In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Hilda Bean Cowsert, 93

Hilda Bean Cowsert, 1928-2021
IMB Photo

Hilda Bean Cowsert, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Brazil, died Nov. 6, 2021. She was 93.

Cowsert was born Oct. 14, 1928, in Granite Falls, North Carolina, to the late Edgar Roy Bean and Naomi Bean (later Helton). According to her family, her father, who died when she was 16 months old, once prayed in a cottage prayer meeting that one of his children would go into full-time Christian work. Hilda was the answer to that prayer, serving 41 years as a missionary before retiring in 1993.

Cowsert received the Associate of Arts from Mars Hill (North Carolina) College and the Bachelor of Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. She married George Bagby Cowsert, who was the son of missionaries to Brazil, on May 20, 1952, and the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed them missionaries to Brazil on July 10, 1952.

According to their family, in Brazil George did field evangelism, and Hilda worked with the local churches, raised a family and was involved with the state and national Brazilian Women’s Missionary Union (WMU). She and George lived and worked in Campinas, São Paulo; Santa Maria, Rio Grande, and Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul; Goiânia, Goiás, and Vitória, Espírito Santo, where George died in 1986.

Hilda served on the executive committee of the Brazilian Baptist Convention as WMU director for the states of Goiás and Espírito Santo and on the executive committee of the Brazilian WMU. She wrote for all their periodicals and wrote a book on storytelling. She taught religious education at the seminary in Espírito Santo. Following George’s death, Hilda moved to Rio de Janeiro where she became the secretary of promotion of the national WMU. She helped computerize the Brazilian WMU in the 1980s and taught in the Women’s Training School.

She is survived by four children, Naomi Key (Jay) of Fort Worth, Norma Anderson (Roy) of Jacksonville, Florida, Elena Key (Guy) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Jack Cowsert (Kim) of Zebulon, North Carolina. She is also survived by seven grandchildren; Brazilian “daughter” Lasara Oliveira Tavares (Divino) of Vitória, Espírito Santo, and their children; and a Brazilian “grandson.”

A celebration of life service was held Nov. 11, 2021, at Holiday Hill Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida.

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

Read an obituary here.