In memoriam: Emeritus missionary Bill Ichter, 93

Bill Ichter

William Harold Ichter

William Harold Ichter, an emeritus International Mission Board missionary who shared the gospel among the American Affinity Peoples in Brazil, died August 29, 2019. He was 93.

Bill was born on Dec. 11, 1925, in Nanticoke, Pa., the oldest son of Harriet Ellen and Harold Lester Ichter. In his teen years, his family moved to Louisiana, and he graduated in 1942 from Bolton High School in Alexandria.

During World War II, he joined the U.S. Army. Right before boot camp, he attended a campus revival and surrendered his life to Christ. He served in the European theater and received the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantry badge.

After he returned to the United States, he met Jerry Catron at Louisiana College. They were married June 2, 1949, and were married for 69 years until her death Sept. 19, 2018.

Ichter received the Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana College and the Master of Sacred Music from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

The Ichters served the Lord in three churches: Emmanuel Baptist Church in Alexandria, La., Istrouma Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, La., and First Baptist Church, Amite, La.

After sensing God’s call to missions, they were appointed missionaries and went with their children in 1956 to Brazil to serve in Rio de Janeiro. Bill was the first music missionary appointed to Brazil. He founded the music department of the Brazilian Baptist Convention and, under his leadership, numerous choral collections and books on sacred music were published. He served as General Editor of the 1971 edition of the Cantor Cristão (the Brazilian Baptist hymnal). In 1974 he served as the music coordinator for the Greater Rio Billy Graham Crusade, where he directed the 11,500-voice crusade choir.

Ichter also composed dozens of missions and evangelistic hymns, including the official Crusade of the Americas hymn, “Christ the Only Hope.” Later in his career, he served with the Brazilian World Mission Board.

The Ichters served more than 34 years in Brazil before retiring in 1991.

After their retirement, Ichter served as minister to senior adults at First Baptist Church, Minden, La., and as chaplain at Minden Medical Center and for a state police troop.

In 2004 Ichter was named distinguished alumni of the year by New Orleans seminary and in 2009 he published a book about his life, “Who Me, God?”

According to the Minden Press-Herald, on Veterans Day 2014, the City of Minden observed “Bill Ichter Day.” He has also been named “Man of the Year” and received the Greater Minden Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Two of Bill and Jerry’s children and four of their grandchildren have served or are serving as missionaries.

Funeral services for Ichter were held Sept. 2, 2019, at First Baptist Church, Minden, La.

He is survived by his four children: Alana (Ron) Greenwich, Minden; Alan (Barbara) Ichter, Carrollton, Texas; Nelson (Janilda) Ichter, Dallas, Texas; Carlos (Shannon) Ichter, Houston, Texas. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

Read obituaries for Ichter here and here.