In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Frances Laverne Rummage, 94

Frances Laverne Rummage, 1926-2020

Frances Laverne Rummage, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among Sub-Saharan African Affinity Peoples in Zimbabwe, died Oct. 10, 2020, at Living Springs Village, Waco, Texas after an extended illness. She was 94.

Rummage was born on March 27, 1926, in Stephenville, Texas, to the late Sam M. and Vera Lorena Russell. She graduated from Anacostia High School, Washington D.C., in 1943. She attended American University, Washington D.C., and Tarleton State University, Stephenville, and received the Bachelor of Arts from Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

While attending Baylor, Laverne married Ralph Rummage in 1948 and taught school in Waco, Texas before moving to the Bay area of California in 1950. In California, she taught school for several years while her husband attended Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. In California, she and Ralph began their career in pioneer missions, participating in church planting in California. In 1957, they moved to Bixby, Oklahoma, where Ralph was a pastor for two years.

In 1959, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed Ralph and Laverne as missionaries to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where they served for more than 30 years, retiring to Waco, Texas, in 1991.

In Africa, Laverne supported her husband’s missionary work, raised a family and worked with pastors’ wives and families. In their retirement, the Rummages continued to be involved in volunteer-based domestic and foreign missions to Zimbabwe, Wisconsin, Kenya and Bosnia. Laverne remained an active member of Columbus Avenue Baptist Church, teaching Sunday School and citizenship classes, and volunteering with Meals on Wheels.

According to their family, the Rummages spent their lives in service to Jesus Christ by serving people in their family, church and communities (domestic and foreign) wherever they lived and worked. Known as “Amai” or “mom” to her family, Rummage is remembered for showing others the love of Christ through her cooking and gift of hospitality.

Laverne was preceded in death by husband of 71 years, Ralph. She is survived by her sister Mary Russell; son David Rummage; son John Rummage (Debbie); daughter Carolyn Woods (Bill); son Paul Rummage (Carole); eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held Oct. 15, 2020, at OakCrest Funeral Home, Waco.

Donations in her memory may be made to the International Mission Board, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at

Read an obituary here.