Rev. Jesse L. Kidd died September 24, 2020, in Robert Lee, Texas. A private family graveside service was held Monday, September 28, 2020, at Fairmount Cemetery in San Angelo.
A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 10:30 AM at The First Baptist Church of San Angelo.
Mr. Kidd was born to Ida Kidd and John Kidd on September 20, 1923, in their farmhouse near Urbana, Arkansas. The family moved to farm land in Duvall County, Texas when Jesse was three, then to the Ozarks near Flippin, Arkansas where he completed grade school, then back to their home in Urbana, enabling Jesse to enroll in Urbana High School at age nineteen. Induction into the US Army may, 10, 1944 supplanted graduation. After serving in the China/Burma/India Theatre, he was honorably discharged April 14, 1946.
At Ouachita Baptist College (now University) Jesse responded "Yes," to God's call to preach, and he was ordained by the Urbana Baptist Church on January 11, 1948. He pastored Philadelphia and Calion Baptist church while in Ouachita, where he was awarded the Bachelor of Arts. He studied at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, traveling weekends to pastor the Ebenezer Baptist Church near El Dorado, Arkansas. At seminary, he responded to God's call to serve as a foreign missionary. He was awarded the Master of Divinity and continued pastoring Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Following his commitment, Jesse landed at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 19, 1958. He served in Volta Redonda (state of Rio de Janeiro) alongside Southern Baptist missionaries, Walter and Imogene McNealy for nine years, lovingly supported by some churches of Liberty Baptist Association in Union and Ouachita counties of Arkansas. Mr. Kidd met Wilma Alice Gemmell, Associate Missionary of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) who was working in the Board's financial office in Rio de Janeiro, and they were married October 14, 1967 in St. John's Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. They were named Associate Missionaries of the foreign Mission Board on March 13, 1969 and returned to Brazil in July.
They served six years in the state of Santa Catarina in pioneer evangelism and for health reasons moved to the state Minas Gerais. There, he was "Director of Missions" of the North Association of Baptist Churches, which are the churches in the geographical area centered by the city of Montes Claros. The couple lived in the city, the agricultural center for over one million people, six hours by auto from missionary colleagues in the state capital. A vision of new church growth, strengthening existing churches, encouraging the pastors, and expanding the work of winning the lost; this was the ministry of the missionary Jesse Kidd.
After ten years, Jesse was granted Honorary Citizenship by the city council of Montes Claros on September 22, 1988 - the first time the Council had so honored a foreigner.
Missionary service in Brazil continued until 1989 when the Kidds retired to Baptist Retirement Community in San Angelo, Texas. They wrote The Kidds of Brazil, their joint autobiographies. They were members of Immanuel and First Baptist churches, where Jesse was a member of the Berean Sunday School class. Rev. Kidd ministered in preaching, promotion of the Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions, and Bible teaching in the chapel of Baptist Retirement Community.
Those preceding Jesse in death are his parents; siblings George Kidd and Willie Mae Pelham; brother-in-law Rex Matthews and Alfred Pelham; niece and nephews Alice Neal, Johnny Matthews, and George Neil Kidd; great niece Lydia Hampton; and great-great nephew Chris Burch.
Surviving family are Wilma Alice Gemmell Kidd, wife of 52 years, and nieces Rexene Setters and Curtis Ann Davis and their families. Wilma's niece Janel and husband Larry Howard lovingly ministered to Jesse. Blessed gratitude to those of Baptist Retirement Community and others.
The couple started a fund in 1977 to aid Americans studying theology. Memorials may be made to the Wilma Alice Gemmell Kidd and Jesse Kidd Endowed Scholarship, Howard Payne University, P.O. Box 2369, Brownwood, Texas 76804; or to a ministry of your choice.
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