but his most important occupation was his work with the Lord.
The two of them embarked on a mission to save souls while keeping their clientele fashionable. Mr. Victor, along with Mrs. Deanie, who was a licensed cosmetologist and licensed minister in the Church of God, ministered to the community while never leaving their shop.
Rev. Victor became a global evangelist working for Florida Beacon Bible College, and his chaplain minister included those in the Pinellas County Jail.
He also served in the United States Army as a medic, was a teacher, coach, past president of the Inter-Denominational Ministerial Alliance, was an associate member of the National Council of Negro Women, a former member of the NAACP and a former photographer for The Weekly Challenger all while walking with the Lord.
He touched so many lives, bringing so many others into the ministry. “Rev.,” “Mr. Deanie K,” “Mr. Victor,” “Mr. Submarine Man,” “Elder,” “Dr. Victor,” he answered to all and never met a stranger. He called everyone his brother, sister, son, or daughter and gave unconditional love to everyone he met. Mr. Victor left a mark on lives that can never be erased.
Rev. Victor leaves his wife to cherish his memories, along with sons Gustave R. Victor, Jr. (Margaret), Jeffrey, Roger and Robert A. Victor (Keila); daughters Vanessa Victor, Olivia Kinn (Stephan) and Grace Victor-Clem (Kerry); his sister Christina Jackson (Warren); 14 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
Pastor Tony Young called Rev. Victor “a precarious giant in life.” He remembers walking down to his store as a young boy to buy “delectable, delicious cookies” – two for a penny and revealed his addiction to Mr. Victor’s submarine sandwiches. He said Mr. Victor was one the first pastors to give him and his brothers an opportunity to play music outside of his store/church on Saturday evenings, treating them like professional musicians at 10 and 11 years old.
Mr. Victor made sure Pastor Young received an honorary doctorate in divinity degree. “Even though I’m blessed to have gone on to earn four additional college degrees, including a Ph.D., he was the one that presented me with my first advanced degree, for which I am truly grateful.”
Pastor Henry Payne said he was 28 when he met Rev. Victor through his commercial arts teacher. He credits him with getting clean from marijuana by sharing the gospel with him that day in his office at the hair salon.
“Forty-five years later, I haven’t touched another marijuana joint,” said Pastor Payne.
Apostle Clarice Pennington called Rev. Victor “a man of valor” because he served in so many capacities, citing the many people he helped get honorary doctorate degrees.
“I’m very grateful and very honored that I was one of those recipients,” she said.
Apostle Pennington said Deanie K’s Beauty Shop “became a place to not only get your hair done, but it was a place to come and receive spiritual guidance, fellowship and some good ole home cooking.” She said when Rev. Victor’s health declined and the salon closed, it left many broken-hearted customers.
“I was one of them because I had been a customer for over 50 years at the same beauty parlor,” she said. “Rev. Victor was a faithful servant in every aspect of his life, and now that he’s come to the end of his earthly journey, Psalms 116: 15 depicts his life, saying, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.”
His faithful wife of more than five decades stepped up to the podium to send her husband off to be with his Father, saying how blessed she was to have a partnership in the ministry with her husband.
“Amos 3:3 says, ‘Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?’ For 56 years, we walked together.”
She had mouths watering, describing the subs they served, and revealed that their game room came complete with cots so children could nap while waiting for their parents to get off work.
Mrs. Deanie talked about Rev. Victor’s ministry in Haiti and how he secured a house on First Avenue South with the mayor’s help for the Inter-Denominational Ministerial Alliance when he was president. That house was decorated for free through donations he secured after explaining the organization’s mission to all that would listen.
“He loved people, he loved his children, he loved the church; he just loved to give and give, and so that’s why much of the income that we had went right back out to people that had needs,” she said.
Bishop Leonard H. Preston said that Rev. Victor was a person that loved people. He explained that Rev. Victor’s work in Haiti was immeasurable. Bishop Preston visited Haiti every year for 50 years until kidnapping became so prevalent, but they continue to send support to the schools every month, and Rev. Victor was a part of the giving.
Resolutions and acknowledgments came from Mayor Ken Welch, Pinellas County Commissioner Rene Flowers, Senator Darryl Rouson, Councilwoman Deborah Figgs-Sanders, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, National Council of Negro Women, Inc., New Dominion Worship Center and many more.
Bishop Roy C. Freeman Sr. gave words of comfort to the family. Visit TheWeeklyChallenger.com to watch parts of his sermon.
Rev. Victor was interred at Royal Palm Cemetery South.