Marion Estep
Slain preacher often gave rides to ‘lost’ hitchhikers By Cassondra Kirby
[email protected]

HAZARD — Eastern Kentucky preacher Marion Estep Sr. was known for picking up hitch-hikers, who he viewed as lost souls in need of kindness and maybe a little preaching.

Just a few weeks ago, while at a revival in Indiana, Estep picked up a man he didn’t know and took him to Dairy Queen. He bought the man’s lunch and gave him $20.

His family cautioned the 76-year-old about picking up strangers, but “but he would just shrug it off,” said Evalee Turner, one of Estep’s three daughters. “We told him that times have changed, that people are dangerous — but he just saw it as another opportunity to preach, to spread God’s word.”

Now, Estep’s family thinks his kindness to hitchers may have led to his death. The Pentecostal minister was found with gunshot wounds and near death in his car alongside a heavily traveled road in Perry County Thursday.

Police say two Hazard hospital maintenance workers found Estep slumped and lying partially outside his white 1994 four-door Chrysler, which was parked on the shoulder of the Hal Rogers Parkway near exit 56 in Perry County. The workers noticed that the front hood was propped up on Estep’s car, and they stopped with the intention of helping what they thought was a stranded motorist.

Instead, they stumbled upon a bloody crime scene.

Estep had been shot once in the head and three times in the chest. When the workers arrived at about 4 p.m., the preacher was barely clinging to life, said Tony Eversole, chief deputy of the Perry County sheriff’s office. He was taken to the Hazard hospital, where he went into surgery. He died about 3 a.m. Friday.

As police combed the Eastern Kentucky mountains searching for his killer — or anyone who might have seen something — they came up with few answers.

“We have had some tips, and we are chasing every one down,” Eversole said. “But right now this is a mystery.”

According to his family, Estep was last seen about 2:30 p.m. Thursday. He was visiting one of his four sons in Chavies, a community in Perry County of about 300, but had left to have dinner with his wife at their home in Jackson in Breathitt County.

But instead of turning northbound on Highway 15 to head to Jackson from Chavies, Estep turned south, traveled about 6 miles and turned onto the Hal Rogers Parkway.

There were signs of a struggle inside the car, Eversole said. Estep was shot to death with his own gun, which police found underneath him.

Estep’s license and other important information were found on the floorboard. Family members said only one item appeared to be missing — his Bible.

Estep, who had served as pastor of several churches in Perry County in his 55 years of preaching, never left home without his Bible.

“We can’t find it anywhere,” said Mary Engle, Estep’s oldest daughter. “He always had it with him.”

Engle described her father as a loving man. He attended church five or six times a week, and often traveled to other states, such as Indiana and Ohio, to preach in revivals. He always wore suits — never jeans — and because he had lost one eye as a child, he wore dark glasses.

Despite having only a third-grade education, Estep was known for his knowledge of the Bible, including his ability to quote verses and tell stories that would move entire congregations.

“There have been times when the church was so full that people would stand outside and look in through the windows,” Engle said.

Family members said Estep often didn’t carry cash with him because he would give it away to those in need, even though he was not a wealthy man. Estep’s family believes he was killed after picking up a drifter who planned to rob him.

“Whoever killed him, didn’t know him,” Turner said. “If the person would have asked him for money, he would have given it to them. There wouldn’t have been a struggle.”

Funeral arrangements for Estep are pending at Maggard Brothers Funeral Home in Hazard.

Anyone who saw Estep’s white Chrysler on the parkway or has any other information is asked to contact the Perry County sheriff’s office at (606) 439-4523 or Hazard City Police at (606) 436-2222.

