In memoriam: Missionary emeritus James Westmoreland, 1930-2022

James Westmoreland, 1930-2022
IMB Photo

James Westmoreland, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in South Africa and Zimbabwe, died Feb. 26, 2022. He was 91.

James was born May 19, 1930, in Culleoka, Tennessee, to the late Johnny E. and Georgia Ella (Shrader) Westmoreland.  He graduated from Culleoka High School and received the Bachelor of Arts from Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Oklahoma, and the Bachelor of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana.

James married Wynema (Nema) Jean Mayo in New Orleans on May 4, 1954. While they were in seminary and soon after he graduated, James pastored churches in French Corner and Paradis, Louisiana, and Dyer, Tennessee.

In 1960, the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) appointed James and Wynema missionaries to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

James said, while seeking missionary appointment, that while attending a Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, the “literature distributed by the Foreign Mission Board before their program gripped my heart, and through it, God spoke to me… I began to rethink my call to the ministry.”

As career missionaries, he and Nema served faithfully for 33 years in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa. After official retirement, they served two short volunteer terms in Kenya.

After returning from the mission field, he worked for the International Mission Board as associate area director for eastern and southern Africa.

He retired to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he and Nema attended Village Baptist Church, serving as a deacon, Sunday school department director and teacher. In 2018, they relocated to Peachtree City, Georgia, and attended First Baptist Church Peachtree City.

He is survived by Nema, his wife of 67 years; his children, Connie Burton (Lynn),, Jim Westmoreland (Laurie), and Sharon Funkhouser (Wes); parents; siblings; a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was held March 4, at First Baptist Church, in Peachtree City, Georgia, with burial in Wagoner, Oklahoma.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Lottie Moon Offering, IMB, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at Generosity Resource Center – IMB Generosity.

Read an obituary here.