In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Fern Dannelley Goree, 1927-2023

Fern Dannelley Goree, 1927-2023
IMB Photo

Fern Dannelley Goree, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Botswana, died Aug. 23, 2023. She was 95.

Fern was born Nov. 6, 1927, in Barstow, Texas, to Henry M. and Cora C. Heath. She graduated high school early and received the Bachelor of Science from Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas; and her Master of Arts degree from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.

In college, she met her husband, Jay Charles Dannelley, Sr. They married on Nov. 20, 1945. Together they served churches in Texas and Michigan while raising a family of four children. During this time, Fern taught elementary school and continually worked toward her bachelor’s degree.

Her obituary reports that after Jay Dannelley, Sr., died in 1975, she served in a variety of roles while also teaching. She served Emmanuel Baptist Church in Midland, Michigan, the Bay Area Baptist Association, the Baptist State Convention of Michigan and the Southern Baptist Convention. The Baptist State Convention of Michigan appointed her to its state board and elected her as its vice president. For eight years, Fern served on the board of the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board).

In 1982, the Foreign Mission Board appointed Fern as a missionary to Botswana. For more than 10 years, she served with the FMB, working with Bible Way Correspondence Course.

After retirement, Fern returned to West Texas. At age 70, she married William Grimes Goree. Together, they served First Baptist Church, Midland, Texas, volunteering their time on the mission committee, teaching a Sunday School class for adults with disabilities, and meeting the needs of the elderly.

Fern and William spent three separate six-month stints on mission in Botswana, and they traveled to many other countries. After retirement, Fern was honored in Who’s Who in American Women.

Her obituary said, “In all phases of her life, Fern derived great joy from people of all walks of life across the world. Her house was always full of guests, either for pleasure or the other person’s needs. Throughout the years, she has provided love, support, and guidance to many. Her generosity impacted countless people in the States and around the world.”

She is survived by her children, Jay, Jr., Deborah, Bekah, and Ellen. No other information is known about survivors.

Her funeral and interment were held on Sept. 3, at Walnut Creek Baptist Church in Austin, Texas.

Read an obituary here.