Elder Billy Joe Loper, 74 of Perkinston, died Wed., Nov. 6, 2013 at his residence.
Elder Loper was a member of Sunflower Baptist Church and a Baptist Minister.
He was liberated to preach Tues., May 11, 1965 by Long Beach Missionary Baptist Church. Bro. Lavelle Knight was preaching a revival at Long Beach at the time and Bro. Knight asked the church to preach him the next morning. This was Bro. Billy Joe’s first sermon. His second sermon was preached Wednesday night, May 12, 1965, at Sunflower Baptist Church where he had grown up and where he was a member at the time of his death. He was ordained to the full work of the ministry in October 1965. The men who served on the presbytery for the ordination were Elders Lesko Walker, Exro Walker, Lavelle Knight, Fred Smith, Homer Beech and T.H. “Haskell” Sellers.
From May to October 1965, Bro. Billy Joe preached at many churches throughout the work. In October 1965, he was called as pastor to Twenty First Street Baptist Church in Pascagoula, where he served as pastor for approximately two years. He next pastured Mars Hill in the Deep Creek Community in Stone County. During the time he served as pastor of Mars Hill, he was also called to serve at Perryville in McHenry. He served as pastor of both churches who held “half time” service.
Bro. Billy Joe was later called to Little Sweetwater Baptist Church in Benndale. He accepted the call to pastor Little Sweetwater but he had to resign Perryville to do this. He remained at Mars Hill and the two churches also had “half time” service.
In November 1969, Bro. Billy Joe resigned from both Mars Hill and Little Sweetwater and accepted the call to pastor Lone Star Baptist Church in Moselle. While pasturing at Lone Star, he was then called to Long View Baptist Church in Seminary. He was once again pasturing two churches but because of close proximity of the churches, both were able to have full time service. In 1975, Bro. Billy Joe accepted the call to pastor Sunset Baptist Church in Collins. He resigned Lone Star but continued to pastor Long View.
Later Bro. Billy Joe was called to pastor Station Creek Baptist Church in Collins. He accepted this call and resigned as pastor of Sunset but remained at Long View. He was then called to pastor Northside Baptist Church in Glendale. When he accepted Northside as pastor, he resigned Long View but remained at Station Creek. In 1981, Bro. Billy Joe was called to pastor Fifteenth Street in Gulfport. He accepted the call to serve as pastor of Fifteenth Street and resigned Station Creek. Approximately one year later, he resigned as pastor of Northside. This was the first time since the beginning of his ministry that he served as pastor for only one church.
In 1983, Bro. Billy Joe left Fifteenth Street to accept the call to pastor Smyrna Baptist Church in Seminary. He served as pastor there from 1983 to 1986. While serving as pastor of Smyrna, he also served as pastor of New Liberty in Mize. He had previously served as pastor of New Liberty prior to this time, holding services only on Sunday afternoons. In 1986, he resigned both Smyrna and New Liberty and accepted the call to Carnes Baptist Church. A few years later, Bro. Billy Joe was called to pastor Sunset for a second time. He accepted this call and doubled between Carnes and Sunset for a time, later resigning from Carnes and returning to pastor Lone Star again. Upon his resigning from Lone Star, Bro. Billy Joe remained at Sunset, once again pastoring only one church.
In 2000, he again accepted the call to Smyrna Baptist Church. When he accepted this call, he remained at Sunset. These were the last two churches where Bro. Billy Joe served as pastor.
During his ministry, Bro. Billy Joe preached numerous revivals and saw many souls saved. He also saw many new believers mature into strong Christians. He saw many changes in the work, some positive and some not so positive. Those who knew him can truly say that the Lord abundantly blessed him with health and strength to carry the gospel to many people for many years. Many people were a blessing to Bro. Billy Joe and he enjoyed meeting and being associated with God’s people.
Bro. Billy Joe’s health did not allow him to serve as a pastor or even preach much during the last few years of his life, but he was still concerned with the Lord’s work and spreading the gospel even until his death. This is evidenced by the fact that the Friday before he died, he asked the hospice nurse’s aid was she going to Heaven. When she responded, “yes,” and asked him what about himself he responded, “I’m going to Heaven soon.” Bro. Billy Joe would have wanted us all to have this same testimony, that we are going to Heaven.
His parents, Charlie and Mary Ross Loper; four brothers, Herschel Loper, Terrell Loper, Wenson Loper and Jeff Loper; and one sister, Maxine Parker, all preceded him in death.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carol Ladner Loper of Perkinston; three children, Steven (Shannon) Loper of Parsons, Tenn., Pam (Daniel) Nelson of Tylertown and Shelton (Misty) Loper of Biloxi; five grandchildren, Jordan Loper, Daulton Loper, Macey Nelson, Anna Nelson and Joseph Nelson; three sisters, Mary Parker of Zion, Ill., Charline Smith of Picayune and Myrna Rouse of Perkinston
Funeral services were held Mon., Nov. 11 at Sunflower Baptist Church. Interment followed in Sunflower Cemetery.
Moore Funeral Home of Wiggins was in charge of arrangements.