In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Dr. John Louis McNair, 78

John Louis McNair, 1942-2021

John Louis McNair of Caesar Community, Mississippi, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among the American Affinity Peoples in Uruguay, among European peoples in Spain and among South Asian peoples in India, died Jan. 10, 2021. He was 78.

McNair was born Sept. 12, 1942, in Magee, Mississippi, to the late Samuel McNair and Marie Cook McNair. He received the Bachelor of Science from William Carey College, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and the Master of Science and the Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, Jackson.

While studying at William Carey, McNair met Kathy Lee, a music major with whom he shared a love of music. They were married in 1956.

McNair had begun studying piano in the third grade and directed music for numerous revivals as a high school student. He began serving as a church music minister while a freshman in college and directed music in several Mississippi churches before going to the mission field.

McNair also was an instructor in neuroanatomy at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, and assistant professor of anatomy at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, Jackson.

McNair wrote when seeking missionary appointment, “God has dealt with both of us for many years. We have discussed the matter of foreign missions and prayed about it for as long as we have been married. However, we were never quite certain.” The day came when they were sure.

In 1974, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed the McNairs as missionaries to India, where McNair was a medical educator. They would later serve in Spain and Uruguay.

After 29 years as missionaries, they retired and returned to Mississippi, where McNair was a member of Union Baptist Church. He was minister of music at Union Baptist Church from 2004 to 2010 and at First Baptist Church of Poplarville from 2010 to 2014. He was a member of the Mississippi Singing Churchmen.

McNair is survived by his wife of 56 years, Sarah Kathleen “Kathy” Lee McNair; his children, John Mark McNair and Heather Kathleen Pettersen; four grandchildren; his sister, Diane Wiggly; and his brother, Gary McNair (Margaret).

A graveside service was held Jan. 14, 2021, at Union Baptist Cemetery, Picayune, Mississippi.

Read an obituary here.