Published by Lexington Herald-Leader from Jan. 11 to Jan. 16, 2008.
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87 Entries
August 15, 2008
My Heart goes out to his family.I had known him for a long time,went to school with one of his daughters and i can remember when he and my dad got together all they talked about was the bible he was known as the walking bible.God Bless You Marion.
Mattie Stacy
April 29, 2008
Marion is my uncle and I havent seen him for years, and I was just talking about coming to see him this summer since my father (Jack) isnt with us anymore. But I am sorry for everyones loss. He seemed like a great man. God Bless to all who suffers this loss!
Melissa Estep
March 5, 2008
How do we know that we are one of God's children? Because we love the brethern, which is what I believe Brother Marion Estep did. He was a great inspiration to me and mine. Our Prayers go up for his wife and all his family. We Love him dearly.
Fred Williams
January 28, 2008
I met Bro Estep when he and Sandra came to our church in Lee City, Ky. he also preached at our church. He seemed to be a wonderful and Godly man, God bless his wife Sandra and his whole family in the days ahead. Take comfort in knowing he is with the Lord, and we can meet him there someday if we are ready to go when Jesus comes or we are called from this life. God bless ....
Bertie Stidham
January 20, 2008
Bro Marion always wanted my dad (Bro. J.C. Baker) to sing Bula land for him. My brothers and I were raised listened to Bro. Estep, our whole family is still in shock of this terrible lose. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and family. We will see Bro. Marion again in Heaven.
Helen Baker
January 19, 2008
Marion Estep was a great man of God ,Really knew his bible.He will be greatly missed and my deepest sympathy's to his wife and kids.
Carolyn Fugate
January 17, 2008
I knew Marion Estep since I was a teenager and my husband was a good friend to Marion. I can't imagine Marion going this way. He will be missed by many people. He was a kind and good man. I know he is in a better place. God took him for a reason.
Julia Howard
January 16, 2008
Marion Estep was one of the most anointed and Bible educated man I have ever known. I always looked forward to be in service with him. Will be greatly missed.
Roy Turner
January 16, 2008
I knew Bro. Estep for many years. He would preach at my Dads church in Indiana. He was a really good man! He sure knew his Bible! This is one man of God who will be missed terribly! May he rest in peace!
Tabatha Spencer
January 16, 2008
Known this peacher for most of my life. Heard him preach many time. Was awasome. Bro Estep was one of the best. We will surely miss him, however, he will be in our hearts and memories for every. God bless and comfort his family in this time of loss. Bro. Estep now has his Great Reward. Blessed be the name of the Lord. He is home. What a family reunion going on in Heaven.
Faye Howard
January 16, 2008
What a tribute and testimonial when one reads the entries of people who have never even met Pastor Estep, as this shows that God is touching people through Mr. Estep, even in his death. I've had the privilege of hearing him preach at South Jackson. Our loss is Heaven's gain. May God bless the family with the comfort of knowing he's home.
Sandy Phipps
January 15, 2008
this wonderful man will be missed by alot of heart and prayers go out to his family. may god bless you.
janice messer
January 15, 2008
My husband Steven preached for Brother Marion once. He seemed to be a very nice man and a great preacher
Betty Fugate
January 15, 2008
I remember Bro.Estep as a child growing up at Altro, Ky. I attended church services at Bush's Branch and Gays Creek, where he often held revival services, with my dad, John Allen. My Dad thought him to be one of the truest kind of God's servants. Since, I have attended funerals he conducted, Many will miss him not only as one of God's finest, but also a friend.
Geraldean Allen
January 15, 2008
We just loved to hear this man preach,what an awesome man.....
Sam and Donna Mullins
January 15, 2008
It's Hard to believe that someone would do such a thing as this.
Eastern KY has lost a good soldier of Christ.The Community was very blessed to have such a man in their midst. Our prayers go out to his family.
Ben Elam
January 15, 2008
this was a good man of god he will be missed.......
jimmy and nancy barrett
January 14, 2008
Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
Taylor "Olga" Strasser
January 14, 2008
We have known Marion for a long time. He was a good man. We last saw him when him and Sandra came to the Watts Furneal home to pay his respects in the passing of my mother Katherine Bush. I also remember 25 years or so ago that I had a flat on my car in route to the Hazard hospital to pick up my newborn nephew from the hospital and he offered to let me barrow his car to go get the baby. This was the kind of man he was. Our condolences to Sandra and his children.
John L. And Ruth Noble
January 14, 2008
I'm so sorry to hear about your loved one, He sounded like a great man, He reminds me of my dad, He would give you the shirt off his back, It's terrible that you can't help people these days, I hope you have a little comfort knowing that your loved one is in Heaven with his savior Jesus Christ, and he's ok.
January 14, 2008
My father Willie Turner was a minister. One of my clients Ms Riley from Bowlings Creek told me about the murder and asked to get her futher infomation. She new Rev Estep and stated she was sorry to here about his lose.
Larry Turner
January 14, 2008
I have only heard Bro. Estep preach a few time's, and so I know he was a good man. He will be greatly missed.
Kymberley Pahl
January 14, 2008
Our dear brother sang: "Pay Day at the End of the Road." He got his pay day. He could quote scriptures and represented his mountain heritage quite well. He loved the Lord and left a good legacy behind for his children. I believe he loved the Lord and served him a long time.
Sandra and Delphia Bowling
Sandra Bowling
January 14, 2008
My sincere condolences are with the family of this wonderful man,I wish you the peace and nearness of Jesus as you mourn his passing, and look forward to seeing him again. God bless you all.
Sue Britton
January 14, 2008
We've lost one of the best preachers who preached the straight word of God, the way it should be preached. We need more like him in todays world. He was a good friend and will be sorely missed! May God bless his family.
Sigal Johnson
January 14, 2008
So many will be glad to see him. We will all miss him. Have lost a friend here.
R Howard
January 14, 2008
My mother and father, Vernon and Edna Hollan knew him well as he had stayed at their home in Austin, Indiana many times. He preached my grandmother's funeral several years ago. My dad said he was a good man who knew the Bible very well. To the family-may God bless you and strengthen you at this time.
Gary Hollan Hollan
January 14, 2008
I've known Estep since i was a baby. He was always a very good friend of the family and i always thought very highly of him. I know without a doubt he is enjoying himself in heaven next to our lord and savior praising him and i know that is what he wanted. I will miss him so much.
Joshua Howard
January 14, 2008
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Ingrid (Bellamy) Ball
January 13, 2008
Brother Marion was a great inspiration to us. We miss him tremendously. We pray that his family and friends will find peace in Jesus. May God give you comfort in your time of loss.
Alvin and Vanda McIntosh
January 13, 2008
"To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord".

