Jesse Monroe Lunsford

March 1, 1910August 28, 2006

The Rev. Jesse Monroe Lunsford went home to be with the Lord on August 28, 2006. Rev. Lunsford was a resident of the Buckner Villas Retirement Community on Austin, Texas. He was born on March 1, l910 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He was preceeded in death by his beloved wife of thirty-seven years, Ethel Davis Lunsford. He was also preceded in death by his parents Jesse Leon and Gertrude Spruell Lunsford; his older brother Leon Lunsford; his infant daughter Jessica Lunsford; and his granddaughter Ami Lunsford. In 1974 Rev. Lunsford was blessed to marry Lois Parker Rowland who also preceded him in death on August 17, 2006. He is survived by his three sons Robert L. Lunsford of Farmington, New Mexico; James F. Lunsford of Dallas, Texas; William R. Lunsford of Austin Texas; and one daughter Lil D. (Clif) Abshier of Bishop, Texas. He is also survived by five grand children, Jesse Lunsford of Austin, Texas; Walker Lunsford of Dallas, Texas; Micah (Jennifer) Abshier of Kerrville, Texas; Jessica Abshier of Bishop, Texas; and Rachel (Brian) Snyder of Abilene, Texas; and two great granddaughters Taylor and Avery Abshier of Kerrville, Texas . Jesse Lunsford grew up quickly following the death of his father and went to work early without finishing school. By his early twenties he had logged a broad spectrum of life experiences as he worked as a telephone lineman and a troubadour on the radio. His life- long love of horses and ranching began as he broke horses in El Paso, Texas. As a young entrpreneur he owned a mechanic shop, and later got his first glimpse of South Texas as a land appraiser. He lived life with an intensity and passion in all that he did. In his early twenties in El Paso Jesse Lunsford answered God’s call to the ministry, and immediately turned that passion and intensity into fulfilling his life’s call. He returned to his education by attending San Marcos Baptist Academy where he graduated and later in life was honored as an Outstanding Alumni. His formal education was concluded as a graduate of Baylor University. In his early ministry, Jess Lunsford pastored Texas Baptist churches in Rogers, Rochester, Taylor and Houston. His last pastorate was the First Baptist Church of Beeville, Texas. In 1951 God’s call for Jess Lunsford took a new direction. After several years as pastor in Beeville Lunsford was challenged by Laura Booth, a widow in his church, to take her gift of 637 acres and establish a Home to care for the needs of children in South Texas. With God leading and the support of his church Lunsford passionately began sharing the vision with churches through South Texas. In 1952 The South Texas Children’s Home was founded. For the last 54 years The South Texas Children’s Home has served the needs of thousands of children in Christ’s name, and continued to stay true to Lunsford’s vision that it be financed as a Christian ministry without incurring any debt and never taking any government funding. Today the South Texas Children’s Home stands with a reputation of excellence in the field of child care. In 1963 Jess Lunsford was elected president of the Child Care Executives of Southern Baptists. In 1977 Mary Hardin-Baylor University conferred on him an honorary doctor’s degree in recognition of his many accomplishments and contributions in the area of Baptist child care. In addition to these he received many other recognitions and awards. During his twenty-one years as administrator of The South Texas Children’s Home he was active in preaching in churches throughout South Texas. He served many of these churches as interim pastor. Jess Lunsford retired in 1973 shortly after the death of his wife Ethel Lunsford. In 1974 he married Lois Parker Rowland, and the couple began retirement in Victoria, Texas. In 1978, they moved to Heber Springs, Arkansas where they enjoyed hosting their children and grandchildren. Throughout the Arkansas years Lunsford continued to minister in numerous churches, and also contributed to child care work in Arkansas. The Lunsfords returned to Texas in 1986 where they resided in Lexington, Texas for 16 years before moving to Buckner Villa Retirement Community in Austin in 2002. In his 96 years Jesse Lunsford impacted countless lives, but none more than his children and grandchildren by whom he was greatly loved. He will be greatly missed and forever remembered. His family and all who loved him are deeply grateful for God’s gracious gift of His life. The family will hold private burial services, but invite everyone to attend the memorial service scheduled for 3:00pm, Sunday, September 3, 2006 at the First Baptist church in Beeville, Texas. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial gifts be made to the South Texas Children’s Home, P.O. Box 1210, Beeville, Texas 78104, or the Ami Lunsford Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of Texas in Austin. Obituary and guestbook online at


Jesse Monroe Lunsford

have a memory or condolence to add?

