American Baptist Churches of Ohio remembrances.

We Remember Rev. Kenneth Lew Damon


Rev. Kenneth Lew Damon, born June 4th, 1957, to Sara Crabb Damon and Jack Almon Damon, passed away on Good Friday, April 15, 2022. He was a pastor at First Baptist Church of Bucyrus, Ohio for 10 years and the pastor of Shroyer Road Baptist Church for 25 years before retiring in January of 2020.

Ken received his Bachelor of Science in psychology and religion from Mount Union University (13 time football national champions!) and his Master of Divinity from Gordon Conwell Seminary.  

He was winner of the Harry Manning award from American Baptist Churches for distinguished service. He was a lifelong learner and an avid reader. He had a perfectly-timed sense of humor. He had a zest for life, playing with electronic helicopters and nerf guns up until the day he passed. He LOVED food. He maintained a beautiful garden with his wife and kept a yard full of beautiful birds. He was a music buff, with an eclectic playlist for every occasion. He had a passion for social justice and fighting for those whose voices are often unheard. His empathy was palpable in every interaction. 

Most of all, he was devoted to serving God through loving every person he came across. He was a man of patience and authenticity, loving his family and humanity without limitations or judgment. Humility and humor remain his legacy through the thousands of souls he impacted. To have known him was to have glimpsed God’s love. He will be deeply missed and remembered with the purest gratitude.

Ken is survived by his wife of 41 years, Jennifer, his sisters Amy and Janice, his daughter Julia, his sons Kyle and Joel, his daughter-in-law Nicole, his grandchildren, Jack, Skyler, Anemone, and his granddog Molly. Please keep the Damon family in your prayers.

Celebrating the life and ministry of Kenneth Edsel Peterson


Kenneth Edsel Peterson, 96 of Delaware entered Eternal Life early Monday morning, March 14, 2022 at his residence. Kenneth had a long history of work in American Baptist Churches both here in Ohio and across the country.

Born May 30, 1925 to his parents Ebert Russell & Jessie Hazel (Simmon) Peterson on their farm in Rock Island County, Il. Ken graduated from High School in Rock Island, Il in1943. Called to the Army Air Corp during WWII, he became a tail gunner on a B17 stationed in England flying 20 missions over Europe, and discharged in 1945.

After returning home he attended Augustana College in Rock Island, where he graduated in 1949. He married Genevieve E. Mac Neill on August 21, 1949 and they located in Rochester NY where he graduated from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in 1952.

Ken’s pastoral duties were with the First Baptist Church in Morris Illinois, a period of time as a staff member in the Youth Department of American Baptist Churches USA encouraging young people all over the country to develop their leadership skills in service to others, Memorial Baptist Church in Dayton Ohio, First Baptist Church Lexington, Massachusetts, and Cherry Hill Baptist Church Dearborn Heights, Michigan. 

Read more: Celebrating the life and ministry of Kenneth Edsel Peterson

Rev. Bryan J. Manary Passes into the Arms of Jesus


Rev. Mr. Bryan J. Manary, age 62, of Madison, Ohio passed away peacefully on Thursday, December 2, 2021 at UH Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood. He was born on December 6, 1958 the son of John and Jean (Courtright) Manary. He was a graduate of Lake Catholic High School and also of Northern Seminary in Lisle, IL.

Pastor Bryan was the minister at the United Church of Geneva. He was well loved and respected by his congregation as well as his friends and colleagues. He was active at Camp Koinonia and served on the Board for the American Baptist Churches of Ohio.

He is survived by his sister, Colleen (Fred) Berg; brother, Michael (Theresa) Manary; nieces and nephews, Shain Berg, Brittany (DaWayne) Watkins, Patrick Manary, Ryan (Laura) Manary, Brad (Faith) Manary and Sarah Manary. He was preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Kevin.

Please keep the Manary family in your prayers.

Rev. Dennis Karl McDonald Enters Eternal Paradise


Rev. Dennis Karl McDonald, 71, was escorted by Jesus to his eternal paradise that has been prepared for him on December 1, 2021.

He was born on October 1, 1950 in Philadelphia, PA to Dr. Khlar and Helen (Hind) McDonald.

Dennis was a graduate of Ohio Northern University (BS Civil Engineering), Akron University (MS Civil Engineering) and Ashland Theological Seminary (MS). He was employed by Babcock and Wilcox for 42 years where he worked as a Technical Fellow. He was the former Pastor of Newman Baptist Church and a current Associate Pastor at First Baptist of Massillon. He was also active with Impact Massillon and Camp Koinonia.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Catharine (Boyer) McDonald; their children, Scott L. (Meghan) McDonald and Melanie (Nick Vitalbo) Westfall; grandchildren, Brooke, Jordan, Devin, Madison, MacKenna and Macy; great-grandchildren, Caidyn, Oliver, Norah, Brett and Iris; and siblings, Khlare Bracken, Kathy (Bob) Meley and Kerry (Dottie) McDonald.

Please keep the McDonald family in your prayers.

Rev. Donald Frank Smith Called Home by His Lord and Savior


Donald Frank Smith, age 68, Pastor of the Waynesfield Baptist Church, was called home by his Lord and Savior on November 6th, 2021.

He was born on May 22, 1953, in Middlesboro, Kentucky. He was a graduate of Williamsburg Baptist College in Williamsburg, Kentucky where he dedicated his life to the ministry. Reverend Don was called to minister at the Waynesfield Baptist Church on November 18, 1984, where he has a large church family and will be greatly missed.

Prior to going to Waynesfield he was a youth pastor at the First Baptist Church in Urbana. Don was very active in the Waynesfield area and loved being a part of the community and helping others. The church was his second family and he spent much of his time helping grow the church and being there for them. He enjoyed hosting exchange students and loved to travel the world. Later in life, he organized tours and teaching others the history of Israel and other places. Pastor Don will be remembered for serving the Lord, his smile, always willing to help others, and being a good and faithful servant. Don was a good man!

Please keep the Smith family in your prayers.