Obituaries


Steve Phillips was born July 31, 1956 in Lufkin, Texas to the late Susie Mel (Beam) and Fred Wayne Phillips, and died Monday, September 7, 2020 in a local hospital. Pastor Phillips spent his life in service to the Lord, pastoring churches in the American Baptist Association for 40 years with a true Pastor’s heart. At the time of his death he pastored San Augustine Missionary Baptist Church, San Augustine, Texas. Pastor Phillips attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and Texas Baptist Institute and Seminary in Henderson, Texas. He was an amazing and loving husband, Dad, and Pappy.


Julious Melvin Holifield, age 82 of Cleveland, Texas passed away Saturday, August 15, 2020. He was born June 27, 1938 in Laurel, Mississippi to parents John and Emily Holifield who preceded him in death along with his daughter, Sarah Kay Walton; sisters, Vicie Marzellia Landrum and Sarah Birtha Day; brothers, Alson Holifield, Johnie Holifield, Maurice Holifield and Haurice Holifield; nephew, Dan Holifiled; and niece, Doris Barnett. Survivors include his wife, Ann Holifield; daughter, Deborah Fay Wilkerson; sons, Melvin Ray Holifield and Micah Jay Holifield; brother, James Marvin Holifield; fourteen grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, four great-great-grandchildren, along with numerous nieces and nephews. Visitation will be held from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Thursday, August 20, 2020 at Pace Stancil Chapel, Cleveland, Texas. Services will follow starting at 2:30 p.m., Thursday, August 20, 2020 at Pace Stancil Chapel, Cleveland, Texas. Interment will follow at Ryan Cemetery, Cleveland, Texas. Masonic burial service under the auspice of Tarkington Prairie Lodge #498.


Gene Hoover passed from this life on December 28, 2019, at Providence Health Center in Waco. He was born January 18, 1939, in Firebaugh, California to the late Thomas Hiram and Edith Crystal Bell (Clark) Hoover and has lived in Mt. Enterprise since 1974. He received a Bachelors degree of Agronomy from Fresno State College and later obtained his Doctorate of Theology from California Missionary Baptist Institute. Gene spent nearly 45 years in camp work, first at Bogg Springs Baptist Camp in Arkansas and then Pine Springs Baptist Camp outside of Mt. Enterprise. He also enjoyed flying and was a licensed pilot. Mr. Hoover used those skills to take students from camp up in a plane and gave each one a flying certificate. Gene was an active and longtime member of Landmark Missionary Baptist Church and later Smyrna Baptist Church.


Ray Everette Williams was born August 9, 1940 to Lewis and Opal Williams in Houston Texas. He preached his first sermon in 1965 at Second Baptist Church in Deer Park, Texas. Ray surrendered to the ministry and enrolled in Texas Baptist Institute in September of 1971. He built the Kirkland Auditorium, administrative offices and apartments on Longview Drive. He received his Master and Doctorate degrees from TBI as well as a Ministerial Endurance Honorary Doctorate for his 50 years of ministerial service. He began his pastoral efforts in 1972 at Sulphur Springs Baptist Church in Mt. Enterprise Texas, where he pastored until 1976. In April of 1976 Ray was called to pastor Unity Missionary Baptist Church of Longview, where he ministered faithfully for 43 years. Ray had a passion for missions. He was a good friend and supporter of Roy and Regan Hawthorne in the Navajo Nation, a long-time supporter of Phil Gavila and the work in Guadalajara Mexico, now an organized church; Ricky Knight in Grand Prairie, Texas, also an organized church; Brother Abel Ovieda in Mission, Texas; David Garcia in Camargo, Mexico; Brother Danny Tijerena in McAllen, Texas; Brother Jose Poot in San Pedro, Mexico; Brother Francisco Martinez in Des Moines, Iowa; Brother John Melancon in Israel; Brother Singh in India. Brother Ray has impacted and influenced many lives in his years of service for the Lord. Several young men have surrendered to the ministry under his teaching. One such is Ryan Carlisle, who only recently went to be with the Lord. He worked for the Longview Independent School District for 20 years as a bus driver. He was an accomplished carpenter. He was an avid hunter; he loved hunting deer and elk. He spent Tuesdays with his best friend, Ray Brooks over a table at Hushpuppies in Henderson, ‘going fishin’.


