Willard Stull Jr., 93, died on July 4, 2012, in Novo Hamburgo, Brazil, where he was a longtime missionary.

At age 16, Willard dedicated his life to Christ, having accepted Christ as his Savior at age 12. After that commitment at age 16, he says, God changed his life’s direction from planning to attend a business school in Boston to enrolling in Baptist Bible Seminary, Johnson City, N.Y.

Willard graduated from Baptist Bible Seminary in 1939, and that August his home church, West Endicott (N.Y.) Baptist Church, commissioned him as a missionary to Brazil with Baptist Mid-Missions. On Dec. 13, 1939, Willard boarded a Norwegian freighter in New York and sailed to Brazil.

As Willard was arriving in Brazil, Miss Grace Heidt back in Iowa was preparing to also sail to Brazil. Grace was a member of Walnut Street Baptist Church, Waterloo, Iowa, and former secretary to Pastors P. B. Chenault and Robert Ketcham. Soon after Grace arrived in Brazil, she and Willard met at the edge of the Amazon River. They married on Sept. 9, 1940, and together they served faithfully in Manaus, Natal, and Belo Horizonte until her passing in 1979.

Willard finished his missionary career in the south of Brazil, serving with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism beginning in 1960. In 1994 he received a presidential citation from Dr. Wendell Kempton, ABWE president, for his service under ABWE.

In all, Willard served 73 years in Brazil. He died one day before he was to depart Brazil to live in the States, one month shy of his 94th birthday. He was loved by the many Brazilian and missionary colleagues to whom he ministered.

A son, Perry, preceded him in death in 2005. He is survived by a son, Bill; two daughters, Diana and Coralie; 12 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

Willard was buried in Brazil, where he believed God had called him to serve until his last day on earth. A memorial service took place Sept. 29 at West Endicott Baptist Church.

A memorial fund has been set up with ABWE. Gifts will go toward the Grace Stull Education Center at Faith Baptist Church in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil, one of their first church-planting ministries and a project that was dear to Willard’s heart.