In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Eldon Howard Sturgeon, 92

Eldon Sturgeon 1929-2022. IMB Photo

Eldon Howard Sturgeon, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Mexico and Costa Rica, died Aug. 28, 2022. He was 92.  

Eldon was born on Sept. 18, 1929, in Milton, Kentucky, to the late George and Lucy Sturgeon.  

He received the Bachelor of Arts from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, the Bachelor of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Master of Theology from Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Eldon married Jo Ann Ferguson in 1952.  

During university, Eldon served as a summer missionary with the Home Mission Board (now the North American Board). While studying in seminary, Eldon pastored churches in Louisiana and Indiana.  

Eldon surrendered to the call to serve in foreign missions at a revival meeting. 

“God had given me a special burden for those on the foreign field,” Eldon wrote in his letter seeking missionary appointment. “I felt that God had laid His hand on me in a special way to use me to carry the gospel to the foreign field.”  

He wrote that as the conviction deepened, he felt more drawn to Spanish-speaking countries. A visit to Mexico confirmed his calling.  

In 1957, the Sturgeons were appointed by the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) to serve in Costa Rica and Mexico. 

The Sturgeons began their missions service by studying Spanish in Costa Rica. During their missions service in Mexico, Eldon held many roles. He served as the stewardship promoter and the interim executive director and the associate executive director for the National Baptist Convention of Mexico.  

He was active in serving the Spanish Baptist Publishing house and was involved in literature distribution and promotion. Eldon served as the general coordinator of the Central Baptist Association, which included Mexico City and the surrounding areas. Eldon also was the interim director and business manager of the Mexican Baptist Theological Seminary.  

He worked with pastors in Mexico City to strengthen churches and assist them in evangelism, and he assisted several countries in Central America with their missions sending.  

Elton is preceded in death by his daughter, Leslie Fay, and grandson, Shawn Brock. 

He is survived by Jo Ann, his wife of over more than 70 years; three daughters, Ruth ‘Sunny’ Sturgeon, Linda Vargas (Antonio), and Martha Mendenhall (Chris); four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. 

A funeral service was held Sept. 17, at Crestview Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. 

Read an obituary here.