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Joey and Rory Feek
Joey and Rory Feek. Photo by U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tiffany Addair

2016 Year in Review | Notable deaths

They lived lives of preaching, ministry, writing, music and service — these are some of those who had a left a mark on our culture and world for Christ.

Jane Stuart Smith
90, Jan. 14 • Opera singer from Virginia whose successful career on the Italian stage ended when in 1960 she professed faith in Christ, renounced the “temptations” of the opera world, and dedicated herself to Christian ministry at the scholarly L’Abri Christian community in Switzerland headed by Francis and Edith Schaeffer. She helped to form an ensemble that sang in concerts internationally.

Don McClanen
91, Feb. 16 • High-school and college basketball coach who founded the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) in 1954, with a major assist from Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey.

Charles C. Ryrie
90, Feb. 16 • Retired professor of systematic theology and director of doctoral studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and author of more than 50 books. He edited The Ryrie Study Bible, containing 10,000 of his explanatory notes in four Bible versions (KJV, NASB, ESV, and a Spanish translation), with sales of more than 2.6 million copies.

Gilbert Morris
86, Feb. 18 • Former pastor, English professor, and author of some 230 novels. The best-known of his works is the 40-volume House of Winslow series, covering the centuries of America’s roots and growth.

Joey Feek
40, March 4 • Country/bluegrass/gospel duo singer with her husband Rory. Their albums made Top 10 country lists, but she didn’t live to see the success of 2016’s Hymns That Are Important to Us, which reached nearly 500,000 in U.S. sales as of November. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014, shortly after giving birth to a baby daughter with Down syndrome.

Gary Smalley
75, March 6 • Popular speaker, broadcaster, and author of dozens of best-selling books, all part of a ministry focused on healing and restoring marriage and family relationships.

Jerry Bridges
86, March 6 • Administrator, Bible teacher, speaker, and author (The Pursuit of Holiness and others) with Colorado-based The Navigators discipleship ministry for nearly 60 years.

Kenneth E. Bailey
85, May 23 • Evangelical scholar, author, and professor who spent 40 years (1955-1995) in the Middle East, learning its history, cultures, and languages, and teaching in -seminaries and institutes in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem, and Cyprus. A Presbyterian, he was known for books like Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes.

Jan Crouch
78, May 31 • Colorful Christian TV co-host and pink-wig enthusiast who, with her late husband Paul, co-founded Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). She appeared regularly on the broadcasts and managed TBN’s Holy Land Experience, a religious theme park in Orlando, Fla.

Robertson McQuilkin
88, June 2 • Christian educator, former missionary and church planter in Japan, and president of Columbia Bible College and Seminary (now Columbia Interna-tional University). He resigned early in order to care for his Alzheimer’s-stricken wife, Muriel, who died in 2003.

Charles (C.D.) Brooks
85, June 5 • Prominent Seventh-day Adventist evangelist who preached on six continents and for 23 years was the speaker on Breath of Life, a weekly Adventist television outreach to African-American viewers.

William L. Armstrong
79, July 5 • Colorado media executive and conservative Republican who served in Congress (1972-1990, including two terms in the Senate, where he was a strong ally to Ronald Reagan). He became a “committed Christian” in the 1970s, was a longtime board member of Campus Crusade for Christ (since renamed Cru), and president of Colorado Christian University from 2006 until cancer felled him this year.

Gary S. Paxton
77, July 17 • Songwriter, producer, and singer who wrote more than 2,000 songs, produced the pop hits “Alley-Oop” and “Monster Mash,” faded out on drugs and alcohol, visited a church in Nashville and professed faith in 1971, switched to working with Christian artists, and was inducted into the Country Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998.

Tim LaHaye
90, July 25 • Former evangelical pastor in San Diego, leader and benefactor of conservative causes and institutions nationally, and author of more than 50 books, including with co-author Jerry B. Jenkins the best-selling prophecy-themed Left Behind fiction series (with sales of more than 65 million since 1995).

Harry Briggs Jr.
75, Aug. 9 • As a young boy he became a catalyst of the Supreme Court case desegregating public schools. In 1949 he and other African-American children in his South Carolina community had to walk up to 9 miles to a segregated school while buses took white children to their own segregated school. That led to a lawsuit that folded into the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ending school segregation.

Phyllis Schlafly
92, Sept. 5 • One of the most energetic and influential advocates of conservatism in recent U.S. history. A faithful Catholic focused on protection of the family, busy mother of six, late-blooming lawyer, skilled debater, broadcaster, and author of the best-selling 1964 book, A Choice Not an Echo, that helped define the conservative revolution.

Howard E. Butt Jr.
89, Sept. 11 • Nationally known Southern Baptist business and lay leader, an heir apparent to his family’s Texas-based H-E-B supermarket chain. A catalyst for workplace ministry, he also was known for his one-minute positive-thought broadcasts aired daily on 3,000 radio outlets.

Lawrence O. Richards
85, Oct. 16 • Prominent and prolific Christian education researcher and writer, he was author of more than 250 books, including popular Bibles for children and teens.

Peter Wagner
86, Oct. 21 • Academic, a missionary in Bolivia for 16 years, a professor in evangelism and church growth at Fuller Seminary, founder of Global Harvest Ministries, and author of more than 70 books.

Jack Chick
92, Oct. 23 • Former technical illustrator for an aerospace company, advocate of fundamentalist Christianity, and cartoonist–publisher of gospel tracts in mini-comic book format.

Cliff Barrows
93, Nov. 15 • Song leader, music director, and emcee for evangelist Billy Graham’s crusades, from the first one in 1947 in Michigan to the last in 2005 in New York City. Barrows, an ordained Baptist, was a skilled preacher himself and sometimes substituted when Graham fell ill. Graham often told others, “Cliff could just step up and preach a lot better sermon than me because God gave him the gift—not only of organization and music, but also of preaching and teaching.”

Russell Shedd
87, Nov. 26 • Teacher, linguist, pastor, writer, publisher, translator, missionary, theologian—his was a household name among evangelicals in Brazil, where he put down roots in 1962 and taught for 30 years at a Baptist seminary.

Jean Garton
87, Dec. 23 • Founder of Lutherans for Life, host of the daily radio program Speaking of Life, and author of Who Broke the Baby?, Garton spent 47 years in pro-life advocacy.

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