MOBILE, Ala. (BP)–Tammy Litton, who led a large women’s ministry at First Baptist North Mobile, Ala., and whose husband Ed is a past Southern Baptist Convention first vice president, died in an automobile accident Aug. 16. She was 47.
Tammy Litton died after crashing into the back of a stalled 18-wheeler on U.S. 98 in Greene County, Miss., the Mobile Press-Register reported. Her 13-year-old daughter Kayla was in the car and was taken to an area hospital and released.
Litton, a talented singer and musician, was taking her daughter to Hattiesburg, Miss., to meet a music professor and talk about possible cello coaching for Kayla, the newspaper said.
Ed Litton has been pastor of First Baptist North Mobile since 1994. In addition to serving as SBC first vice president from 2001-02, he also has served on the SBC Committee on Committees and on Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s board of trustees.
The funeral was held Monday, Aug. 20.
“She was a mentor to women on how to serve and love your husband and to co-serve with him in ministry,” Judy Rush, Ed Litton’s assistant at the church, told Baptist Press. “She was full of life, absolutely full of life, just a joy. She had dimples, and when she smiled her whole face smiled.”
Tammy Litton led the church’s women’s ministry, which holds special women’s events two to three times each year, drawing hundreds. The events feature a dinner, music and an out-of-town speaker. At each event the women also invite women struggling with alcohol and drug addiction who don’t have a church and who have been seeking help at the local Home of Grace addiction ministry.
Blessed with a “beautiful” voice, Litton was heavily involved in the music ministry, singing solos and playing the oboe in the orchestra, Rush said. Litton also was director of the church’s new music school, which provides private instrument, voice and theater lessons for children and youth. Litton formerly played oboe for professional orchestras in Arizona, the Press-Register reported.
In 2003 she served as the recording secretary/treasurer at the SBC annual meeting’s Ministers’ Wives Conference.
Ed Litton posted a statement on the church’s website, requesting prayer. Tammy Litton leaves behind three children: Joshua, 20, Tyler, 18, and Kayla.
“It was sudden and traumatic but her passing from death unto life is as real in its joy as my grief is in its pain,” Litton wrote. “We have the unexplainable peace of God. We know the power of the resurrection in this moment. Please pray that we will bear up under by the mighty power of God and not human will or strength.”
He also wrote an entry in his blog describing a time years ago when he took Joshua and Tyler — both small at the time — to a classical concert in Tucson, Ariz., to hear their mother play the oboe.
“As the symphony tuned to Tammy, I pulled the boys closer to me. ‘Your mother could tune the greatest orchestras in the world,’ I whispered into their little ears, ‘but she chose to stay at home and raise two boys for the glory of God,'” he wrote in the blog entry dated Aug. 18. “I don’t know if that memory or my ambitious words have a place in their minds today. But I will never forget how she tuned our lives. How she played in perfect pitch the melody that made life worth living.”
The stalled 18-wheeler that Tammy Litton struck apparently had run out of gas, the Press-Register reported, and was sitting in the right lane, with cones around it. That particular stretch of highway is straight, and it was not raining, Staff Sgt. James Snyder, a spokesman for the Mississippi Highway Patrol, told the newspaper.
“It looks like she veered at the last moment,” he said.
Michael Foust is assistant editor of Baptist Press.