In memoriam: Emeritus missionary Walter ‘Gene’ Verner, 90

Gene Verner


Walter Eugene “Gene” Verner, an emeritus International Mission Board missionary who shared the gospel among Sub-Saharan African peoples in Ghana, died Jan. 16, 2019. He was 90.

Born in Amarillo, Texas, Verner grew up on a farm near Farwell, Texas. He was a Navy veteran who was stationed in the Pacific after World War II. After his service, he entered Texas Tech University with the intent of becoming an engineer. It was there that he recognized a call into the ministry. He graduated from Wayland Baptist College and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

He married Marjorie Rieben on May 3, 1954, and they were married for 64 years. He served as a pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Bay Minette, Ala., before the couple was appointed as IMB missionaries in April 1958. The Verners served in Ghana, West Africa, for 35 years. In Ghana, Verner helped found the Ghana Baptist Seminary in Abuakwa. He was instrumental in the planning and building the campus, as well as working in administration, course preparation, teaching and serving as the first principal. He also was involved in church planting and served as mission business manager.

In 1994, Gene and Marjorie retired to Fairhope, Ala. They were active at First Baptist Church in Fairhope, as serving as mission speakers throughout the area.

Verner was preceded in death by his wife, Marjorie. He is survived by his son, Daryl Verner; and his daughter, Robbie Wood, and son-in-law, Richard Wood.

Funeral services were conducted Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, at Wolfe-Bayview Funeral Home in Fairhope. Interment followed in Memory Gardens of Fairhope.

Read a full obituary here.