Prominent Hispanic leaders Martinez and Rangel receive tribute

Valeriano Martinez and David Rangel, two pastors prominent in the Dallas-Fort Worth area Hispanic community, died last month.

Martinez, pastor of the Hispanic Mission at First Baptist Church in Roanoke, died Jan. 20. He was 68.

Martinez was born in San Benito in 1946 and finished high school while in the United States Army. After leaving the military, he worked as an aircraft mechanic in Grand Prairie for 34 years.

He was converted in 1987 at Primera Iglesia Bautista of Grand Prairie and was later licensed and ordained there, eventually serving as the church’s associate pastor.

In preparation for ministry, Martinez attended the Baptist Hispanic Seminary in Dallas for two semesters and took courses at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. He was also very involved with Bible Study Fellowship International.

In addition to his role at First Baptist Roanoke, Martinez served as chaplain for the Roanoke police and fire departments.

Martinez was known for his evangelistic and missions fervor. Over the years, he planned and led multiple mission trips to Mexico.

“I asked Bro. Martinez to take charge of the mission trips to Monterrey, Mexico, and he did a fantastic job organizing and planning everything,” said Domingo Ozuna, former pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Grand Prairie. “They love him in Mexico.”

Martinez and his wife planted the Hispanic Mission at First Baptist Church in Roanoke in the summer of 2009. It was through this ministry that he became more involved with the Tarrant County Baptist Association and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

Widely respected among the Hispanic community, Martinez was known as a man committed to the gospel and to his family, friends said.

“Indeed we are going to miss him, but God is enjoying his presence in heaven right now,” Ozuna stated.

On his church’s website, Martinez said his life mission was “to be used by God to preach the gospel and reach the lost for Jesus Christ in my community and to the ends of the earth.”

Martinez is survived by Lupe, his wife of 44 years, five children and 10 grandchildren.

Rangel, assistant pastor at Lakeview Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, died Jan. 29 after an extended illness. He was 69.

A native Texan, Rangel served on staff at a number of Baptist churches, including Iglesia Bautista Central before coming to serve at Lakeview in late 2011 under Pastor Charles Kendall.

In addition to his church role, Rangel had also served as chaplain for the Dallas Police Department, which Ozuna described as a ministry of “taking Christ to the scene of a crisis.”

“David was well loved and respected by his extended family, peers, church and friends who are legion,” Kendall stated. “He has been a very effective gospel preacher, pastor, church starter, missionary and witness for King Jesus.”

Martha Bochenko, a member at Inglewood Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, participated in several mission trips with Rangel.

“I met David because I was looking for translators for our dental mission trip to Guatemala,” Bochenko said. “He invited himself along and became the team’s chaplain and preacher to the local church there. He also became a good dental assistant to my husband and post-op instructor.” So much so, that Dr. Bochenko enlisted Rangel to extract a tooth on one occasion, and then nicknamed him “Pastor Doctor David.”

Rangel, who worked in restaurant management at El Chico before surrendering to ministry in 1974, planted churches in Antiqua, Seagoville, Cedar Temple and Grand Prairie. Initially a mission, the Grand Prairie church met in the facilities of Inglewood Baptist before relocating on the east side of the city.

Among many good qualities, friends recall that Rangel was known as a man with a passion for missions and evangelism.

“David had a passion for anything concerning Jesus and teaching people the gospel,” Bochenko stated. “He loved to tell strangers, teach young pastors and deacons. We would wake up in the hotel and he would already be out witnessing to the staff.”

In addition to participating in mission trips, Rangel trained young pastors as they prepared to take overseas trips with their churches.

“We have a mutual friend who is going to Guatemala to teach this year. David had been giving him suggestions and instruction on the community there and what they need to hear from the Scriptures,” Bochenko said. “He never stopped.”

As his health declined, Rangel’s family moved him to hospice, where he told an attending nurse that he was at peace and that his “bags were packed.” He shared his faith with her, along with a letter she read at the funeral describing his confident hope in Jesus Christ.

“David Rangel was noted for his humor, his passion for the truth of God’s Word, his love of preaching and his persistent personal and door to door witness,” Kendall added. “His passing leaves a huge void that is felt by all who knew him.”

“David was a Baptist’s Baptist,” added Tammi Ledbetter, a friend from Grand Prairie. “He cared passionately about what should be foremost in the mind of every Southern Baptist—drawing people to Jesus Christ with every breath he took. The standing room only crowd at his funeral was a reminder of that lifelong commitment as Hispanics, African-Americans and Anglos gathered to pay tribute to a brother who got it right.”

Rangel is survived by Estela, his wife of 51 years, along with daughters Laura Medrano and Carol Lopez, seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

TEXAN Correspondent
Rob Collingsworth
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