- August 19, 2008
- By George Henson, Staff Writer
Ophelia Humphrey, president of Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas from 1964 until 1968, died Aug. 16 at age 85.
Baptized in Los Lingos Creek by Pastor Lowell Ponder of First Baptist Church in Quitaque, she spent much of her life in volunteer service through various Baptist organizations.
She was a member of First Baptist Church in Amarillo more than 60 years, teaching Sunday school more than 30 years, before moving to Seattle in 2003 to be near her daughter.
She also served the Amarillo church and Amarillo Baptist Association as WMU director and was a member of the executive board of the association.
Baptist General Convention of Texas President Joy Fenner viewed Humphrey as both a friend and mentor. During Humphrey’s term as Texas WMU president, Fenner became Texas Girl’s Auxiliary—now Girls in Action—director. Their friendship grew during Fenner’s time as a Southern Baptist missionary to Japan and throughout her long tenure as Texas WMU executive director-treasurer.
Fenner praised Humphrey as “a consistent encourager and a lifelong learner” who helped shape a generation of women.
“I continue to see her significant influence in the lives of capable women missions leaders in Texas and beyond,” Fenner said. “Furthermore, she was an incredibly strong supporter of the BGCT through active participation.”
Humphrey served on the BGCT Executive Board and was first vice president of the BGCT in 1994-1995.
She was a member of the state convention’s missions-sending study committee from 2000 to 2001 and chaired the subcommittee that studied the North American Mission Board. In 2001, she was vice chair of the missions review and initiatives committee. She also served on the board of consultants of the BGCT Christian Life Commission.
Humphrey was chair of the trustees of Baptist Children’s Home in San Antonio, and also was a trustee of Wayland Baptist University and Hospitality House, a ministry to the families of prison inmates in Huntsville.
Humphrey wrote WMU curriculum materials for the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1970s and 1980s, and was the author of Witnessing Women, the SBC WMU training module for personal witnessing. She also was a noted speaker and conference leader.
She was preceded in death by her husband, C.J. An attorney, he was a deacon at First Baptist Church in Amarillo and a president of Texas Baptist Men.
She is survived by her sons, Clifford and Bryan; daughter, Janice; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
With additional reporting by Managing Editor Ken Camp