"For the Lord hiimself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. WHEREFORE COMFORT ONE ANOTHER WITH THESE WORDS"!

I first met Marion when I was a small child about 40 years ago. I remember sitting in the floor, looking up at him while he preached. I was on the floor because there was no other room in the church. It was standing room only. I was amazed then, and remain amazed today at the knowledge, love and compassion of this man.

God bless you all and know that it is in God's hands.
Gearl Dean Williams (The Mullins Sisters)
January 13, 2008
Words cannot express our outrage and our deepest sympathy. Please accept our sincere condolences.
John and Theresa Hall
January 13, 2008
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life’s routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Diana Tribbble
January 13, 2008
First time I met Brother Estep was about 20 years ago at South Jackson Church. At first I was afraid of this man till I realized he was a very Holy man of God! Then I heard his preaching and watched his walk with God and his love for God and realized what faith and obedience meant and I learned from him and his experiences with the Lord....His love for people and their salvation...He will truly be missed! Heavens gain is our lose! God Bless you Sandy and the family!
Angie McIntosh
January 13, 2008
My prayers are with the Estep family My father was a Pentecostal Minister as well .He would pick up hitchhikers like Bro Estep would.and He led many people to the Lord .and I know that Brother Estep has did the very same thing. Bro Estep has made his journey home.and I know that his family is greiving and I greive with them ,but I offer them this verse in Psalms Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His saint..Bro Estep is precious to the Lord .and He is in Heaven with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Patricia Barger
January 13, 2008
I have known his daughter Mary for years. Please accept my deepest sympathies. Arlie, Janice & I are thinking of you & praying for you all.
Becky Messer
January 13, 2008
So sorry to hear of this. My prayers are with the family.
Latona Owens
January 13, 2008
Sorry to hear this, I knew his wife and know that they were good christian people. I will keep the family in my prayers.
Wanda Britt
January 13, 2008
My sincere sympathy and prayers are with the Estep family. Although I did not know Brother Estep, I identify with him because I also am a preacher who has picked up scores of hitch-hikers over the years, and have fed and given money to many of them - without them asking me to do so.

