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Roy Sutton, dead at 95, was longtime leader in the West

WAXAHACHIE, Texas (BP)–Roy F. Sutton, a pioneer in Southern Baptist work in the West, died May 10 in Waxahachie, Texas. He was 95.

He was executive director-treasurer of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention from 1970-80, first joining the Arizona convention staff in 1946 at a time when the convention included churches spanning nine states, from Mexico to Canada.

“He was a true pioneer leader in Southern Baptist development in the Far West,” said Dan C. Stringer, retired Arizona Southern Baptist Convention executive director-treasurer. “He came into Arizona Southern Baptist life at a critical time in the development of the work, and he was a part of carrying on that strong mission concept.”

Sutton had a hand in the birth of two state conventions. He made the motion at a state convention organizational meeting in 1955 to organize the Colorado Baptist General Convention. He was Arizona executive director when the Nevada Baptist Convention was formed in 1978 from Nevada churches related to the Arizona and California conventions.

Prior to becoming Arizona executive director, Sutton held numerous positions with the state convention. In fact, state convention history writer C.L. Pair wrote that “no other person has served the convention in as many capacities as has Roy Sutton.”

He served as both assistant and associate executive director, missions division director, stewardship director and as a field worker in Tucson and Phoenix. He was present when the Catalina Baptist Association in Tucson was formed and was its first associational missionary.

In addition, he served as vice president of Grand Canyon College (now University) and as pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Tucson; First Baptist Church, Coolidge; and College Park Baptist Church, Phoenix. He was state convention president in 1951.

Sutton left Arizona to serve New Mexico Baptists as director of both the New Mexico Baptist Foundation and Brotherhood department. He then served as pastor of South Denver Baptist Church in Denver, Colo., before returning to Arizona.

He was a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Grand Canyon College.

Preceding him in death were his first wife, Dorothy Anne, and his second wife, Helena. Survivors include his wife, Marie Cunningham Sutton of Waxahachie, Texas; one daughter, Farrell Graham of Waxahachie, Texas; and one son, Mike Sutton of Elizabeth, La.

Services were May 13 in Waxahachie, with interment in Louisiana.

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