John Paul Jones went to be with our Lord on January 31, 2020, at Bailey Creek Nursing Facilty in Texarkana, AR. He was born on November 11, 1931 in Winfield, AL to Burris & Loudell Jones. He was a veteran of the Korean war, serving in the U.S. Air Force. In July 1953, he surrendered to the gospel ministry, attending and graduating with a Bachelor of Theology degree from Texas Baptist Institute and Seminary. He pastored Texas churches in Panola County, Monticello, Timpson, Seminole, Borger, Lubbock, Wichita Falls, Fort Worth, and one church in Denver, Colorado. After retiring in November 1998 from Unity Baptist Church in Wichita Falls, he and his wife moved to Texarkana, AR. Also Bro. John was a member of Unity Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas for the past twenty-one year. He is preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, and eldest son, Larry David Jones. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Dorothy Faye Jones, two daughters, Judy Anderson and husband Jim Bob, Janie Vogler and husband Lester, one son Jimmy Jones and wife Donna. Seven grandchildren, John Anderson, Jeremy Vogler, Jackie Anderson Haba, Vickie Vogler, Audra Jones Rittenberry, Ashley Jones, Jordan Lee Jones, ten great grandchildren, and a host of friends.


Charles Swilling was born on December 3, 1942 in Fort Smith, AR to Frank and Geneva (Phillips) Swilling. At 17, he was saved and baptized at Zion MBC of Roland, OK. On April 22, 1962, he answered God’s call to service in the ministry. Charles attended Texas Baptist Institute and Seminary (TBI) in Henderson, TX where he met his future wife, Jerry. After a long courtship of two months, they were married on February 15, 1963 and remained devoted to each other for 53 years until her passing in 2016. Charles graduated from TBI with a Master of Theology degree on May 5, 1967. He later earned a Doctor of Theology degree on June 2, 1978 while teaching English, Old Testament Introduction, Greek, and Homiletics at TBI. He continued to serve faithfully for 57+ years during which he pastored at 8 churches throughout his ministry. He was Director of Sounding Out the Word Ministries for 17.5 years. A monthly publication which was distributed in 68 countries including U.S. and translated in as many languages. He authored 238 books about God’s word.


Royal Clinton (RC) Burt, was born in Dierks, Arkansas on July 8, 1934 and passed peacefully from this life at his home in Lonoke surrounded by much of his family on April 2, 2020. He was the son of Mack Duff and Lou Ella (McClure) Burt. He was saved at age 10 at Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in Dierks and surrendered to the ministry in 1952 serving as a faithful pastor of two Arkansas churches-Old Union at Lockesburg (1955-58) and Union Hill at Bradford (1956-57). Also, five churches in Texas-Hubbard Chapel, Dekalb (1958-60); Friendship, Clarksville (1960-65); Carthage Missionary Baptist, Carthage (1965-70); Liberty, Fort Worth (1970-75) and Tanglewood, Atlanta (1984-96). And, one church in Oklahoma-Unity Baptist, Duncan (1975-84). He was presently serving as Associate Pastor of New Testament Baptist Church, Lonoke (1996-2020) and assisted at Family Resource Services of Lonoke. Royal holds higher education degrees in Bible Languages from the Missionary Baptist Seminary in Little Rock; Master of Theology from Texas Baptist Institute and Seminary in Henderson, Texas; and Bachelor of Applied Ministries from Oklahoma Missionary Baptist College Institute and Seminary (OMBC) in Marlow, Oklahoma. He received an Honorary Doctorate from Texas Baptist Institute and Seminary. He also taught at OMBC several years.