Baptist and Reflector
POWELL — Retired Southern Baptist missionary Patricia “Pat” Stooksbury died April 29 in Knoxville. She was 70.
Stooksbury accepted God’s call to the mission field at the age of 16 and after graduating from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, she spent two years as a journeyman missionary in Ecuador. She later graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky, and was appointed as a career missionary by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
She served as a missionary for 36 years in Costa Rica and Bolivia where she taught people how to share their faith and strengthen their daily relationship with God.
Vickie Anderson, executive director of Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union, was a longtime friend of Stooksbury, who was a member of both Wallace Memorial Baptist Church and Callahan Road Baptist Church in Knoxville.
“I first met Pat when I was serving on the Tennessee WMU GA/Acteens Camp Staff from 1986-1992,” Anderson recalled. “Pat served as a camp missionary for several summers when she was home on stateside assignment. She was so good with the campers and the staff, sharing her passion for her Lord, her calling as a missionary, and her life on the mission field. She was full of joy and how I loved hearing her laugh!
“While we grieve that Pat is no longer here with us, we rejoice that she has returned to her Sender!”
In 2014, Stooksbury was featured in a Knoxville News-Sentinel story (that was later reprinted with permission in the Baptist and Reflector) about her funeral plans. She had several health issues at the time and was planning ahead.
Stooksbury had a special casket made designed to look like a shipping crate that she had used over the years while on the mission field. “I think it’s appropriate for the occasion,” she told the Knoxville paper.
On the sides of the casket, in both English and Spanish, she had the words written, “To Heaven Through Christ Jesus.”
She told the News-Sentinel, “I wanted to pre-plan my funeral and pay for it because I can’t see spending a lot of money on a hole in the ground. I’m not going to be there anyway. I’ve always wanted to be buried in a cardboard box … so I figured a pine box is the next best thing.
“Every four years I’ve packed up crates with supplies to send to the field. I thought that would be neat if I could be buried in a crate.”
Stooksbury’s funeral was held May 3 in Knoxville.