In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Jo Ann Sturgeon, 1931-2023

Jo Ann Sturgeon, 1931-2023
IMB Photo

Jo Ann Sturgeon, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Mexico, died June 2, 2023. She was 92.

Jo Ann was born Sept. 29, 1931, in Sonora, Kentucky, to the late S.G. and Demetra Ferguson. She graduated from Sonora High School and received an Associate of Arts from Mars Hill Junior College, Mars Hill, North Carolina, Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, and studied at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

She gave her life to Jesus at a young age and was baptized. She knew her life’s calling was to serve the Lord through mission. She married Eldon Sturgeon on July 1, 1952. Eldon and Jo Ann shared the same calling to serve as foreign missionaries.

In 1957, the Foreign Mission Board (now, International Mission Board) appointed Eldon and Jo Ann missionaries to Mexico. They served as missionaries there until their retirement in 2002. During their 45 years as missionaries in Mexico, they shared their love for the Lord and were embraced by the Mexican nationals.

Jo Ann was instrumental in helping with the music and children’s ministry in Mexican churches. She wrote Sunday School literature for six-to eight-year-olds for the Baptist Spanish Publishing House in El Paso, Texas. She was very active in the music department of the First Baptist Church in Mexico City. She taught piano and organ at the Mexican Baptist Theological Seminary from 1974-2000, as well as a religious education class on children’s work from 1986-1999. She wrote the book “Ensenanza Eficiente = Aprendizaje Feliz (Efficient Teaching = Happy Learning)” for preparing teachers to reach school-age children.

Eldon and Jo Ann retired after 45 years of service in Mexico and moved to Austin, Texas. They were active members of Crestview Baptist Church in Austin where Jo Ann continued to minister with her piano playing and Eldon led Bible studies and taught Sunday School.

Jo Ann is preceded in death by Eldon, her husband of over 70 years; her grandson, Shawn Brock Sturgeon; and daughter, Leslie Fay (Ed) Fuchs.

She is survived by her daughters, Ruth ‘Sunny’ Sturgeon, Linda (Antonia) Vargas, and Martha (Chris) Mendenhall; grandchildren; and great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was held July 1, at Neptune Society in Austin, Texas.

Read an obituary here.