VIENNA - Dr. James W. Cecil, 82, formerly of Mayfield, Ky., passed from this life to his heavenly home at 4:52 a.m. Tuesday morning, Jan. 29, 2013. He was at his home near Vienna.
"Brother Jim," as he was affectionately known to many, was born Oct. 10, 1930, in Harper Springs, Ark., in Howard County. He was the son of James R. and Ruth P. (Daniel) Cecil.
Dr. Cecil was united in marriage to Katharine Mae Gardner on Jan. 8, 1955, in Flagstaff, Ariz. She preceded him in death Feb. 16, 2004. He was later united in marriage to Mary Frances (nee Fields) Benson on Aug. 28, 2004, in Fountain Hills, Ariz. She survives.
Brother Jim is also survived by his children, Naomi Capps of Mayfield, Ky., Kristina (Johan) Bosch of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Vickie (Gayland) Jessen of Kaysville, Utah; his stepchildren, Jerry (Debbie) Benson of Marshall, Texas, Gary (Lisa) Benson of Litchfield Park, Ariz., and Larry (Darlene) Benson of Glendale, Ariz.; his grandchildren, Jason Cecil of Omaha, Neb., Geina Young of Kaysville, Utah, Jennifer Jessen of Kaysville, Utah, and Rustin Jessen of Kaysville, Utah; nine stepgrandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; 14 stepgreat-grandchildren; a brother, Lynn T. (Suzie) Cecil of Mesa, Ariz.; a daughter-in-law, Evelyn Cecil of Wilmington, N.C.; nieces, nephews and cousins; and a host of other relatives and many dear friends and associates, who's life he has touched through his ministry.
In addition to his parents and his first wife, Kay; Dr. Cecil was preceded in death by a son, John C. Cecil; an infant son, Recey Cecil; two brothers, Richard Cecil and Dale Cecil; and three brothers, who preceded him in childhood.
Brother Jim was a 1949 graduate of McNary Arizona High School.
He served honorably in the U.S. Air Force
from 1949 to 1953.
Dr. Cecil earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1957 from the North Arizona University in Flagstaff. In 1960, he received a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Later, he received a Master of Christian education (1965) and educational specialist (1966). He earned his Doctorate of education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. Dr. Cecil continued his post graduate studies through Murray State University.
Brother Jim devoted his life to Christian Ministry. He was a "man of God" in the truest sense of the word and exemplified his love for his Lord and for people through his life and service. He was an inspiring and motivational pastor to churches in Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, Utah, and in China. He served from 1967 to 1993 through the Foreign Mission Board. From 1967 to 1978, he and Kay served abroad as Southern Baptist missionaries to Hong Kong. Upon his return from international service, Dr. Cecil served as a consultant for volunteer ministries and laity abroad as well as a Foreign Mission Board liaison with Baptist state conven-tions.
In 1993, his love of education led him to join the academic staff of Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Ky. He served as professor of Biblical studies and Christian education until 1996. He then served as academic dean of the Baptist College of the Bible until 2004. At that time, Dr. Cecil assumed the chair of the Missions and Evangelism Department, a position he held throughout the remainder of his life.
From 1976 to 1993, Dr. Cecil served on the Southern Baptist Convention Task Force for Volunteers in Mis-sions. Later, he served as a trustee for the North American Mission Board from 2006 to 2009.
Locally, Dr. Cecil served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Vienna from 1994 to 1997, later returning to serve from 2001 to 2005. In the twilight of his ministry, Dr. Cecil assumed the pastorate of Simpson Missionary Baptist Church in December 2011. This was a position he held for the remainder of his life of service.
Dr. Cecil joined the Masonic fraternity in 1967. He was a member of Vienna Masonic Lodge 150 AF and AM.
Masonic Rites will be conducted at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, in First Baptist Church, 301 N. Seventh St. in Vienna. A worship service honoring Dr. Cecil's life will immediately follow. The service will conclude with military flag presentation by the Illinois National Guard Burial Honors Detail.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, at the church.
A graveside committal service will be conducted at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, in Cecil Chapel Cemetery near Mena, Ark.
Memorials may be made to Dr. James W. Cecil Baptist College of the Bible (Scholarship Fund), c/o Mid-Continent University, 99 East Powell Road, Mayfield, KY 42006 or to the Simpson Baptist Church, P.O. Box 102, Simpson, IL 62985.
To share a memory of Dr. Cecil or to leave an online message of condolence for his family, visit www.baileyfh.com