In memoriam: Missionary emeritus James Edward Hampton, 1929-2024

Portrait of James Hampton. IMB Photo

James Edward Hampton, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Sub-Saharan Africa, died May 9, 2024. He was 94.  

James was born May 18, 1929, in New Blaine, Arkansas, to the late William M. Hampton and Annie Marie Hampton.  He graduated from Mena High School in Mena, Arkansas, and received the Bachelor of Arts from Ouachita Baptist College (now Ouachita Baptist University), Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and the Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. 

James came to faith in Christ as a child and felt the call of God to preach before graduating from high school. During college he worked as a pastor and met Gena Ledbetter, who became his wife. James and Gena were married on Aug. 13, 1950. After graduation from college, the couple moved to Texas, where James pastored and went to seminary. “It was through the Mission Day emphasis that I received my first impressions that the Lord wanted me to devote my life to mission service,” James wrote while seeking appointment to foreign missions.  

In May of 1955, James attended the Southern Baptist Convention in Miami, Florida. It was during the missions night program that James resolved to follow God’s leading wherever it may be. “Where He leads, we must follow,” James wrote while seeking appointment. 

In 1956, the International Mission Board appointed James and Gena missionaries to East Africa. His work included evangelism and church planting in Kenya, teaching seminary in Tanzania, serving as treasurer for the Baptist Convention of Tanzania, and serving as associate to area director for Eastern Africa.  

James was preceded in death by Gena, his wife of more than 50 years and two children, Kathie and Stephen.  

He is survived by Ganelle, his wife of 21 years; four children, Connie Hager (Don), Laura Garvin (Kenneth), Lisa Worthing (Howard), and Scott Hampton (Janelle); and by Ganelle’s children Lal Pearce (Terri) and Jan Tilley (Bruce); 18 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren. 

 A memorial service was held May 18, 2024, at First Baptist Church, in Marble Hills, Texas. 

Read an obituary here.