Rollin Stely Armour, Sr. died at his home in Ponce Inlet, Florida, on March 2, 2018 at the age of 88. Born in Miami, Florida on December 5, 1929 to Thomas and Frankie Calhoun Armour, he graduated high school at 16 and headed off to Baylor University. He followed his call to ministry to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville Kentucky where he earned his Bachelor of Divinity. After serving as a Chaplain in the U.S. Army in Korea, he earned a Master’s in Sacred Theology and a ThD in church history at Harvard University. His dissertation became his first book, Anabaptist Baptism: A Representative History, which was awarded the Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Award from the American Society of Church History. Over the course of his career, he taught at three different institutions: Stetson University, Auburn University (where he founded the religious studies department and served as its first chair), and Mercer University (where he served a term as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and from which he retired in 1998). During that time, he wrote two more books: an updated history of First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon GA and Islam, Christianity, and the West: A Troubled History, which came out just after 9/11. All who knew him agree that he embodied the ideal teacher and scholar: knowledgeable, caring, a deep thinker who brought out the best in his students and his colleagues and they, in turn, in him.
Rollin’s family life was as rich as his work life. On a return visit to Louisville from Cambridge, he became reacquainted with Mary Anne Crum, who quickly became the love of his life. Their wedding several months later inaugurated sixty years of a full and loving partnership characterized by close family ties, deep and sustained friendships, and exciting travel. Both were pillars of the churches they loved and served in each place they lived.
Rollin is predeceased by Mary Anne, his parents, and his brother, Thomas Armour, Jr. He is survived by his three children, Ellen (Barbee Majors), Rollin, Jr., and Stephen (Jo Smith). He will be interred next to Mary Anne at DeLand Memorial Gardens following a service at Lankford Funeral Home in DeLand, Florida on Saturday, March 10, 2018. Visitation is at 10 am, service at 11 am. A memorial service for Rollin and Mary Anne in Macon is being planned. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to the General Scholarship Fund at Stetson University, the Mercer on Mission (MOM) Program at Mercer University, or to the First Baptist Church of Christ Macon Memorial Fund. His children thank all of the medical professionals who cared for Rollin in his final years, especially Dr. Gerald Woodard and his staff. We are also very grateful for the support of Rollin’s family in Florida, especially Robert Armour and his wife Kerry, the many friends who visited and kept in touch with Rollin and Mary Anne after they moved to Ponce Inlet, and the loving care provided by an exceptional team of home health workers. We consider all of them family, too.