Missouri Governor with Life-Long Ties
to Missouri Baptists Killed in Plane Crash
By Todd Starnes
ST. LOUIS (BP) -- Missouri Gov.
Mel Carnahan and two others,
including his son, were killed in a plane crash just near St. Louis
Oct. 17. All three men were members of Southern Baptist churches.
The governor's office issued a statement confirming that Carnahan
had been killed when the plane went down in rainy and foggy weather.
Carnahan was a member of the First Baptist Church, Rolla, Mo.,
where he served as a deacon and Sunday school teacher.
"We will miss him dearly," said the statement that also declared
that Lt. Gov. Roger Wilson was officially appointed acting governor.
"Gov. Carnahan always believed that public service was a noble
calling," the statement said.
Carnahan, 66, along with his son, Roger, who was known as
Randy, and campaign adviser Chris Sifford, had been flying
Monday evening in rain and fog to a fund-raiser for his U.S.
Senate race. Carnahan was looking to unseat Republican Sen.
John Ashcroft in a bitter campaign.
"I hope everyone in Missouri will put the Carnahan family and
the Sifford family in their prayers," Wilson, 51, said.
Ashcroft's campaign immediately suspended all campaign advertising
"out of respect for Governor Carnahan and his family," Ashcroft
campaign manager David Ayres said.
James Merritt, president of the Southern Baptist Convention,
extended condolences to the governor's family and the family
of Sifford on behalf of all Southern Baptists.
"No one can hardly imagine the devastation and grief the families
are experiencing," Merritt said. "I call on all Southern Baptists
to pray for the families of those who lost their lives."
Though he did not know the governor personally, Merritt called
him a "very fine man and a popular governor."
"I know that people everywhere, regardless of political affiliation,
feel a great loss," Merritt said.
Jim Hill [SBU alumnus],
executive director of the Missouri
Baptist Convention, told Baptist Press that Missouri Baptists had
lost a good friend.
"Missouri has lost several wonderful servant leaders in this tragic
accident," Hill said. "Our hearts go out to their families and we
are praying that God's grace will sustain."
Jim Chilton, director of missions for the Phelps Baptist Association,
described Carnahan as "a personable individual. Even the people
who disagreed with his politics liked him personally."
Chilton said Carnahan had occasionally volunteered for the
association and was active in his local congregation.
A member at First Baptist since 1959, Carnahan served as a Sunday
school teacher, church training director and choir member.
He was a former member of the Missouri Baptist
executive board, a former trustee at Southwest Baptist University
and a former trustee of the Southern Baptist Foundation.
His son, Randy, was also an active member of First Baptist
Sifford was a member of Memorial Baptist Church in Jefferson
Hill said that Carnahan was involved in a number of activities
in cooperation with the Missouri Baptist Convention including
the Future Generations Campaign, a joint endowment campaign
for six Missouri Baptist institutions.
Carnahan and his wife, Jean, also hosted the executive
their spouses in the governor's mansion.
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees affirmed an
expression of sympathy to Carnahan's family voiced by the
Missouri trustees of the board.
Introduced by trustee Kent Cochran of Kansas City, the resolution
stated, "Missouri trustees of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
express their deep sympathy to the family of Governor Mel Carnahan.
Missouri Baptists have lost a dedicated public servant and fellow
Southern Baptist churchman. We call upon all Christians across
our state and nation to uphold this family in prayer at a time of
Joining Cochran in offering the motion were Missouri trustees
Loretta Bringer of Maywood, Robert Collins of Blue Springs,
Gary Manford of Jefferson City, John Marshall [Pastor of Second
Baptist of Springfield], Ralph Sawyer of Wentzville and Jay Scribner
[current President of the Missouri Baptist Convention] of Branson.
Source (October 18, 2000):
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