In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Jim Dillard, 1942-2024

Portrait of Jim Dillard. IMB Photo

Jim Dillard, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Kenya, died April 9, 2024, in Sellersburg, Indiana. He was 81.

Jim was born Nov. 27, 1942, Tyronza, Arkansas to the late Elbert “E.V.” Dillard and Nancy Mae Robertson Dillard. He graduated from Wilson High School in Wilson, Arkansas, and studied at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas; Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana; Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (now Gateway Seminary), California and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

He married Janet Faye Davis on Dec. 27, 1967. She passed away three months before him.

He served as a summer missionary for the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) and a Journeyman to Nigeria for the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board). He also worked as a teacher and a news writer while living in the U. S.

In 1970, the International Mission Board appointed Jim and Janet missionaries to Kenya. Among his duties, he filled the role of missionary school teacher. He served with the IMB for 32 years.

His obituary says, “He had such a gentle way about him and his presence was enough to put anyone at ease. He didn’t know a stranger, always had a joke ready to go and sang his way through life.”

Jim is preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Janet Davis Dillard.

He is survived by two sons, Davis (Valerie) Dillard and Brandon (Kelly) Dillard; six grandchildren; and four great grandchildren.

A funeral service was April 17, 2024 at James H. Davis Funeral Home and Crematory, in Owensboro, Kentucky, with burial in Rosehill Cemetery.

Read an obituary here.