Sandra (Phillips) Wright

April 6, 2009

Dear Lil, I was so sorry to hear of the passing of your father, Jess Lunsford. He adopted you which made a great difference in your life. For that reason most probably, you became a part of the class of '67 in Beeville. I am glad for that. With sympathy and love to all the Lunsford family, Sandra (Phillips) Wright

Robin Lemma Sellman

April 6, 2009

My grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. B. S. Lemma worked with the Lunsfords in the very early years of the Children's Home. I remember spending summers at the Home with my grandparents and knew that they counted the Lunsfords as true friends. Bro. Lunsford presided over my grandfather's funeral, officiated at my parents' wedding and served as my parents' pastor in Beeville. Both my grandparents and my parents held the Lunsfords in the highest regard. May the knowledge that Bro. Lunsford changed countless number of lives be a source of comfort to you all.

Marcle' Parrie AKA Marcy Reed

April 6, 2009

May the "Great Sprit" be with all of you through your path of grief. It is said by the old ones that life is like the flash of a firefly, the breath of a buffalo in the winter and a little shadow that runs across the earth and loses oneself in the sunset. Rev. Lunsford has made his final vision.

Lovey Reed McGahan

April 6, 2009

I was one of the children who benefited from Bro. Lunsford’s wonderful creation of the South Texas Children’s Home. If not for him, a lot of children like me would have had no home. I’m an older adult now, but I shudder to think of what my life would’ve been like if the STCH hadn’t been there for me. It, and the people who ran it, were a great and positive influence on me. My memory of that tender young age has been largely blotted out from being too painful, with the exception of brother Lunsford. I remember him as a very warm and caring man, who was very eager to help us children. He was easy to talk to, at a time and place where that was so very important. He was sent by God to do that work, and I really needed him at that time, like so many other kids. If any of us makes it to Heaven, he would. That gives me something to look forward to, and I hope it’s consolation to you, knowing that you will see him again. Lovey (Reed) McGahan

Lynn Bailey

April 6, 2009

I was a student at Texas A&I when Bro. Lunsford came to be interim pastor at FBC-Kingsville during the late 60's. We just loved him & have thought of him many times & treasure those special days when he was our "pastor." I would characterize him as "a caring man of God." Our prayers are with his family which surely loved & miss him greatly. Lynn & Shirley Bailey

Sharon Branham Holloway

April 6, 2009

I offer my prayers to each of you in the loss of your dad. What a great man and what a great life he lived for God, family, and God's children! He has been an important man in my life since my childhood as my interim pastor in Tuleta, as his secretary at FBC Kingsville, as my husband's (Richard) guardian, and as a mentor. He corresponded with me after Rick's death to offer solace and advice. I sent him a poem "The Dash" by Linda Ellis. Essentially it says the "dash" (how one lives his life) between one's birth date and death date is what is most important. Oh, how he lived his dash! May God bless each of you.

Emrick & Elaine Opiela

April 6, 2009

Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Your dad lived a long and fruitful life. We think of him every time we visit our land in Pawnee, because we purchased the property from him in the early 1960's. The last time we visited with him at the South Texas Children's Home, he asked if we were taking care of it. Emrick & Elaine Opiela

judy mcmillion healey

April 6, 2009

bobby,jimmy and billy,your father is still so vivid in my memory after over fifty years. a finer man Ive never met. my condolences to you and all your family members. God bless. judy

Nancy Perry

April 6, 2009

As I learned of Bro. Jess death, I could only say "Thank You, God" for the friendship, the love and respect I shared with him. He was indeed a soldier of the Lord. My consolences to each and every family member.

Joy (Roe) Duncan

April 6, 2009

Dear Family, As a child, along with Aunt Alma, Anne, Jack & Ken, we visited with you in Beeville. I am truly sorry for your loss. His going will leave a void but with each of you, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he will live on.


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