American Baptist Churches of Ohio remembrances.

Reverend Dr. Otha Gilyard Enters His Eternal Home

Reverend Dr. Otha Gilyard of Shiloh Baptist Church in Columbus has passed away. On December 1, 1993, Dr. Gilyard formally became the Pastor-Elect of Shiloh Baptist Church in Columbus. He was proud to have served two years as President of the Board of Ohio Council of Churches and served as past President of the Board. 

Dr. Gilyard was born on a farm to Caldonia Gilyard Moore in Brickeys, Arkansas. He was raised by his grandparents, Robert and Della Gilyard. Otha attended the public schools and graduated from A.M.P. Strong High School in Marianna, Arkansas. After graduation, he attended college briefly before enlisting in the Army and serving in Vietnam. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Reverend Robert "Bob" Melton Passes Peacefully

Rev. Robert “Bob” Melton of Chillicothe, Ohio passed away peacefully on November 18, 2022. Pastor Bob served American Baptist Churches in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kansas and West Virginia. He retired in 2001 after serving at Tabernacle Baptist in Chillicothe.

Bob was born on May 17, 1936, to Robert A. “Skid” and Demma C. Melton. He grew up in St. Albans, WV, graduated from St. Albans High School, and went on to Morris-Harvey College to major in Music Theory. There, in choir, he met Rayma Kay Ramsey, daughter of George E. and Erma D. Ramsey from Belle, West Virginia who would be his companion, partner in ministry and best friend for the rest of their lives. After graduation in 1958 Bob and Kay married and headed off to prepare for Christian pastoral work at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where Bob completed a Masters in Christian Education.

Over the next decades they would serve together in pastoral ministry. The Melton’s finished their full-time vocational ministry in service at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Chillicothe, Ohio where they remained after retirement in 2001, continuing in volunteer church work for many years at Freedom House and Chillicothe First Assembly.

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Ruth "Kathleen" Hughes Passes Into the Arms of Jesus

Ruth "Kathleen" Hughes passed away on November 14, 2022. Kathleen is a former ABC Ohio President. She served most recently as the organist for Faith Fellowship Baptist Church until her retirement at the age of 89. She served in many capacities ministering with her husband Robert in small churches around the state of Ohio.

She was born in Akron, but grew up in Ironton, Ohio. She graduated from Ironton High School in 1946. After working for three years, she enrolled at Denison University as a Music major. Early in her first year, she met Robert Hughes, a senior, and her plans changed. They were married in August, 1950, and moved to Philadelphia while Robert was in seminary. In 1954, they began a life of ministering together in small churches around the state. Wherever they went, Kathleen served as Sunday School teacher, choir director, pianist/organist--wherever the need was. Most recently, she served as organist for Faith Fellowship Baptist Church until retiring at the age of 89.

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Pastor Joseph Edmund Current Called Home to the Lord

Pastor Joseph Edmund Current, age 86, of Greenfield, Ohio, passed away Thursday, November 10, 2022. Pastor Current served as a minister for 66 years, including the past 18 years at the First Baptist Church in Washington Court House, Ohio. 

He was born May 17, 1936 in Greenfield, Ohio, the son of Walter and Ethel (Warner) Current. 

Joe was a 1954 graduate of Edward Lee McClain High School and was a loving husband, father, grandfather, avid fisherman, woodworker, poet, and a lifetime student of the Bible. 

He retired in 1994 after 31 years of teaching and coaching, 2 years at Peebles and the remaining 29 years at the Greenfield Exempted Village School District. 

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Sue (Mann) Current whom he married on September 2, 1956; one daughter, Lori (Chuck) Anderson of Greenfield; one son, Mark (Sherry) Current of Greenfield; four grandchildren, Emily (Joshua) Wiseman of South Salem, Luke (Shanna) Anderson of Minneapolis, MN, Kim (Brian) McNeal of Leesburg, Tabby Penn of Greenfield; five great grandchildren, Abby and Joe Wiseman, Nate (Erica) McNeal, Nick (Jeana) McNeal, Liam Penn; three great great-grandchildren, Eli, Amelia and Olivia McNeal; several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

He was preceded in death by both parents. Please keep the Current family in your prayers.

Rev. Alvin R. Lee Passes Peacefully

Rev. Alvin R. Lee, age 92, of Germantown passed away peacefully on August 26, 2022. He was born in Frugality, PA, to the late Shelton and Ida (Read) Lee. Alvin earned his Bachelor's degree from Eastern Baptist College, and his MDiv from Eastern Baptist Seminary. 

Alvin served as the pastor of churches in Delaware and New Jersey before transitioning to an area minister for the American Baptist denomination in New Jersey and Ohio. Alvin was preceded in death in 2008 by his wife of 58 years, Rachel (Gillespie) Lee, his brother Vernon Lee and sister Ina Comeau. 

Alvin is survived by one daughter, Catherine (Willard A., III) Whitaker of Germantown, TN; one son, Daniel (Rebecca) Lee of Germantown, OH; four grandchildren, Jennifer Whitaker, Matthew (Amanda) Whitaker, Nathan Lee (Bridget Ratcliffe) and Jacob Lee; one great grandson, Wesley Whitaker; one brother, Donald Lee, and numerous extended family members and dear friends. Please keep the Lee family in your prayers.