And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Romans 10:15)
Jesse Ray Spurlock was born to John Louis and Ruth Abney-Spurlock on January 28, 1935, in Stratford, Oklahoma. He was born again at the age of twelve when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Jesse ascended to his heavenly home on September 27, 2019, in Midwest City, Oklahoma, at the age of 84.
Jesse grew up in Stratford, Oklahoma. In 1953, he graduated from Stratford High School and enlisted in the United States Marine Corp. On December 21, 1957, he married Lelia Mae Dixon. Through this wonderful, loving union were born Judy, Ronald, and Aleta.
After proudly serving in the Marines, Jesse served as a Los Angeles Police Officer and as the pastor of seven Missionary Baptist Churches in Oklahoma and Louisiana. His last pastorate and church membership were at Highland Park Missionary Baptist Church, Midwest City, Oklahoma where he pastored from January 1997 until receiving the designation of pastor emeritus in October 2014. Just like “once a Marine always a Marine”, Jesse was “once a pastor always a pastor.” Even after retiring from being an active pastor he continued to preach and teach the gospel.
Jesse was a lifelong counselor and mentor to everyone he met and his passion for sharing God’s word helped lead countless people to the service of the Lord. He had an extraordinary ability to put those he counseled at ease with his calm and soothing demeanor. He was well known for his sense of humor, organization skills, generosity to a fault, and was characterized as a natural born storyteller. Jesse exhibited the true love of Christ by helping and giving to anyone in need and ensured his family had all they needed.
In addition to his commitment to spreading God’s message, Jesse was well known for his unconditional love for his family. His wife, Lelia, was often the center of the stories and the adventures that they shared throughout their 59 years of marriage. Jesse was a prolific writer whose published articles in The Baptist Messenger and The Oklahoma Baptist provided inspiration and insight to thousands for many years and will continue for years to come. Many of his stories include his other passion in life….his children and grandchildren and the joy they brought to his life. He was a caring kind, compassionate father and grandfather and is best known as “Poppy,” a name coined by his first grandson, Michael.
Jesse is preceded in death by his parents, his wife, and his brother, Louis. Survivors include one brother, Jim Spurlock of Cortez, Colorado; his children, Judy Marie and her husband, Dr. Glendon Forgey of Dodge City, Kansas; Ronald Ray and his wife, Diana Spurlock of Midwest City, Oklahoma; and Aleta Ginn of Midwest City. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Michael Ginn and his wife, Kara; Stephanie and her husband, Curtis Knight; Seth Forgey and his wife, Megan, Eric Spurlock and his wife, Ashley; Jenna Tracy, and PFC Mackenzie Butts, U.S. Army; and six great-grandchildren, who were his pride and joy: Alia, Jacen, and Serra Ginn; Kaylynn Spurlock; Tessa Tracy; and Ryla Knight.