LAKELAND, Fla.—Ronald Vernon McLucas, a pastor, youth pastor, and music minister in various churches, died Oct. 25 at age 81. But even before he accepted those positions, he served the Lord as a young boy. Ronald was saved at the age of 10. The next year he obtained a paper route with the Des Moines Register and Tribune, which he continued until after graduating from high school. He often distributed gospel tracts that he placed in the newspapers.
In high school he was active in Bible clubs; the Colportage Club, which distributed tracts throughout downtown Des Moines on Monday evening; the annual State Fair tract ministry; periodic street meetings; his local church services and youth meetings; Teens for Christ; and Youth for Christ. He played the accordion for numerous church services, street meetings, the Eldora Boys’ School, and a weekly radio ministry sponsored by a group of Christian youth from the fundamental churches of Des Moines.
Being led of God into the gospel ministry, Ronald entered Moody Bible Institute in 1951 to pursue the pastors’ course. He traveled with a male quartet as the accordionist, giving concerts throughout Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
On February 14, 1953, Ronald married Dona June Newbrough of Des Moines.
Ronald was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean conflict in 1953 and was honorably discharged in 1955. He was trained as a radio technician and forward observer in a mortar platoon of the infantry. Later his job description was changed to chaplain’s assistant. His conservatism and patriotism made him proud to serve his country.
In the fall of 1955 Ronald and Dona moved to Johnson City, N.Y., where he entered the five-year ThB program at Baptist Bible Seminary. After graduating in June 1960, Ronald served in youth and music positions at Park Avenue Baptist Church, Binghamton, N.Y. (1955–1960), and Ankeny (Iowa) Baptist Church (1960–1962) and pastored Norwoodville Baptist Church, Des Moines, Iowa (1962–1973); Calvary Baptist Church, Decorah, Iowa (1973–1988); Berean Independent Baptist Church, Fort Ashby, W.Va. (1989–1992); and Faith Baptist Church, Fowler, Colo. (1992–2007). During his pastorates in Iowa, he also served on the board of Iowa Regular Baptist Camp and was a member of the Iowa Association of Regular Baptist Churches Council of 10.
Dona preceded him in death in 1990. On Feb. 20, 1993, he married Janice Lee (Eaton) Jefferis, a missionary living in Portugal. She survives.
Ronald is also survived by two daughters, Bonny and Brenda; his stepchildren, Jewel DeFiores, Jeanne Straubel, Jesse Jefferis, and Joel Jefferis; 20 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
A memorial service will be held at Cornerstone Baptist Church, 6725 Green Road, Lakeland, FL 33810 at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1.