In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Ethel Trivette Ledbetter, 1928-2023

Ethel Trivette Ledbetter, 1928-2023
IMB Photo

Ethel Trivette Ledbetter, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico, died May 22, 2023. She was 94.

Ethel was born October 7, 1928, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to the late Fred and Daisy Trivette. She graduated from Reynolds High School, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, North Carolina and Piedmont Bible College, Piedmont, North Carolina. She also studied at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina.

“In September of 1948, I felt the Lord leading me to special Christian service, but I did not know it would be the foreign mission field until April 1950,” Ethel said, seeking appointment with the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board).

She continued, “The Lord spoke to me through the message of a missionary from Africa, Rev Paris Reidhead. He used the Scripture of Christ feeding the 5,000. He brought out the fact that the people sitting in groups farthest from Christ received just as much to eat as those who were sitting right near Him. But today, there are many people far from Christ who are starving for the Word of God while others here in our country are stuffed. Through this the Lord showed me that He wanted me to go to those distant places with the Bread of Life.”

From 1952-1957 she was in Costa Rica as a single missionary. While there, she worked in the office of the Correspondence Course Department, taught a Christian Education course for the seminary women and served as dean of women in the seminary for one year.

On furlough in 1958 she married Michael Ledbetter.

In 1962, the Foreign Mission Board appointed Michael and Ethel missionaries to Guatemala and Mexico. They served with the FMB for 31 years.

Ethel is preceded in death by her husband, Michael Ledbetter.

She is survived by her son, David (Leslie) Ledbetter and daughter, Jeanie (Jim) Patterson; 10 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was on June 3, 2023, at Oakey’s South Chapel in Roanoke, Virginia, with burial in Sherwood Memorial Park.

Donations in her 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.