In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Sally Ruth Bade, 83

Sally Ruth Bade, 1936-2020 IMB Photo

Sally Ruth Bade, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Germany, died Oct. 8, 2020, in Cleburne, Texas. She was 83. 

Bade was born Nov. 10, 1936, in Lapeer, Michigan, to the late William E. Cole and Ada Sischo Cole.  

Neither of Sally’s parents graduated from high school. Before her birth, her parents and sisters lived in the family’s Pontiac after her father lost his job in the Great Depression. Bade’s education and work opportunities took her to Illinois, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, Missouri and Germany. Bade graduated from Lapeer High School in Lapeer, took classes at William Carey College in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas Wesleyan College in Fort Worth, Texas, and took business classes and the University of Texas in El Paso, Texas.  

Bade married Robert “Bob” Matthew Bade in 1958. 

Before her missionary appointment, Bade worked for two chemical companies. Sally and Bob moved to Cape Canaveral after both accepting jobs with Boeing. The Bades moved to Forth Worth for Bob to study at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Bade enrolled at Texas Wesleyan College and took as many as 18 hours of classes a semester to finish at the same time as Bob. 

Bade worked at the Spanish Baptist Publishing House in El Paso, where she interacted with missionaries. Bade also worked at El Paso Community College, was a secretary and a registrar at Hannibal-LaGrange College in Hannibal, Missouri, and was a librarian at Immanuel Baptist Christian School in El Paso. Bade was the senior secretary in the Nurse-Midwifery Education Program at the University of Texas in El Paso. 

When seeking missionary appointment, Bade wrote that a mission trip to Brazil and ministry on the border of Texas and Mexico nurtured her call to missions.  

“Missions has always had a special place in my life and heart,” Bade wrote.  

Bade’s involvement in the Woman’s Missionary Union gave her inspiration and opportunities to serve.  

“Hands on experiences in cross-cultural missions has given me many blessings and fulfillment and a further desire to be used of the Lord as a missionary,” Bade wrote.  

Confirmation of this desire came at a missions conference at Glorietta Camp in Glorietta, New Mexico, when she listened to the messages given by evangelical pastor and author Henry Blackaby. 

Sally and Bob were appointed to serve in Germany by the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board in 1995.  

Bade served as a staff member for the European Baptist Convention (EBC). Bob and Sally worked with EBC churches and committees to provide Christian education training focusing on stewardship, discipleship, leadership training and missions education. Bade’s focus was primarily on Christian education. 

In a 2000 newsletter, Bade wrote she devoted time to speaking with EBC committees about finances and managing treasuries. Bade spent a large portion of her time that year managing funds for ministry projects in multiple currencies and kept four bank accounts in three countries to help meet the needs of the EBC.  

The Bades’ influence extended from the EBC to the church they attended to Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Mainz, Germany, and their community. Many people committed their lives to Christ and to the ministry through the teaching of Bob and Sally.  

In a newsletter, they wrote about their hope for salvation for a German family who ran a TV and satellite company and an Iranian vegetable vendor.  

Bade is survived by her daughter, Cynthia Bade Keele (Chris) of Cleburne; two grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.  

A funeral service was held on October 14, 2020, at Field Street Baptist Church in Cleburne, with burial in Dallas Forth Worth National Cemetery in Dallas, Texas.   

Read an obituary here