In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Jean Evelyn Carlisle Fitts, 93

Jean Evelyn Carlisle Fitts, 1927-2021

Jean Evelyn Carlisle Fitts, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among American Affinity Peoples in Mexico, died June 18, 2021. She was 93. 

Fitts was born on August 14, 1927, in Lucy, Tennessee, in a white frame house across from Lucy Elementary School to the late John V. and Pauline Goldsby Carlisle. 

She graduated from Millington High School and received the Bachelor of Science from Union University, Jackson, Tennessee, and the Doctor of Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. According to her family, she used those tools to “love people for Christ” as a counselor for young unwed mothers in San Antonio, Texas, and then as a single missionary with the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) in Guadalajara, Mexico. 

Fitts wrote when seeking missionary appointment that she had begun to feel a call to missions as a child. While she sought God’s will for years, it had been while working in San Antonio that she became convinced that her life’s call was to missions. 

In 1959, she married, Marvin Fitts, whom she had met in college. Together they served as missionaries in Costa Rica, Peru and Mexico, where she worked in education and pioneer missions. She also was on the faculty of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee, for several years. 

After retirement to Bartlett, Tennessee, in 1990, Jean continued to serve the Lord at both Ellendale Baptist Church and La Buena Esperanza (The Good Hope) Hispanic Baptist Church.  

Fitts was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years Marvin E. Fitts, who died in 2013. She is survived by her son Andrew of Seattle, Washington; her son Philip (Lisa) of Chattanooga, Tennessee; her daughter, Janean (Edgar) Cardenas of Xenia, Ohio; five grandchildren; and two sisters-in-law, Joeann Carlisle and Peggy Wilson. 

A funeral service was held June 22, 2021, at Ellendale Baptist Church with burial at Big Creek Cemetery, Millington, Tennessee. 

Read an obituary here.