I wish I had known this faithful servent of God, but even learning of his tragic death inspires me. God sees his passing from the eternal perspective while we view things only with our limited understanding. I'm sure his eternal reward will be great.
J. Stephen Conn
January 13, 2008
R.I.P Marion , may God Bless this family !
January 13, 2008
I am sad to say i never got a chance to met this fine man, i have heard many good things about him from the Couch family may God Bless his family ....
Rebel Roberts
January 13, 2008
Brother Estep and I have preached many revivals together, and I have good memories of the many services we have been in together.He was a true servant of God and will be missed by many .But one thing for sure good memories will always remain in my heart.
Rev Elmer Couch
January 13, 2008
January 13, 2008
Sorry to read this, my prayers go up for his family that the Holy Spirit would be very present with them. Your loved one is now with Jesus enjoying his Heavenly Reward!
A Pentecostal missionary
January 13, 2008
Brother Estep was one of the kindest, happiest and godliest men I have chanced to meet. Such kindness has brought his demise but I know he's in Heaven today. I hope that he knows just how much he meant and changed the lives of the people he met. God bless you Brother Estep. To the family, many prayers be with you.
Melanie Little
January 13, 2008
Bro Estep was an encouragement to us all, and an inspiration.They called him a walking Bible and we have heard many good messages from him.He would always kid us when we would be singing at his church and say that he was part Couch also. He will be greatly missed by us all, but one thing we do know we can meet him in Heaven one day.
Anita { Couch } Little
January 13, 2008
I knew the estep family, my parents took me to church there when I was a child. I grew up in the gays creek area and later mover away as a young child, and Bro. Marion was a wonderful man of God
Barbara (stidham) Howard
Barbara Howard
January 13, 2008
Of course I did not know Minister Estep,but I do know one thing. He was "On the Battlefield Field" for his Lord. He demostrated God's high expectations that God wants all of us to live.

You all have our sympathies.
Minister Robert Mason, Jr.
January 13, 2008
I accidentally came upon this story, but was moved by it. I knew Mr. Estep when I was also a "preacher" in Perry County at Buckhorn(1967-79). I would love to make contact with his son (Marion, Jr., I believe) whom I tried to help when he was a rebellious teenager, and who later graciously thanked me for my help. My prayers go out to this son and the entire family. May God comfort you...he died doing what he loved to do--help people.
Tim Jessen
January 13, 2008
I have known Bro Estep all my life. Have gone to church with him since I was a small child.It was an honor knowing such a wonderful Christian man. A great loss to us all.
Sandy Couch
January 13, 2008
I've known Bro. Estep for 28 years or more and have heard him preach many, many a sermons. He was a friend to me and always encouraged me to keep on keeping on. I was with him in Sunday morning service at Shucky Bean just the other day and as always he said, "Johnny get your guitar and come on up". I sure will miss him, even though I know he's in a better place.
John Couch
January 13, 2008
Brother Marion was a great man of God. He was my pastor at one time at Trinity Pentecostal Church in the mid 90's. He had a heart for the people and loved God and His Word. I do want to express my deepest sympathies to his wife and family. He will be missed by all who knew him. I believe he had a great impact on everyone that came in contact with him. You guys will be in my prayers.
Rev. Walter Fugate
January 13, 2008
I'm really sorry to here this he was a good man. your in my prayers.
napier family
January 12, 2008
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
NANCY barrett
January 12, 2008
Father in Jesus Name I pray that the criminals be found and brought to justice in Jesus Name! I also pray for their souls...that they would be saved. God have Mercy.
Father may your peace be with the family...and may you give them visions of Pastor Estepp dancing at the feet of Jesus!
Jd Gregory
January 12, 2008
I did not know Mr Estep but from all I have heard and read he sounds like one awesome man. My prayers go out to this family.
Debie Shepherd
January 12, 2008
We were saddened to learn of Marion`s untimely, cruel, ruthless departure. I have known him all of my adult life, and never heard anyone speak an ill word of him.
Finley Begley
January 12, 2008
bro. estep was a very good man, our whole famliy was very thankful that he was always there for everyone like the, Gabbards,micintosh's,riley's,we are thankful for everything he has did for all of us
AS a FRIEND and a bro. in christ allen kathy and kids
Allen Gabbard
January 12, 2008
I was very saddened to hear this story as my sister and mother often attended services when Bro. Estep would visit Austin, IN. I know my sister (Sandra Bowling) always spoke highly of this good man. Obviously he was very Christ-like as he gave his life trying to help someone in need. What a testimony he left behind! May the Lord send His Holy Spirit to comfort all the friends and family that Bro. Estep left behind.
Joani Wagner
January 12, 2008
We were so sorry and shocked to hear of the death of Brother Estep. Our prayers and love go out to his family. He was here many times at the House of Prayer in Austin, In. to preach revivals. God bless his family.
Ruther Jay McIntosh Family
January 12, 2008
I have heard Marion Estep preach every since I was a small child. My dad, Larry Gross, has known him for years. May God Bless his family, and be with them in the days to come.
Rachel Woods
January 12, 2008
everyone will miss this wonderful man.
January 12, 2008
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
Brenda A
January 12, 2008
i want to express my deepest sympathy for bro marions kids and family.he will be very sadly missed
i knew him all of my life,i have alot of memories of him.are prayers are with you and love you
e.j. and laura (henson) riley
January 12, 2008
I am so shocked and sorry to hear about this happening to such a good, Godly man. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. I lived across from Trinity Pentecostal Church for many years. My son and I walked over and heard him preach. I'm sure he is happy with God now.
Charlotte Dixon
January 12, 2008
Our condolances to the Estep family. Marion was a humble man of extraordinary character.
Sandlin Family
January 12, 2008
I'm am so sorry to hear of the loss of Bro. Estep. I never met him, but he sounds like a kind and loving man who lived for the Lord. May it be a comfort to those who loved him that he is with Jesus now. God Bless you.
Jill Adams
January 12, 2008
January 12, 2008
i am very sorry to hear this i met brother estep at brother charles miller;s a few months ago when i preached there my condolences and prayers go out to the family.
Wanda Vikara
January 12, 2008
Didn't know him but sounds like he was a good man. May God bless him.
Bryce Conn
January 12, 2008
Please accept our deepest sympathies.
Mr. & Mrs. John Walker
January 12, 2008
I didn't know this man but I know his Daughter Mary and his gradchildren Stacy and Joseph. From what all I have read he was a wonderful man. I am so sorry for your loss...
Katrina Baker
January 12, 2008
January 12, 2008
Marion will be missed by many. Everyone who knew him liked and respected him. He has spent his life spreading the word of God. Now he is reaping his rewards in Heaven. RIP Marion Estep.
Pauletta C
January 12, 2008
dear family marion has been in our family for years my father danul riley the,family use to love to hear him preach i cant express enough how he will be missed he never said any wrong thing to anyone he was very loved in our family we will always remember him in our hearts the Riley family . lucy,janet,michael,steven
lucy,janet michael stevenl Riley
January 12, 2008
January 12, 2008
i grew up going to church with bro. estep. he was a good man and he was always nice. i am sure he is with god now. my deepest sympathy for his family. anna fultz bruner
anna bruner
January 12, 2008
I was first introduced to Bro. Estep and his preaching as a kid way back in the 1970's during one of his many visits to Southern Indiana. My heart is broken that we've lost one of the best preachers of my lifetime, and one of my personal favorites.

