Gil Barrow of Montgomery died Nov. 19 in Birmingham following heart surgery. He was 90.
A native of Pensacola, Florida, Barrow played professional baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization for three years, until he was called into the ministry in 1954. Gil would use his baseball skills and love of the sport as a tool for missions and evangelism throughout his ministry. He also started and coached the first baseball team at Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Florida, in the early ‘60s.
He earned degrees from Mississippi College and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. It was at Mississippi College that he met the love of his life, Barbara Edwards, a native of Tupelo, Mississippi. They were married in 1959, a union that lasted 63 years.
Barrow began his ministry as associate pastor at First Baptist Church, Panama City, Florida, then served as pastor at Westview Baptist, also in Panama City. He was pastor of First Baptist Church Prichard, Alabama, from 1965 to 1968. He then served as pastor of First Baptist Church Leesburg, Florida, until 1976, when he returned to Alabama. From 1976 until 1986, Gil was pastor of Capitol Heights Baptist in Montgomery. During his ministry there, the church extensively remodeled its entire building, and built Capitol Heights Place, a retirement facility still owned and operated by the church.
50 years in ministry
Barrow continued to serve churches as interim pastor for many years, including at First Baptist Church Enterprise; First Baptist Church Luverne; Beatrice Baptist Church; Hayneville Baptist Church ; and Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, Union Springs. He retired from full-time ministry in 2003 after nearly 50 years of service but remained active through interim pastorates and other ministries for many years after that.
Barrow was very active in Baptist life, serving as chairman of the Florida Baptist Convention State Board and as trustee for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, including vice chairman for the administrative committee. He also served on the Judson College board of governors, the board of Baptist Medical Center and the board of trustees of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary National Alumni Association, which he also served as president.
He was an active member of First Baptist Church Montgomery, serving as a regular volunteer alongside Barbara at the church’s Caring Center, a Sunday School teacher for the Poundstone Class and a regular contributor to the Friday morning Men’s Bible Study, two groups he loved dearly.
He was a great supporter of missions work, both local and international, and participated in missions trips to several foreign countries. He also was a teacher and facilitator for various seminars at Ridgecrest and Shocco Springs conference centers.
Upon his 2003 retirement celebration, Barrow said, “I started out with more fear than faith, and ended up with more faith than fear. It’s been exciting to see God work through so many people to get His work accomplished. It would be hard for me to imagine a more fulfilling life. I could spend the next 50 years counting my blessings and feel that I had just begun.”
Survivors include his wife, Barbara; three children, Donna Barrow Dobbins (David), Bert Barrow (Donna) and Allison Barrow NeSmith (Mark); eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held Dec. 27 at 2 p.m. in the main sanctuary of First Baptist Church, Montgomery, preceded by a 1 p.m. visitation at the church. Honorary pallbearers will be the Poundstone Class members.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the FBC Caring Center, 305 South Perry Street, Montgomery, AL 36104.