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John William MacGorman

1920 ~ 2021

Visitation: Noon – 2 p.m. Thursday, December 30, 2021 at University Baptist Church. 

Funeral: 2 p.m. Thursday at University Baptist Church. 

Interment: Laurel Land Memorial Park. 

Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to make a donation to the J.W. MacGorman Scholarship Fund at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, to University Baptist Church, or a charity of your choice. 

 

 

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Dr. John William MacGorman passed away December 24, 2021, just two days prior to his 101st birthday.

A bare-bones view of the life of John (Jack) W. MacGorman is that he was born to Rev. John R. and Doris MacGorman in Amherst, Nova Scotia the day after Christmas in 1920 and died peacefully at home in Fort Worth, Texas the day before Christmas in 2021. It is particularly fitting for a man so focused on living for Christ to have his life bounded by Christmas.

He gained that focus the hard way, having rejected the faith of his parents as a young man. But while hitchhiking home from college in wintertime Maine, he contracted pneumonia which persisted. He entered a sanatorium in May 1939, but continued to deteriorate. Near death at age 18, but afraid to die, he began reading a Bible his father had left at his bedside. Through it, he found a living and loving God and dedicated his life to Christ.

He remained chronically ill due to bronchiectasis, a result of lung damage from pneumonia. His physician suggested that his best chance for survival and health was to move to the warm, dry climate of Arizona. Intending to take this advice, he left Maine in 1941, but ran out of money in Texas and remained there the rest of his life. He earned a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1945, a B.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in 1948, a Th.D. from SWBTS in 1956, and a Ph.D. from Duke University in 1965.

Jack regarded each day he survived as a gift from God. Though public speaking terrified him, he accepted God’s call to ministry while a student in Austin. He wanted to serve in foreign missions, but his application was rejected because of his lung disease. He then intended to pastor a missions-minded church. But God had other plans for him. Dr. Ray Summers recruited him to join the faculty at SWBTS, where he taught New Testament from 1948 to 2001. During his 53-year tenure, he estimated that he helped train more than 20,000 students to become pastors and missionaries.

While working on his first seminary degree, Jack fell head-over-heels in love with a fellow seminary student, B. Ruth Stephens, who shared his dedication to missions and ministry. In August 1947, while still seminary students, they began their 71-year-long, love-affair marriage.

Besides teaching, Jack loved preaching. He served as interim pastor or guest minister on weekends at churches throughout the region, and at mission meetings around the world. Moreover, Jack and Ruth eventually served together overseas during sabbatical leaves in Lebanon and Japan. Through his life dedicated to the grace of God, Jack enriched the lives of many in Texas and throughout the world.

Jack and Ruth had four sons (Don, Steve, Bob, and John), two daughters (Linda and Debbie), and adopted two of Debbie’s sons (Adam and Tim). Preceding him in death were his parents, his wife Ruth, and his son Steve. He is survived by the families of his children: Don and Venita MacGorman (Erin and Lucas Moore, Kristen and Matt Maupin), Bob and Cathy MacGorman (Ollie and Trent Trager, Carrie Lyn MacGorman), Steve’s wife Laura MacGorman (Eric MacGorman, Amber and Majed Tantish), Linda MacGorman (Stephen and Kalee Waldo, Daniel Waldo), Debbie MacGorman (Paul Casey, Jr., and his wife Veronica), John and Sharon MacGorman (Corey and Ashley MacGorman, Casey and Brian McGill), Adam and Rachel MacGorman (Avery, Jonas, Connor and Finn MacGorman), and Tim MacGorman, and by nineteen great-grandchildren.