American Baptist Churches of Ohio News from our regions around the state.

Pastor James W. Allison Passes

Pastor James W. Allison, 89, of New Lexington, Ohio died on Thursday, August 27, 2020 at Genesis Hospital, Zanesville, Ohio. Born June 13, 1931 in Somerset, Kentucky to the late Clyde Lee and Iva Anderson Allison. He graduated from St. Mary's High School; Rio Grande College; and Northern Baptist Seminary. He served as Pastor of Baptist Churches for 50 years; enjoyed carpentry, repairing broken things and yard sales. 

Pastor Allison is survived by his wife of 67 years, Wilda M. Dicke Allison; daughter, Patricia (Dean) Barnes, sons, Bruce (Kathy) Allison and Neal (Karen) Allison; grandchildren, Beth (Troy) Pingle, Tyrus Barnes, Kyle (Sarah) Barnes, Vanessa Allison, Joshua Allison and Anna Allison; great grandchildren, Evan, Trey, Avery and Audrey; brothers, John Allison and Richard Allison. In addition to his parents, preceded in death by brothers, Robert, Donald, Harold and Edward; sister, Darlene; granddaughter, Laura Maye Allison. Please keep the Allison family in your prayers.

Sophia Stephenson Joins the Angels

The American Baptist Churches of Ohio extends Christian Sympathy to the family of Sophia Stephenson, who passed away on July 24, and to the First Baptist Church of Delaware.  Mrs. Stephenson was the wife of the late Dr. James “Steve” Stephenson, who served as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Delaware from 1947 to 1987.  A memorial service is planned for a later date, and an obituary is not yet available, but the family would like to share this sad news with the ABC Ohio community.  Please join in prayers for the Stephenson family.

Rev. Edward G. Brutto Has Passed into Heaven's Arms


Rev. Edward G. Brutto, age 77, of Sebring passed away Sunday July 12 at Crandall Medical Center in Sebring. Rev. Brutto pastored for ten years at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Bloomingdale.

He was born September 28, 1942 in Canton, to Elmer and Ardena (Heinbauch) Brutto. A 1960 graduate of Sebring High School he went on to attend Kent State University. Edward was a veteran of the US Army Reserves who went to compete on the first Army Pistol Team in which they placed 8th in the world. He worked in telecommunications, working for several companies across Ohio such as Ohio Bell Ameritech, SBC, and AT&T before his retirement. Edward was a 52 year member of Alliance First Baptist Church.

He was involved in many organizations including American Baptist Churches of Ohio, President of Telephone Pioneers of America of Youngstown, as well as being a lifetime member of the NRA. He enjoyed fishing and hunting, as well as being a chef who enjoyed delighting others with his talent for cooking and catering. 

Those left to cherish his memory are his daughter, Danielle (Ray Dyer) Brutto; son Timothy E. (Deana) Brutto; granddaughters, Rachel and Monica Brutto.

He is preceded in death by his parents; wife, Linda K. Brutto whom he married September 3, 1966 and who passed away June 12, 2010

Memorial contributions can be made in Edward’s name to Alliance First Baptist Church 1659 W. State St Alliance, Ohio 44601 or Heart Reach Ministries of Youngstown 211 Redondo Rd, Youngstown, OH 44504.

Please keep the Brutto family in your prayers.

Rev. Rev. Richard Hunter Clossman Goes to be with the Lord


Dr. Rev. Richard Hunter Clossman, 91, of Elgin, passed away in his home surrounded by his loving family on November 9, 2019. He was born in Kokomo, IN on September 19, 1928 to the late Elmer Dunlap and Mary E. (Hunter) Clossman.

Richard was a graduate of Bob Jones University in South Carolina and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL and was ordained in 1952. He received a masters of Arts and a PHD in History from The Ohio State University in 1965 and 1971 respectively.

Dr Clossman served in ministry for congregations in Ohio, West Virginia, and Illinois. He also served as campus minister for American Baptist Students at Ball State University from 1968 to 1972. In 1972 he took a professorship of History at Judson College in Elgin, IL and retired from that calling in 1997, He was an active member of the First Baptist Church in Elgin, IL

Dr Clossman was the author of several books; A History of the Ohio Baptist Convention, I Will Stand and Sing, and American Character and the Influence of Film. He was an accomplished pianist and organist. He and his wife enjoyed season tickets to the opera in Chicago. He was a longtime member of Kiwanis and Friends of Judson.

Please keep the Clossman family in your prayers.

Rev. Dr. Morris W. Lee Sr. Transitions to His Heavenly Home


Rev. Dr. Morris W. Lee Sr., 83 made a transition to his heavenly home Friday, July 26, 2019, surrounded by his family.

The Rev. Dr. Morris W. Lee was born Oct. 19, 1935, in Isle of Wight County, Va., son of Peter H. and Nannie Crocker Lee, and was reared in Portsmouth, Va., where he attended the public schools.

He attended Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va., receiving an A.B. degree in History. He then attended the Graduate School of Religion for three years and finished Cum Laude with a Master of Divinity degree.

Rev. Dr. Lee served from 1957 to 1960 as minister of the Jerusalem Baptist Church of Doswell, Va. In September of 1960, he was called to pastorate of the Third Baptist Church of Youngstown, succeeding the late Dr. S.S. Booker, where he was currently still serving as Pastor up until his death.

Dr. Lee has participated in many activities of civic, community and ecclesiastical nature in the Youngstown area as well as in a large arena. He had served as a member of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, of the Home Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention, the Executive Board of the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention, the Board of Trustees of the American Churches of Ohio and the Ohio Council of Churches. 

He has been moderator of the Northern Ohio Baptist District Association, Director of Music for the Ohio General Baptist Convention, chairman of the Trumbull Baptist Neighborhood Ministries Committee, president of the Youngstown Ministerial Association and president of the Mahoning Valley Council of Churches.

Dr. Lee taught for several years in the Youngstown Extension of American Baptist Theological Seminary of Nashville, Tenn., in the Black Studies Program of Youngstown State University. He received an Doctor of Divinity degree from Virginia Union University. He completed course requirements toward a Doctorate in Ministry from Ashland University.

Dr. Lee married the love of his life, the former Beverly A. Chambliss, on June 11, 1966, and from their union they had two children, Morris W. Lee Jr. and Miriam M. Lee, both of Youngstown; one grandchild, JoLisa Collier-Lee; and a special granddaughter, Chelsea Anderson; two godsons, Michael (Cordella) Torbert of Mechanicsville, Md., and Craig McDowell of Syracuse, N.Y.; two special friends that were like siblings, Geneva Mason and Howard Pincham; along with a host of close cousins, friends all across the community, his beloved Third Baptist Church family; and his beloved cat, Zuri.

We lift up the Morris family in our prayers during this time.