Retired KC director of missions dies at 102

Paul Elledge, veteran Kansas City minister and retired director of missions, died Thursday, Jan. 26, at age 102. He was an ordained minister for 83 years.

Elledge was director of missions in Kansas City, Kan., Baptist Association from Feb. 1, 1962, to Dec. 31, 1974. He helped lay the groundwork for the association to thrive.

The funeral was held Monday morning, Jan. 30, at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Overlannd Park, Kan. Memorials may be sent to the church at 10100 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS 66212-1760. Read the obituary

He and his wife, the former Marie Walston, both lost their spouses in the mid-1980s. They were married in 1987.

Before becoming director of missions in KCKBA, Elledge was pastor of Broadway Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo., for nine years.

When he moved across the state line to Kansas, the area was mostly farmland.

“It was grass. It was weeds. It was rabbits,” he recalled.

In those days, Marie knew Paul as “Brother Elledge.”

“When he came here, what he got was an old typewriter and a desk. He built a strong association from that,” she said.

Kansas City, Kan., Association had only 22 churches when Elledge arrived. That was in stark contrast to Missouri, where Southern Baptist work had existed for more than 100 years.

“When I moved out here, I discovered the nearest Southern Baptist church was 5 miles away.”

So Elledge devoted part of his energy to starting churches, including Emmanuel Baptist in Overland Park.

After stepping down as director of missions on Dec. 31, 1974, Elledge continued ministering in high gear. He did interim and supply work in Missouri, Iowa and Kansas.

During his 80-plus years of ministry, Elledge experienced many highlights. These include the growing number of ethnic churches in the association. Such churches
once seemed “clear out on the other side of possibility,” he said. “It thrills me to death.”

Another source of joy for Elledge was going on international mission trips.

As a student as Southern Seminary during the Depression, he “wanted to go to Brazil as a foreign missionary.”

That door never opened, but he always led his churches to be strong missions supporters.

In the mid-1980s, Elledge went on mission trips to the Philippines, India, Jamaica and Argentina.

He told the Lord, “You’ve made me a foreign missionary after all. Thank You.”