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O.W. Efurd, former Hawaii Pacific Baptist exec, dies

HONOLULU (BP)–Former Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention executive director and longtime Hawaii pastor O.W. “Dub” Efurd died in Wahiawa, Hawaii, Aug. 9.

Efurd, 68, had been undergoing chemotherapy treatments for several months and was recently hospitalized with double pneumonia.

“Dub was a gifted leader guiding God’s churches in the Pacific for over four decades,” said Veryl Henderson, HPBC executive director. “He was a personal friend who was a mentor and a co-laborer. His absence has already been felt. His encouraging words and personal affirmations will be missed for a long time to come.”

“We lost a great pillar in the Christian community,” George Iwahiro, a former HPBC president, said in an Aug. 13 Honolulu Star-Bulletin obituary for Efurd.

Funeral services will be held Sunday, Aug. 28 at 4 p.m. at Olivet Baptist Church in Honolulu where Efurd preached his first sermon in Hawaii in 1962.

Known for his humble spirit and his pastor’s heart, Efurd served as executive director of the HPBC from 1989 to 2003. Under his leadership, the number of HPBC congregations grew from 82 to 117 and membership grew from 14,000 to more than 20,000 Southern Baptists in Hawaii, Guam, Okinawa, American Samoa and Western Samoa.

“During some of our turbulent years, he has brought peace and unity to our convention,” said Robert Miller, pastor of Waialae Baptist Church and former HPBC evangelism and church planting ministries leader, when Efurd retired.

After retiring in 2003, Efurd served as Hawaii Baptist Foundation president until his death. As foundation president, he led workshops and conferences on strengthening churches financially. He also continued to supply preach in the islands and last year served as interim pastor for Mililani Baptist Church where he had spent most of his years as pastor.

“His heartbeat was in helping churches maintain quality of care and support for its members,” Henderson said in the Star-Bulletin article.

Efurd’s ministry in Hawaii spanned 42 years. In 1963, he served as founding pastor of Kona Baptist Church in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island, and in 1972, as founding pastor of Mililani Baptist Church on Oahu. During his pastorate at Mililani, what began as a mission of 35 people grew to a church of 400 making it one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in Hawaii.

In 1986, Efurd was named associational director of missions for Oahu where he served for three years before becoming executive director of the convention.

“He is a man of humility who leads by example,” Miller said when Efurd retired. “Dub always goes that extra mile, never complains and thinks about others first.”

Efurd was born in Fort Smith, Ark., in 1936 and was raised in nearby Roland, Okla., where he became a Christian at 12. He received his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater where he felt called to vocational ministry.

While working on a master of religious education and bachelor of divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, he knew God had called him specifically to be a pastor. He also met his wife, Grace, another religious education student there. In 1993, he earned his doctorate from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif.

As a seminary student, Efurd pastored Farris Baptist Church in Farris, Okla., and Plain View Baptist Church in Krum, Texas.

Efurd is survived by his wife, Grace; son, Steve Efurd of Plano, Texas; daughter, Laura Efurd of San Francisco; and three grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dub Efurd Memorial Fund at the Hawaii Baptist Foundation, 2042 Vancouver Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96822. The funds will be distributed to ministries Efurd strongly supported.

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