In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Joe Barbour, 88

Joe Barbour, 1932-2020

William Joseph “Joe” Barbour, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among the Sub-Saharan African Affinity Peoples in Zambia, died Aug. 23, 2020, in Overland Park, Kansas. He was 88.

Known by many in his adult life as “Brother Joe,” Barbour was born April 16, 1932, in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, to the late John Leo and Mabel Barbour. After high school, Joe attended Southwest Baptist College (now University), Bolivar, Missouri, and received the Bachelor of Arts in history from William Jewell College, Liberty, Missouri. He played football while in college and loved sports, especially football and golf.

While attending Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Shawnee, Kansas, he was pastor of a mission of First Baptist Church, Platte City, Missouri. It was there he met Carol Sue Pirch. They were married in December 1956. He then earned the Master of Divinity at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri.

Joe began preaching while in high school and was pastor of churches in Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. While pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kansas, he went on several international missions trips. It was during those experiences he realized God’s call to the international mission field.

In late 1988, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) named Joe and Carol missionaries and they moved to Lusaka, Zambia, where they served until late 1997. He taught seminary and was pastor of International Baptist Church there. They retired to Independence, Missouri, and were active in First Baptist Church of Raytown (now called Connection Point Church) for the last 22 years.

Barbour was instrumental in denominational leadership, particularly in Kansas City, Kansas, Baptist Association, for many years. He served on the KCKBA Executive Board, several associational committees, and as moderator at various times during his pastorate at Berean Baptist Church (now known as The Master’s Community Church). He also participated in the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists.

Barbour is survived by his wife of 63 years, Carol Barbour; four children, John Barbour (Laura), Christy Barbour, Carla Costley, and Chuck Barbour (Amy); seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Due to international travel restrictions imposed by Covid-19, a memorial service will be delayed until his son and family can travel from their missionary home in South Africa.

Memorial donations may be made to the International Mission Board, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at