Dr. Charles Benjamin (C.B.) Colaw and Mabel Estella Kauth were married in 1937. After farming, ranching, and operating a retail oil distributing company, the couple entered the Wesleyan ministry in 1947. After pastoring in Kansas, C.B. became superintendent of what is now known as the Tri-State District of the Wesleyan Church in 1956.

A fateful stop for a flat tire in 1958 would set C.B. and Mabel on a new course. While waiting for his car to be fixed in Bartlesville, Colaw would learn of a prime property for sale on Silver Lake Road. The Wesleyans wanted to relocate their small but growing college in Colorado Springs. That college would call Bartlesville home, and eventually become today’s Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

C.B. and Mabel would move to Bartlesville in 1959 and found First Wesleyan Church. Their youngest son Joe Colaw pastors the church today. C.B. would serve as the Chairman of the Oklahoma Wesleyan board from 1981 to 2001 and would then become Chairman Emeritus; he never missed a board meeting or graduation for 51 years.

Mabel was known for her hospitality and hosting events, and also as a tremendous mentor to pastors and their spouses. She traveled the world visiting missionaries and church leaders. When living in Springfield, Missouri she served for a decade as an election board official.

C.B. was a long-time member of the Bartlesville Rotary Club, serving as President and becoming a Paul Harris Fellow. In 2001, Oklahoma Wesleyan named a women’s dormitory in the couple’s honor. Mabel Colaw died August 27, 2010 and C.B. Colaw died July 18, 2012.

C.B. and Mabel’s children have found great success, with several living in Bartlesville to carry on their legacy of service: Oldest son Charles is a retired senior field service technician for Reda pump and lives in Yukon with his wife June; son N. Rene pastored The Church of the Nazarene in Salina, Kansas for 28 years and now resides in Bartlesville; son Max currently serves as superintendent of the Tri-State District as his father did; he and wife Ruth Ann live in Bartlesville; son Stephen is senior vice president at Arvest Bank and lives in Bartlesville with his wife Joyce; daughter Judy is a reading specialist teacher; she is active with her husband Marion in pastoring the Wesleyan Church in Hopeton, Oklahoma; son Joe has been pastor of First Wesleyan Church in Bartlesville since 1991 where he lives with his wife Dawn.

Numerous children, grand-children and great-grand-children have attended Oklahoma Wesleyan, a tribute to C.B. making the most of that flat tire.