In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Payton Myers, 85

Payton Myers, 1935-2020

Shelby Payton Myers, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among the Sub-Saharan African Affinity Peoples in Nigeria, died May 30, 2020, at his home in Brooksville, Mississippi. He was 85.

Myers was born March 19, 1935, in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, to the late Shelby Frank and Frances Paxton Myers. The family moved to Jackson when Myers was 12 and there, he accepted Christ into his life at Van Winkle Baptist Church. He wrote when seeking missionary appointment that his involvement in Royal Ambassadors, a missions organization for boys, helped him develop an interest in missions. As a teen he felt God calling him into ministry and preached his first sermon on his 17th birthday, he wrote. But not until he was in seminary did he and his wife make public a commitment to missions.

He received the Bachelor of Arts from Mississippi College and the Master of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1957, he married Helen Green, whom he had met at Mississippi College.

Myers was pastor of Williamsburg Baptist Church, Collins, Mississippi; Oak Grove Baptist Church, Simpson County, Mississippi; Braxton Baptist Church and Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Waynesboro, Mississippi; and Siloam Baptist Church, West Point, Mississippi. He was pastor of Elon Baptist Church in Macon, Mississippi, at the time of his death.

The Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed the Myerses as missionaries to Nigeria in 1963. He taught at the then Baptist Pastor’s School at Kawo, Kaduna (now the Baptist Theological Seminary). The bulk of his life in Nigeria was spent training men to be pastors and establishing and nurturing churches across northern and central Nigeria, until he and Helen retired in 1997.

Myers is survived by his wife of 63 years, Helen; sons, David Myers (Candace), Allan Myers (Sue Ellen), and Amy Myers Waide (Charles); one sister, Rebecca Lott; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held June 13 at the Elon Baptist Church Cemetery outside of Macon.

Donations in Myers’ memory may be made to the Baptist Theological Seminary, Kaduna, through the International Mission Board at Also, checks for project G23210Kaduna may be sent to the International Mission Board, 3806 Monument Ave., Richmond, VA 23230.

Read an obituary here.