(EDITOR'S NOTE: David R. Currie served as executive director of Texas Baptists Committed from 1987-2009.)
Heaven is welcoming too many great Baptist leaders who inspired me thoughout my ministry. I guess it comes with getting older. To be honest, I do not care for it.
We lost James Dunn, who I met before I met Phil Strickland, Foy Valentine, or Jimmy Allen, all great mentors to me. I met James when I was a freshman at Howard Payne; he became my friend for life.
Recently, we lost Diana Garland, a precious gift to all Baptists. Diana and her husband David may be the most influential married couple in Baptist history, as they accomplished so many tremendous things, especially at Baylor University.
I could write much of my appreciation and love for these two saints, but many others have already done so, and they have spoken well on behalf of all who loved James and Diana.
However, I do want to say a word about two other great, beautiful, tremendous Baptists we lost within the past month – Rudy Camacho and Millie Bishop. If Baptists had saints, they would be so honored.
Both served on the TBC Board for many years. I know of no one who did not love them, admire them, and treasure their counsel and guidance. Both of them gave me their unconditional love. They believed in me, supported me, loved me like a son, and I was honored they felt that way about me.
Every experience of seeing them brought a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. They were that special.
Rudy was a prince of a man. He was kind, caring, yet unwavering in his commitment to historical Baptist principles. He was very influential in the close relationship between the BGCT and Convención, the Hispanic Baptist Convention. No other state has anything like the relationship between Hispanic Baptists and our state convention, and I’m sorry that Rudy won’t be here to see another wonderful Hispanic leader, René Maciel, elected president of the BGCT this fall.
As Rudy was a prince, so was Millie a princess, yet strong in her convictions. My mother, Mary Jim, loved Millie and her work with the WMU. WMU leaders such as Millie, Joy Fenner, Ophelia Humphrey, and Mauriece Johnston were vital to the success of TBC. I loved working with all of them. They traveled and spoke with me all across Texas, and I treasure those memories.
I’m the type of person who moves on from things pretty well. I love the life I lead now – ranching, building houses, and developing land, as well as church and nonprofit activities; but when these saints pass away, I am reminded of what a blessed life I have had to know and work with people like Rudy Camacho and Millie Bishop. They were true Texas Baptist giants.