In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Leroy “Buddy” Albright Jr., 92

Leroy “Buddy” Albright Jr., 1927-2020

Leroy “Buddy” Albright Jr., an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among the Sub-Saharan African Affinity Peoples in Zambia and Malawi and among the American Affinity Peoples in Mexico, died April 9, 2020, of the COVID-19 virus. He was 92.

Albright was born Dec. 3, 1927, in Pineville, Kentucky, to the late Leroy Albright Sr. and Jasmine Durham Albright.

According to a family memoir written by his son Ray, Albright first began to feel God’s call to missions at age 5. Six years later at a camp for Royal Ambassadors, Southern Baptists’ mission organization for boys, 11-year-old Buddy announced that he had been called to be a missionary to Africa.

After his pastor told Albright’s father that a college education would be required for missionary service, the family moved to Georgetown, Kentucky, to be near the Baptist college there. While in college, Buddy met Jean Flowers, who also had felt God’s call to missions as a child. In 1950 they became husband and wife.

Albright received the Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University and the Bachelor of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville. Georgetown would name Buddy and Jean Alumni of the Year in 1980 and named them to the Georgetown University Hall of Fame in January 2020.

Albright served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He also served as pastor of churches in Kentucky and Kansas before the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed him and Jean as missionaries on July 17, 1958. They served 22 years in Africa in Malawi and Zambia and 21 years in Mexico.

Albright’s heart, Ray told the “Louisville Courier-Journal” after his death, was in “equipping local pastors.”

“He realized that local churches needed local pastors,” Ray said. “There was no point in him starting a church. His real job was to build a body of believers through the local pastors.”

The Albrights retired to Brownsville, Texas, in the early 2000s and later moved to Louisville. Jean died in 2015.

Albright was a member of Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville.

Albright is survived by his three sons, Maxwell Richard (Cathy), Leroy Rodney (Marilyn) and Raymond Cecil (Candy) Albright; a brother, Richard (Anna) Albright; six grandchildren; and six great grandchildren.

A memorial service is to take place later in Georgetown Cemetery.

Read an obituary here.