Updated [May 4, 2013] Dr. Leon McBeth Dies at Age 81

Following are obituaries and stories regarding Dr. Harry Leon McBeth’s death on April 29, 2013 at age 81

Read Karen Bullock’s tribute to Leon McBeth on the Baptist History & Heritage Society website.

Read Charles Deweese’s (former executive director of the BH&HS) tribute to Leon McBeth, dated May 3, 2013, at Associated Baptist Press.

“H. Leon McBeth, a Baptist historian and scholar who authored nine books, died April 29 at age 81. McBeth, retired chair of the history department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, received numerous awards for his contributions to Baptist history, including a Festschrift, Turning Points in Baptist History, in which colleagues paid tribute to his life’s work. His books included The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness, published in 1987.” (read the full Associated Baptist Press story)

“H. Leon McBeth, distinguished professor of church history at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for 45 years, died April 29 in Fort Worth. He was 81. McBeth was honored by the Baptist History and Heritage Society this spring with a festschrift (a volume of writings contributed by different authors as a tribute to a scholar) in its Baptist History & Heritage journal. The publication was placed in the mail the same week as McBeth’s death. His 1987 text “The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness” — also called “the big blue book” –- became used widely in Southern Baptist seminaries and other academic settings.” (read the full Baptist Press story)

“Harry Leon McBeth, 81, passed away Monday, April 29, 2013 … Dr. McBeth was retired chair of the Christian History Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, where he joined the faculty in 1960. A renowned scholar and historian, Dr. McBeth published widely and authored nine books. He received numerous awards for his contributions to the history of Baptists in Texas, including the prestigious Elder Statesman award (2008) from the Independence Association.” (read the full Fort Worth Star-Telegram obituary)

Below is the original post about Dr. McBeth’s passing

Dear BH&HS Family and Friends,

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. H. Leon McBeth, former longtime professor of church history at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, prolific author, and a member of the Baptist History & Heritage Society. Dr. McBeth was the 1989 recipient of the Society’s W. O. Carver Distinguished Service Award. His life and work profoundly inspired and impacted many of us.

Fittingly, the Society’s current Baptist History & Journal edition (Spring 2013), postal mailed just this week, is a tribute to Dr. McBeth. If you are a member of the Society, you will be receiving your copy in the next few days. We will also pay tribute to Dr. McBeth during our our annual conference in Richmond later this month.

Dr. Leon McBeth passed away this past Monday evening, April 29.  Visitation will be held Friday, May 3, at the Greenwood Chapel Cemetery in Fort Worth, Texas, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. The funeral will be at University Baptist Church, Fort Worth, at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 4. Burial will follow at Greenwood.

This is all the information I have at this time, having been unable to locate an obituary. Please join with me in offering your prayers and thoughts for Mrs. McBeth and the McBeth family.


Bruce T. Gourley
Executive Director
Baptist History & Heritage Society