ROCHESTER, Minn.—Lillian Orton, a Baptist Mid-Missions missionary, died July 6. She was 84.
Lillian served along with her husband, Knute, as a missionary in the Kaga-Bandoro region of Central African Republic. They were sent by Southside Baptist Church, Sebring, Florida, in 1957, their fourth year of marriage.
Lillian had a multifaceted ministry in Africa. She taught weekly Bible classes for women and children, and taught reading, writing, and comprehension to new Bible school students. She served on the field linguistics committee charted to develop and write reading primers in the Sango language. In addition, she became “Aunt Lillian” to many missionary kids when she and Knute became dorm parents at the boarding school in Kaga-Bandoro. Knute served as a lab tech and dental care provider. As his dental practice grew, it was not unusual to find Lillian providing hospitality for a sundry of visitors from near and far.
The introduction of short-wave radio in Central African Republic found Lillian becoming the regular voice for station #52 in Kaga-Bandoro, and she faithfully manned the daily morning and afternoon broadcasts. However, it was at the typewriter, and then later, the computer keyboard that Lillian practiced her true gift. Lillian loved to write and spent many hours communicating and sharing news and stories of the Central African Republic and mission work with her many friends, family, and supporters.
Though Lillian and Knute retired, they continued to be engaged in a cross-referencing Bible project in the Sango language for pastors in the Central African Republic.
Lillian is survived by her husband of 63 years, Knute; two daughters, Nicole Strader and Danielle; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.