James R. Barron, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Ghana and Portugal, died Dec. 22, 2022, in Weatherford, Texas. He was 88 years old.
James was born in Huntsville, Alabama on May 8, 1934, to the late Barney and Fay Barron. Barron left his home in the Mississippi delta to become a draftsman apprentice at the shipyard in Newport News, Virginia. After accepting a call to the ministry, he later received his Bachelor of Arts from Mississippi Baptist College in Clinton, Mississippi, and his Bachelor of Divinity and Ph.D. in Church Theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
He accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at the age of 19 when an apprentice in the dormitory in Newport News, Virginia, explained that John 3:16 included him. In 1956, he married Linda Anne Rierson, who he met at a church choir practice.
While in college he served as pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Yazoo City, Mississippi. During seminary, he was the first pastor of Wickland Baptist Church in Bardstown, Kentucky.
He felt the call to serve as a missionary to Ghana during his time in seminary. The Barrons surrendered to missions after hearing the story of friends who became missionaries.
“As we considered the needs and our commitment to Christ, there was an increasing sense of call to foreign mission service,” James wrote, seeking appointment to missions. “Having become convinced of a critical need for seminary personnel in Ghana, we are seeking appointment there.”
After his appointment with the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board), he also focused on church planting and training new pastors.
James and Linda also served as missionaries on the Azores islands on the coast of Portugal where they ministered to military families. This was of significant interest to them, as their son, Stephen, was in the military at the time.
They retired to Mississippi where their daughter, Angela, lived, for James to serve as interim pastor to Agricola Baptist, then pastor of Ridglea Baptist in Escatawpa, Mississippi. James came out of retirement several times to serve as pastor in San Antonio, Texas, and later to several churches in the Weatherford, Texas, area, retiring the last time from Hilltop Baptist Church, once his health became a hindrance to effective service.
James is preceded in death by a daughter, Carole Sue Barron; parents, Barney and Fay Barron; brother, Charles Lindberg Barron; and sister, Mary Helen Green.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Linda; his daughter, Angela Hennington (Bruce); his son, Stephen Barron (Bernie); and two grandchildren. A funeral service was held Saturday, January 14, 2023, at Lakeshore Baptist Church in Hudson Oaks, Texas.
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.