In memoriam: Emeritus missionary Maxwell D. Sledd, 90

Max Sledd

Max Sledd

Maxwell Duaine Sledd, an emeritus International Mission Board missionary who shared the gospel among Sub-Saharan African Affinity Peoples in Nigeria, died Nov. 24, 2019, at his home in Decatur, Ala. He was 90.

He was born June 20, 1929, in Gilbertsville, Ky., to Henry Lee and Cora Lee Sledd. He graduated from Benton (Ky.,) High School and earned the Bachelor of Arts in foreign languages and Bible studies from Belmont College, Nashville, Tenn., and the Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky.

He married Betty Jean Sanders on Dec. 21, 1947. After pastoring four Baptist churches in Kentucky and Tennessee, Max and Betty were appointed IMB missionaries on May 11, 1961, and served 31 Years in Nigeria. There he filled a variety of roles in evangelism, administration and teaching in Port Harcourt, Enugu, Ogoja, Ogbomosho, Oshogbo, Ibadan, Owerri and Eku.

As he was seeking missionary appointment, he wrote: “Through mission schools in Paducah, Murfreesboro, and Bethlehem; talks with missionaries [and] school professors; prayer; Bible study; and preaching, the sense of call to world missions became evident. Although Betty and I had not mentioned this to each other in the beginning of the awareness, we began at the same time to discuss the call as we felt it. During the process, the sixth chapter of Isaiah continued to burn its message on my heart. It was during a school of missions … that we made our decision known to the church and asked their prayers as we began the process toward appointment by the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board.”

After retirement, Sledd served for a year as an interim pastor of his home church, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Gilbertsville, Ky. For his foreign mission service, Sledd was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel, the highest title of honor bestowed by the governor of Kentucky.

Sledd is survived by his wife of 58 years, Betty; one son, James Sledd (Annette), of Huntsville, Ala.; two daughters, Gloria Carusi (Frank) and Nancy Spahalski (Bernie); one daughter-in-law, Rose Marie Chessen (Garry); seven grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; and one sister, Nona Mae Duncan.

A memorial service is to be held at 11 am., December 11, 2019, at Central Park Baptist Church, Decatur, Ala. Peck Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Read an obituary here.