Some of our readers may be familiar with Pastor Stephen Ellison’s columns, usually run in our Saturday edition, and may have wondered why they had not been published the last few weeks. After being hospitalized, Ellison died Feb. 15. To honor his contributions, we are printing his obituary in place of his column.
Stephen Wayne Ellison, age 63, of Board Camp, Arkansas, died, Tuesday, February 15, 2022 at the National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Steve was born on Wednesday, January 7, 1959 to Wayne Gene and Annette LaForge Ellison in Hallettsville, Texas.
Steve grew up on the family farm in Board Camp, AR and attended Board Camp Baptist Church. Steve had many fond memories from those days. Pastor and Mrs. Vernual Ridgeway were instrumental in him coming to Christ and surrendering to the ministry. Pastor Ridgeway baptized Steve in Board Camp Creek when he was thirteen years old. Steve graduated 3rd academically in the 1977 class of Mena High School. Steve participated in basketball and was a starter on the 1976 Arkansas State Champion Football Team from Mena H.S. After high school, Steve earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Steve later graduated with highest honors with a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO. Steve also earned certification in Intentional Interim Ministry from the Center for Congregational Health in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He later earned certification in Basic Christian Apologetics from the Creation Apologetics Teachers College based in Idaho.
In 1984, Steve put his double majors of Physical Education and Social Studies to use as a public school teacher and coach for ten years in Gatesville, TX. Steve also taught and coached in Cedar Hill, TX as well as Waldron and Mena, AR. Steve was active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as a student at Mena H.S. and in three of the schools where he coached. That FCA involvement led him to raise the necessary funds to open an FCA office in Waco, TX where he served as that office’s first Area Representative. Steve ministered on more than two-hundred school campuses in a twelve county area around Killeen and Waco including Baylor University. During that time, Steve was ordained to the gospel ministry by Trinity Baptist Church in Gatesville, TX. Because of their FCA relationship, Grant Teaff preached Steve’s ordination message.
Steve served in FCA as a volunteer for many years and for nine years in a variety of paid positions. He worked alongside many great and humble men, including Coach Teaff, Gene Stallings, Burton Lawless, Bobby Bowden, Cody Carlson, Tom Osborne, Spike Dykes, Tom Landry, and many others. Because of the FCA position, Steve began to receive requests to fill in for ill or traveling pastors. Before long, a small country church in Crawford, TX asked Steve to be their bi-vocational pastor where he served for four and one-half years while also continuing to serve as the Area Director for the Heart of Texas FCA. After that, Steve transitioned into a full-time pastorate in Hodgen, OK and later in the Hot Springs area.
In January of 2012, Steve simultaneously began serving as the Manager and Administrator for the Ouachita Baptist Assembly and as the Interim Pastor for Horatio FBC. After his ministry at Horatio, Associational Missionary duties were added to his OBA responsibilities. Steve then served as Interim Pastor at Mena FBC and Calvary BC. Steve wrote a weekly devotional column published across several southern states in hundreds of newspapers. Steve was even selected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Arkansas Baptist Newsmagazine for 2018 and 2019.
Steve’s final pastorate was at Salem Baptist Church in Nunley, AR. During his ministry at Salem he continued to teach Seminary Extension classes through the Ouachita Theological Training Institute in Mena, DeQueen, and at the Jim E. Hamilton Correctional Center in Hodgen. He loved the Salem children dearly and the entire Salem church. His heart was for discipleship across all ages. Steve tirelessly and faithfully served the Lord at home and vocationally throughout his entire life.
He was preceded in death by his father, Wayne Ellison and one brother, Michael Ellison.
Steve is survived by his wife of 30 years, Malea Ellison of Board Camp; his mother Annette Ellison of Board Camp; his sons and wives, Levi and Jessica Ellison of Mena and Caleb and Sidney Ellison of Conway; bonus son and fiance, Kendall Pearce and Ronni Denham of Hot Springs; his brother and wife, Brandon and Linda Ellison of Mena; one unborn grandson, Daniel Scott Ellison of Mena; Malea’s parents, Richard and Mary Ruth Martin of Mena; several nieces and nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.
Funeral services were held Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022 at the Salem Baptist Church.