POST?After 54 years of faithful ministry to West Texas churches, Glenn Royce Reece, 71, of Wolfforth died Feb. 26 at a Lubbock hospital. Known to family and friends as “Poppy,” he was born in Roscoe on Nov. 10, 1939 to Arlie and Vesta Reece, called to the ministry at age 17 and two years later married Glenda Sue Tatum in 1959.
Reece’s long-time friend T.C. Melton of Abilene described Reece, most recently a field ministry strategist with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, as a man of impeccable character.
“He was just a great preacher, a great pastor and a real lover of people,” stated Melton, the SBTC’s area coordinator for West Texas. Having appreciated Reece’s habit of mentoring younger pastors, he recommended the SBTC hire the experienced Texas pastor to serve as a field ministry strategist for a region covering nine West Texas associations.
“He was as well known as anyone in the South Plains and Panhandle area as a devout conservative and just a tremendous fellow,” Melton added.
With the exception of his service at Forest Avenue and Liberty Baptist in Sherman and First Baptist in Nocona, it was West Texas where Reece poured out his life, pastoring the people of Immanuel Baptist in Marfa, First Baptist in Imperial, First Baptist in Sundown, 10 years at First Baptist in Post as their longest-tenured pastor, and later 16 years at Fairview Baptist in Levelland.
Reece didn’t stay retired long in 2005 when he began representing the SBTC throughout that region and often serving as an interim pastor.
“Glenn was the elder statesman in the Plains area of Texas,” said SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards. “He mentored many young men, providing wisdom and spiritual direction. Heaven is richer but our lives are poorer in the passing of our dear co-laborer.”
Steve McMeans, a Lubbock pastor who followed Reece at First Baptist Church, Post, was one of those young men that Reece mentored. Within a week of announcing to Reece his call to ministry, McMeans recalled that the elder pastor told him to prepare to preach in the Post church within a week.
James Egan, the current pastor at Post, considered Reece “the dean of preachers,” calling him “my pastor.” Noting that there aren’t many more preachers of Reece’s style who “wave the hankie, kick the leg and say, ‘Glory,'” Egan said, “He’s the last one like him out there. He’s been a part of my journey here since I was interviewed by the search committee and I stood on his shoulders even though there’s 30 years between us.”
Recalling a book titled “They Found the Secret” that chronicles the effectiveness of well-known preachers, Egan said: “Glenn’s secret was that he was a great Christian. That was the power of his preaching, his pastoral ministry and his patriarchy of his family.” Egan added, “It wasn’t his experience, but his authentic Christianity that touched me. He never condemned or criticized. He was never negative though he had plenty of opportunities. We will miss his example and his inspiration.”
Reece attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene and did graduate studies at Sul Ross State University in Alpine. Throughout his career he received numerous awards for his faithful service.
Staying by his side through 52 years of Reece’s ministry was his wife, Sue. “She was a tremendous asset to his ministry. I can’t remember a time I ever saw Glenn without Sue being there,” Melton remembered.
In addition to his wife, survivors include four children, eight grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, two sisters, a brother, numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
Services were held March 2 at Southcrest Baptist Church in Lubbock, where Reece was a member since his retirement. Burial was at Terrace Cemetery in Post. The family requests donations be made to the American Bible Society, P.O. Box 96812, Washington, D.C. 20090-6812 or online at americanbible.org.