American Baptist Churches of Ohio remembrances.

Rev. Dr. Steven James Schmidt Goes to Be With the Lord

On November 2, 2022, Rev. Dr. Steven James Schmidt, age 75, succumbed to complications of a heart attack. Pastor Steve first served as the Minister of Evangelism at North Parkersburg Baptist Church in West Virginia, and then as the Senior Pastor at Porterfield Baptist Church in Little Hocking, Ohio. In 1990 he became the Senior Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Chillicothe, Ohio, where he faithfully served for the next two decades until his retirement. 

Not one to stay completely retired, he soon agreed to serve on a part-time basis at Laurel Valley Baptist Church. Pastor Steve went on numerous mission trips, to Jamaica, Russia, and Ukraine. He served on the Ohio Baptist Convention Board of Trustees; as President of the Ohio Ministers Council; as a board member of American Baptist Churches USA and International Ministries USA; and as Chaplain for the Ross County Sheriff’s Office. 

Read more: Rev. Dr. Steven James Schmidt Goes to Be With the Lord

The Rev. James Earnest Celebrates 100th Birthday

On Wednesday, August 10, 2022, the Rev. James Earnest celebrated his 100th birthday. Family, friends, and members of the First Baptist Church of Dayton organized a drive-by birthday parade, and then came together to sing and share in cake and “church punch.” Rev. Earnest was also honored all day on 88.1 WDPR, and a playing of the Old One Hundredth by Ralph Vaughn Williams was dedicated to him.

An ordained American Baptist pastor, Jim served for many years in the Dayton Area Baptist Association, ministering at Memorial Baptist Church and leading the association’s Pastoral Relations Committee for Ordination.

Rev. Earnest is also a WWII Veteran and was a part of the G.I. Gospel Hour ministry until it disbanded a few years ago. He continues to be an avid reader of Scripture, books, etc. and his mind is sharp as a tack. Best of all, he is a caring father, grandfather, and friend.

Words truly fail to describe Jim’s faithfulness and perseverance over such a lifetime, but we give thanks to God for him!

Rev. Edd Matako Enters the Presence of Our Lord

Rev. Edd Matako, age 79 of Massillon, Ohio joyfully entered the presence of our Lord on Sunday, July 31, 2022. Edd served faithfully as pastor of First Baptist Church of Pittsburg, KS, First Baptist Church of Coshocton, Oh and First Baptist Church of Stow, Oh. Edd’s love for God and His people never dwindled nor faded. He served as the Adult and Congregation Care Minister at the First Baptist Church of Massillon for 9 years retiring in December of 2021.

Edd preached God’s word faithfully and loved God’s people fully and selflessly gave God the glory with great humility. To know Edd was to know true integrity, fellowship and friendship.

Born May 29, 1943, to Martin Matejko and Dorothy (McConnell), Edd grew up with his sisters Martha (Kropf) and Rebecca (Olenzak). Edd was a 1961 graduate of Washington High School.

On November 22, 1961, Edd married the love of his life, Judy Marie (Hoffner) and began an amazing journey of love that spanned 61 years. Together they shared life with their two sons, 5 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren, as well as the many adults and children alike that became such an important part of their lives.

Edd served as an auxiliary deputy with the Stark County Sheriff’s Department and had been a lifetime fan and member of the Massillon Tiger Booster Club. He retired from the Hoover Company after 22 years of service when he answered the call into the ministry at the age of 57. Edd also worked at the Paquelet Funeral home in Massillon where he served his community with genuine compassion.

Edd was proceeded in death by his father Martin Matejko, mother Dorothy and sister Rebecca. He is survived by his adoring wife Judy Marie, his sons Scott and Shaun, 5 grandchildren and 7 great- grandchildren. Please keep the Matako family in your prayers.

Rev. William J. Campbell Called to His Eternal Home

Rev. William J (Bill) Campbell , 82, went peacefully to be with the Lord on Saturday, July 30, 2022. He was born in the city of Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. After graduating high school, Bill worked for the General Post Office in Kingston as a Postal Clerk. However, he knew that God had called him to preach the Gospel. He began serving in youth groups, choirs, visitations, street meetings and preaching in local churches.

In 1963, Bill moved to Toronto, Canada to pursue his theological training at Toronto Baptist Seminary. He received his Bachelor of Theology in 1967 and later his Bachelor of Arts from Richmond College in Toronto in 1970.

Bill continued working in ministry and missions. He served as pastor in Binghamton, New York and then in 1982  he pastored Bethany Baptist Church in Elyria, Ohio for 16 years. He became a United States citizen in 1995. 

He was a Past President of the Elyria Ministerial Alliance, which is dedicated to encouraging, strengthening and developing ministries within Elyria and Lorain County. He also supported various ministries as an associate pastor or volunteer.

Bill continued his pastoral duties as the Associate Pastor of Full Gospel Faith Fellowship, Lorain, Ohio, from 2009 until his final days.

He had many roles in his life: Husband, Father, Grandfather, Community Leader, Mentor, Pastor, Confidant, Champion, Prayer Warrior, Intercessor, Visionary and Friend. But the one he would want you to remember the most: Child of God. He will be missed. Please keep the Campbell family in your prayers.

We Remember Rev. Kenneth Lew Damon

Rev. Kenneth Lew Damon, born June 4th, 1957, to Sara Crabb Damon and Jack Almon Damon, passed away on Good Friday, April 15, 2022. He was a pastor at First Baptist Church of Bucyrus, Ohio for 10 years and the pastor of Shroyer Road Baptist Church for 25 years before retiring in January of 2020.

Ken received his Bachelor of Science in psychology and religion from Mount Union University (13 time football national champions!) and his Master of Divinity from Gordon Conwell Seminary.  

He was winner of the Harry Manning award from American Baptist Churches for distinguished service. He was a lifelong learner and an avid reader. He had a perfectly-timed sense of humor. He had a zest for life, playing with electronic helicopters and nerf guns up until the day he passed. He LOVED food. He maintained a beautiful garden with his wife and kept a yard full of beautiful birds. He was a music buff, with an eclectic playlist for every occasion. He had a passion for social justice and fighting for those whose voices are often unheard. His empathy was palpable in every interaction. 

Most of all, he was devoted to serving God through loving every person he came across. He was a man of patience and authenticity, loving his family and humanity without limitations or judgment. Humility and humor remain his legacy through the thousands of souls he impacted. To have known him was to have glimpsed God’s love. He will be deeply missed and remembered with the purest gratitude.

Ken is survived by his wife of 41 years, Jennifer, his sisters Amy and Janice, his daughter Julia, his sons Kyle and Joel, his daughter-in-law Nicole, his grandchildren, Jack, Skyler, Anemone, and his granddog Molly. Please keep the Damon family in your prayers.