Jesse Raymond Stogsdill, age 89, passed away on Jan. 19, 2011 at the Sanford Care Center in Vermillion. Funeral services were provided by Hart Funeral Home of Tahlequah, OK. Visitation was Monday, Jan. 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home, with the funeral services Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 10 a.m. at Elm Tree Baptist Church, Tahlequah. Burial was in Cedar Tree Baptist Church Cemetery, Tahlequah, OK.
Jesse was born on July 25, 1921, in rural Phelps County near Rolla, MO, the son of James Perry and Elizabeth Frances Boulware Stogsdill. He was the oldest of eight children.
He was educated in the rural schools of Phelps County and was graduated from the Rolla High School in May 1940. Soon after high school he was employed by the KNWL Construction Company in the building of Fort Leonard Wood, MO. He was later employed by Curtis-Wright Corporation of St. Louis, MO.
He entered the United States Army on Oct. 21, 1942, and served until Feb. 6, 1946. He was stationed in various places in the United States and in the Pacific Theater during World Ward II.
On March 30, 1946, he was married to Mary Blanche Simmons in Heber Springs, AR. He graduated from Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar, MO, in 1948 and from Ouachita Baptist College, Arkadelphia, AR, in 1950. In addition he took a number of courses in seminary extension and did graduate work at Southwestern Oklahoma State University at Weatherford, OK.
He was converted in 1945 while serving in the United States Army in Hawaii. He was baptized into membership in the Mount Olive Baptist Church, Phelps County Missouri Baptist Association by the chaplain of the base where he was serving. The chaplain wrote to the church, which approved him as a candidate for baptism. He was baptized in an outdoor baptistry of a Methodist Church on the island of Kauai. He was later licensed to preach by Mount Olive Baptist Church in July 1947, and ordained by Second Baptist Church, Arkadelphia, AR on June 22, 1949.
He pastored five churches in Arkansas from 1949 to 1955, including Cedar Creek Baptist Church, Week, AR; Mount Olive Baptist Church, Arkadelphia; Caddo Valley Baptist Church, Arkadelphia; First Baptist Church, Mountain View; and Immanuel Baptist Church, Newport. He serviced as Superintendent of Missions in Phelps County and Meremac Baptist Associations in Missouri from 1955 to 1957. From December 1957 to June 1964, he pastored First Baptist Church, Cuba, MO.
In June 1964 he and his wife Mary Blanche Stogsdill were appointed home missionaries by the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board, serving as pastor of Indian Capital Baptist Mission in Anadarko, OK. He served as general missionary with Indian churches and missions in Anglo associations from September 1968 to May 1970. He was General Missionary to Cherokees from June 1970 to December 1976. He retired from the Home Mission Board in December 1987.
After retirement he was pastor of Keener Baptist Church, Hulbert, OK, for two years and later was Director of Missions for Cherokee Association from 1989 to 1991. During retirement he served in Oklahoma as interim pastor of New Greenleaf, Oak Grove, and Faith Baptist churches. He was also pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Salina; First Baptist Church, Peggs; Faith Baptist Church, Tahlequah; and was hospital chaplain for Claremore and Tahlequah Indian hospitals for seven years.
His other ministries and services included Chaplain for the Arkansas Department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars; vice president and president of the Oklahoma Baptist Historical Society and member of the Oklahoma Baptist Historical Commission; instructor, Oklahoma Baptist University, for Ministry Training Institute for 12 years, including classes at Tahlequah, Anadarko, Oklahoma City, El Reno, and McAlester; moderator for two Baptist associations and clerk for two Baptist associations as well as many other offices and other responsibilities.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James Perry Stogsdill and Elizabeth Boulware Stogsdill and two sisters, Leona (Bernard) Baldwin and Lorene (Earl) Spencer, both of Rolla, MO.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Blanche Simmons Stogsdill (Vermillion); two sons, Jerry Raymond (Cecilia) Stogsdill (Edmond, OK), Thomas Michael (Susan) Stogsdill (Vermillion); two grandchildren, Chad Christopher Stogsdill (Edmond, OK) and Cara Michelle Stogsdill (Rodney) Little (Stillwater, OK); and one great-grandson, Tyler Stogsdill (Midwest City, OK).
Surviving siblings include sisters Ruby Hufstedler (Rolla, MO), Opal Tolbert (Farmersburg, IN), Helen (Chester) Patton (Rolla, MO), Bonnie Curtis (Bristol, VA) and one brother James Stogsdill, (Rolla, MO).
Jesse Raymond Stogsdill was highly regarded for his caring, loving spirit. He touched many lives during his ministry, which spanned 52 years. He will be dearly missed by family, his many friends and the people who were blessed by his ministry and friendship. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to J.R. and Mary Stogsdill Family Scholarship at Oklahoma Baptist University, OBU Box 61241, 500 West University, Shawnee, OK 74804.