In memoriam: Missionary emeritus DeVellyn “Dee” Oliver, 89

DeVellyn “Dee” Oliver, 1932-2021
IMB Photo

DeVellyn “Dee” Oliver, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in the Philippines, died Dec. 8, 2021, in Fort Smith, Arkansas. She was 89.

Oliver was born March 29, 1932, in Hampton, Arkansas, to the late Walter “Pete” and Katherine Witherington Oliver. She received the Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Baylor University School of Nursing, Waco, Texas, and was licensed as a registered nurse. She received the Master of Religious Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

When seeking missionary appointment, Oliver wrote that she first learned about missions from stories of missionaries past and present she heard as a young child. “I found it difficult to believe that there were still those in the world who did not even know the simple story of Christ,” she wrote.

As a teen, she learned more about missions through discipleship training and the Woman’s Missionary Union organization for young women. As she prayed for God to send someone to tell those who didn’t know about Christ, she wrote, “The thought would sometimes come to me, ‘What about me?” but I would quickly put the thought aside as a crazy idea.”

But as she sought God’s leadership in choosing her lifework, she began to consider going as a missionary nurse. Between college and seminary, she worked as a nurse in Little Rock and in Hampton, Arkansas. Over the years her calling to international service only grew.

In June 1958, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed her a missionary to the Philippines, where she served 40 years. After completing language study, she served as a nurse at Mati Baptist Hospital.

After retiring, Oliver lived in Charleston, Arkansas, and was a member of First Baptist Church, Barling, Arkansas.

She is survived by her sister, Marigail Toney of Magazine, Arkansas; three nieces; and one nephew.

A funeral service was held Dec. 11, 2021, at First Baptist Church, Hampton, with burial at Campground Cemetery, Hampton.

Read an obituary here.