Bill (who generally resisted being photographed) and Kay McCamon on the occasion of his 80th birthday at Blackjack Baptist Church. COURTESY/Tim Vanlandingham
By Tim Vanlandingham
Associational Mission Strategist, Bowen Association
BAINBRIDGE – Rev. Bill McCamon, age 82, of Worth County, Georgia went on to be with Christ from his home on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. He had been pastor of a number of churches in the Marianna, Fla., and southwest Georgia areas for 58 years. At his death, he had been serving the Black Jack Baptist Church of Bainbridge for almost eight years and had previously served the West Street Baptist Church of Bainbridge twice.
Pastor McCamon was born in Lusk, Wyo., and grew up in Casper, Wyo., where he worked as a pipe fitter for a brief time prior. to joining the United States Air Force to serve his country. During a time off from duty, he visited Moultrie, Ga., with a young Air Force friend and it was there that he met Mary “Kay” Stripling. Their first meeting was the beginning of a great romance. They fell in love, married and moved to Panama City, Fla.
At 21 years of age, as McCamon was completing his USAF commitment, God called him to preach. He attended Bob Jones University for his education while Kay worked in the university bookstore. At the outset of his ministry, he pledged never to use the size of a church as a criterion for accepting a call to preach there.
McCamon accepted his first church at age 24. Throughout his ministry, he went wherever God led Him and faithfully preached the gospel. At times, that required extensive travel, but he and Kay remained faithful to follow Christ wherever He led. Kay fully supported her husband’s ministry, but also worked at Albany Gas & Light Company for 22 years before she retired.
Kay, who was married to Bill for over 62-years commented about her husband: “I know that he was my husband, but I’d rather hear him preach than anybody. When he preached, it came from the Bible, and everyone could understand it; even a little kid.”
Evangelist Dr. Kenneth Cloud, who was also McCamon’s Director of Missions in the Bowen Association for most of his pastorate at Black Jack, said McCamon was an “… ole war horse of a preacher. He didn’t make any bones about what the Bible said. He just said it. We need our young preachers to do that, too.”
The Black Jack Baptist Church family has certainly appreciated his biblical preaching, pastoral effectiveness, and never hesitated to communicate that. To them, he was a dedicated pastor, and Kay was his greatest asset. Charlie Brock, Chairman of Deacons for Black Jack, explained that what hurts so much is that a vital part of Black Jack’s family is gone.
“Pastor and Mrs. McCamon have been family all these years. Our church is really just one wonderful family,” Brock said. One proof of McCamons’ dedication lies in the fact that they drove from rural southern Worth County to Bainbridge, GA at least twice a week; a distance requiring a little over an hour’s drive each way.
McCamon was known for sitting on front porches of homes for long periods of time getting to know the people in his church community. Nothing made him happier than when someone got saved. When someone had a need, numbers of people from various churches have noted that the McCamons’ would invariably be there.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Kay Stripling McCamon of Worth County; daughter, Janet Kimsey (John) of Worth County; grandchildren, J.T. Kimsey and Lynn Etheredge; great grandchildren, Caleb Etheredge, Emma Etheredge, Aubrie Kimsey and Carlie Kimsey.
He was preceded in death by his parents Earle Golden and Verna Bell McCamon and by their oldest child, James Earle McCamon, who died at age fifteen from leukemia.
Bill “Billy” McCamon’s legacy is that he simply loved to preach the gospel and to set people right with God. He wanted no recognition or acclaim and even avoided photographs.
The funeral service was held at 2:00 PM on Friday, February 5, 2021 at Banks Funeral Home Chapel in Sylvester, GA, with the Rev. Bobby Joe Brown officiating. Interment followed in the Funston Cemetery, Funston, Ga.