Bill Stone, a retired Arizona Southern Baptist pastor and chaplain, died Aug. 24 in Phoenix. He was 88.
The founding pastor of First Baptist Church, Litchfield Park, in the early 1980s, Stone worked alongside volunteers who constructed the church’s building. Earlier, he was pastor of Central Baptist Church, Tucson, in the early 1960s, during which time Pantano Baptist Church, Tucson, was started as a mission of Central. He was also pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, Flagstaff. Other pastorates included churches in Arkansas, Texas and California.
Stone resigned from First Baptist, Litchfield Park, to become a chaplain with Baptist Village (now LifeStream Complete Senior Living). In retirement, he continued to serve as an interim pastor and supply preacher, and he taught Sunday School at North Phoenix Baptist Church.
He was a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Ark., and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Stone’s wife, Betty, preceded him in death. He is survived by three children: Tom (Lisa) Stone of Chandler, Susan (Ken) Belflower of Phoenix, and Nancy (David) Whitehead of Lancaster, Calif. All three couples serve in ministry positions. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
A funeral service was held Aug. 29 at North Phoenix Baptist Church in the lower level of the chapel building, where Stone had taught Sunday School.
Clark Johnson, retired pastor and former Arizona Southern Baptist Convention president, died Sept. 23 in Topeka, Kan. He was 73.
Johnson retired in 2011 after serving as pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, Topeka, for 22 years. Before moving to Kansas, he was pastor of Royal Palms Baptist Church, Phoenix, 1982-89. At both churches, he arrived at a difficult time in the life of the church and successfully brought about healing and health.
Johnson also served as pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, Flagstaff, 1979-82; and First Southern Baptist Church, Pinetop, 1972-79. He was AZSBC president, 1982-83.
A Phoenix native, Johnson graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1970 and preached at First Southern Baptist Church, Ash Fork, 1967-70. He attended Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1970-72.
In an interview with The Topeka Capital-Journal shortly before his retirement, Johnson said he was “retooling,” not retiring.
“A lot of exciting opportunities are opening up,” he said at the time. “I know that somewhere, always, I will be preaching, teaching and mentoring until Jesus comes.”
In retirement, he served on the board of directors for Topeka Rescue Mission and Freedom Now, a ministry of the mission aimed at combating human trafficking in Topeka. At the time of his death, he was vice president of the rescue mission’s board and president of the Freedom Now program.
Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Marcia; two children, Brett (Renee) Johnson and Yvonne Murphy; five grandchildren; and a sister, Peggy (John) Vest of Flagstaff.
A memorial service was held Sept. 28 at Fellowship Bible Church, Topeka.
Memorial contributions may be made to Topeka Rescue Mission, 600 N. Kansas, Topeka, KS 66608 or Doxazo Ministry, 600 N. Kansas, Topeka, KS 66608.
Raymond Wilson, 76, a retired Arizona pastor, died Aug. 20. His wife, Shelby, who had been under hospice care, died three days later. They had served in ministry together for more than 55 years.
Wilson was pastor of churches in Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Arizona. His Arizona pastorates included Morningside Baptist Church, Yuma, and two stints at Trinity Southern Baptist Church, Casa Grande. He was the founding pastor of Grace Church, Casa Grande, and retired from there in 2006 after serving 20 years. In retirement, he served as a hospice chaplain.
Wilson was a graduate of Mississippi College and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
The Wilsons are survived by their children, Susan (Michael) Pitner, Andy (Renee) Wilson, Jennifer (Steve) Myers; nine grandchildren; Raymond’s brother, Roy (Kay) Wilson; and Shelby’s sisters, Reba (Winston) Johns and Margaret (Clayton) Hardy.
A celebration of life service was held at Grace Church Aug. 25.
Memorial gifts will go toward funding a foundation in the Wilsons’ memory to benefit young pastors and missionaries. To contribute, go to http://bit.ly/2J6y35L.