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Missionary to St. Lucia, Joe L. Prickett, dies

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)–Joe Lavern Prickett, a Southern Baptist missionary assigned to the island of St. Lucia in the West Indies, died Feb. 3 in Oklahoma City after a long illness. He was 67.
In St. Lucia, Prickett and his wife, Helen, helped start a church from a base of Chinese factory workers. Many of the 25 baptized believers in that church have since gone back to China. Their work was featured in Baptist Press stories in July 1996 and December 1997.
The Pricketts were appointed International Mission Board missionaries together in 1990. The former Helen Gilmore, she had been a missionary in Kenya for 18 years before they married, but resigned after she met him on furlough in 1979.
He was nearly 51 and she 45 when they married two years later. It was the first marriage for both of them. “My marrying Helen has been a high point of my life,” he wrote later. “She is a great wife, friend and helper.” The two worked together assisting Hispanic congregations in
Oklahoma and participated in volunteer mission trips to Spain and Brazil before applying for missionary service.
A church starter, Prickett’s first assignment with the IMB was in Trinidad. The couple helped several Baptist groups there begin dialogue and cooperation.
Earlier in his life, Prickett started churches through the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board. He was a pastor and church starter in Oklahoma, Panama and Puerto Rico from 1960-75. He taught seminary in Panama.
From 1975-90, while a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the state of Oklahoma, he helped start several congregations among Spanish-speaking people as a volunteer church planter.
Prickett grew up on a farm west of Dill City, Okla., the eighth of 10 children. He received the bachelor of science degree from the University of Oklahoma in Norman and the master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Besides his wife, he is survived by two brothers and three sisters.