May God bless and comfort the Estep family.
Marvin Gabbard & Family
January 12, 2008
This man was a great man doing the will of our lord. May his family be richly blessed in this time of heartache. God Bless you all.
Derrick Tomes
January 12, 2008
I remember Marion Estep as the man who would always give a ride to hitchhikers and help anyone in need. I would see him at the post office, in Chavies. He would always say hello, with a smile on his face. He will be missed by everyone who knew him.
Claudie Ray Miller
January 12, 2008
ive known bro estep ever sense i was a little girl,my mom used to just about stay with him and nancy,her name is laura(henson)riley.he is one good man.a really good preacher.
allen and kathy gabbard
January 12, 2008
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
January 12, 2008
To all of you children I am sorry for your loss.I know not the words to say because I lost both my parents but not this way.You all are in my thoughts and prayers .
Nancy Crase
January 12, 2008
I had only met Brother Estep a few months ago at the church I attend and he was a very knowlegable and funny man behind the pulpit. I will really miss this preacher.His life and words touched so many.May God Bless his family in this terrible situation.
Kenneth Hall
January 12, 2008
Very sorry to hear this terrible news.

With compassion,
Mike Sawyer
January 12, 2008
I remember marion estep being at brother Estill Sizemores about two years ago.I came to visit that night and brother marion told brother Estill to let me preach. he was that kind of person. he pretered his brother before himself. I have known marion for many years. we are kin-folks. I will surely miss him.
Estill Baker
January 12, 2008
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