In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Rodney Ray Irby, 88

Rodney Ray Irby, 1933-2022
IMB Photo

Rodney Ray Irby, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Chile, died Feb. 26, 2022. He was 88.

Irby was born Sept. 3, 1933, in Gorman, Texas, to the late Cyril and Nora Erlean Irby. He graduated from De Leon (Texas) High School, studied at Howard Payne College (now University) and received the Bachelor of Arts from Baylor University, Waco, and the Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth. Before seminary, he served almost two years in the United States Navy.

He wrote when seeking missionary appointment that he answered the Lord’s call to preach and later made a public commitment to go wherever God wanted him while a student at Howard Payne. On Dec. 23, 1959, he married Virginia Caraway, a teacher. After several years in secular jobs, Rodney told Virginia he should return to his calling and began seminary studies, where he again felt a call to missions.

Irby was pastor of Comyn Baptist Church in DeLeon; First Baptist Church in Caddo Mills, Texas; Northside Baptist in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Pantano Baptist Church in Tucson, Arizona. In 1969, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed the Irbys missionaries to South America. They served for 23 years in Vina del Mar and Santiago, Chile.

Irby is survived by wife of 62 years, Virginia Irby; daughter, Elizabeth Irby; son, Dudley Ray Irby; and sister, Nelda Johnson (Bill) of Midland.

A service was held March 2, 2022, at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home, Waco, Texas, with burial in Oakwood Cemetery in Comanche, Texas.

Read an obituary here.