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Dr. Richard Wayne “Jack” Causey, 88, beloved husband of the late Mary Elizabeth May Causey, passed peacefully into God’s arms on the evening of November 28, 2023. Born in Meridian, Mississippi, he was a son of the late Harry and Genevieve Causey.
Jack enjoyed riding bikes and “motor scooters”, delivering the local newspaper, and leading the community Demolay “fraternal” organization. After graduating from Meridian Senior High School, Jack first attended the local community college while working as an announcer in radio and the newly developing TV market. With a move to the University of Alabama and joining KA social fraternity to pursue radio and TV, he discovered that his voice and interests would be better served in the ministry. Realizing this, he transferred to Mississippi College and graduated in 1957. Before heading off to seminary, a youth internship at First Baptist in Meridian launched a young romance with Mary Elizabeth May, who later became his wife and partner in ministry in 1959. Jack completed his Masters degree and, later, his Doctorate of Ministry at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Pastoral ministry was Jack’s natural gift. He began serving God as Associate Minister at First Baptist Church in Greensboro, NC (1960-1966) and then as Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church in Gaffney, SC (1966-1974), Pendleton Street Baptist Church in Greenville, SC (1974-1986) and finally First Baptist Church in Statesville, NC (1986-2000), where he retired and was named Pastor Emeritus.
Lacking a commitment to other hobbies or interests, Jack failed miserably at retirement. Over the next couple of decades, Jack served several North Carolina churches as interim pastor and counseled countless other church leadership groups through the process of evaluating their vision and discerning God’s will for their next pastor. Affiliated with both Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of NC and the Center for Congregational Health at Winston-Salem’s Baptist Hospital, Jack created and led programs for churches to discern their mission and next pastors, as well as for NC ministers to discern their next pastoral role and navigate ministry challenges.
With each ministry experience, Jack became more broadly known in Baptist life and appreciated for his captivating sermon storytelling, creative youth camp worship experiences, encouraging notes and compassionate counsel, social consciousness and responsibility, and genuine relational ministry. He had a tender kind soul, a genuine grace and humility, an easy sense of humor, and a bright sparkle in his sea blue eyes.
Beyond his own gifts and deep commitment to God’s work, he proudly acknowledged that his “secret weapon” was his wife and ministry partner, Mary Lib. Actively engaged in their churches as well as the larger community, Mary Lib widely shared her friendship, hospitality, and joyful spirit. Following her passing, Jack’s family was grateful for the loving care, calls and visits of faithful caregivers, ministry colleagues, church members, friends and neighbors.
Jack is survived by his daughter, Kim Ray (Robby) of Charlotte, NC, and his son, Richey Causey (Lynn) of Simpsonville, SC; and three grandsons, Matthew Causey of Simpsonville, SC, Michael Causey of Ladson, SC, and Miller Ray of Charlotte, NC. He was particularly proud of his grandsons and the fine young men that each is becoming.
In addition to his loving wife and parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Harry Gene Causey.
A celebration of life will be held at First Baptist Church in Statesville, NC on Saturday, January 6, at 2:00 pm as well as at First Baptist Church in Greenville, SC on Sunday, January 7 at 2:00 pm. The family will receive friends immediately following each service at the church.
Memorials may be made to the Causey Scholarship Fund - Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of NC, 2640 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27016-3817; First Baptist Church – Statesville, 815 Davie Avenue, Statesville, NC 28677; Gordon Hospice House - Hospice of Iredell County, 2341 Simonton Road, Statesville, NC 28625, or to an organization or charity of donor’s choice.