In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Robert Scott Erwin, 78

Robert Erwin, 1941-2020

Robert Scott Erwin, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among the American Affinity Peoples in Brazil, died April 3, 2020. He was 78.

Erwin was born June 17, 1941, in Florence, Ala., to the late Jesse Holston and Noeline Yarnell Erwin.

Erwin graduated from Karns High School, Knoxville, and received the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and the Master of Science from University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also attended The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky.

Erwin first went to Brazil in 1965 as one of the first group of missionary journeymen to be sent out by the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board). The new program aimed to send a new generation of young Southern Baptists abroad for two years of mission service. Erwin served in South Brazil as an agricultural advisor on a dairy farm in the interior of the state of Sao Paulo.

Two years after returning to the United States and after completing his master’s degree, Erwin began dating Veronica Wheeler, who had been a journeyman in Nigeria. When they married in 1970, Erwin wrote when seeking missionary appointment, “[we] united our lives to serve God wherever he would lead us.”

They were appointed missionaries to Brazil in 1970 and served there until 2005 when they retired to their South Knoxville home.

Erwin is survived by his wife of 50 years, Veronica “Ronnie” Wheeler Erwin; daughters Deanna Erwin Banderchuk (Abel) and Julia Erwin Chedid (Roberto); four grandchildren; and sister Gail Erwin Clark (Bo).

A celebration of life service was held on July 5, 2020, at Seymour (Tenn.) First Baptist Church.

Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the Lottie Moon Offering, Seymour First Baptist Church, 11621 Chapman Hwy., Seymour, TN 37865.

Read an obituary here.