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Memorial and ‘Celebration Service’ set for Dr. Ydell Ishmon at Boston Baptist

Members of Boston Baptist Church will commemorate their long-time pastor Dr. Ydell Ishmon Sr. with a series of events at the church this weekend.

Dr. Ishmon, 67, who led the congregation for 23 years, died Sept. 2.

The Rev. Dr. Ydell Ishmon Sr. (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley)

“I’m just in shock right now, just so grieved that my mentor is gone,” said the Rev. Gerald Rayborn. “He had been my mentor for over 40 years, and we were very close.

“He wasn’t feeling well, went to the hospital, and they kept him a couple of days. He seemed to get better when his children came to see him.”

On Friday (Sept. 11), from 4 p.m. to 5:55 p.m., a viewing will be held. At 6 p.m., a memorial service will begin. On Saturday (Sept. 12), from 11 a.m.-11:55 a.m., a second viewing will be held. At noon, a “Celebration Service” is scheduled.

The church is located at 4226 Jackson Ave. Serenity Funeral Home has charge of services and COVID-19 guidelines will be followed.

The Rev. Joseph Claiborne, Ishmon’s personal minister and the prelate presently in charge of the congregation, said “Bostonians” are filled with both “sadness and joy.”

“We feel sadness because there will never be another Dr. Ydell Ishmon Sr…but joyful because he taught us how to prepare for a better day in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ.”

A flood of tributes and expressions of sympathy were posted on social media as news of Ishmon’s death spread.

Tennessee School of Religion posted on Facebook: “Rev. Dr. Ydell Ishmon will always be remembered for his love of God, family, the people of God, and the Tennessee School of Religion.”

WLOK Radio asked everyone to keep Boston Baptist Church and the Ishmon family in prayer, ending its post with: “…Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to you all! Earth has no sorrow that heaven can not heal!”

Dr. Ishmon was born on Dec. 26, 1952, and was converted at the age of 9 at Jerusalem Baptist Church. He gained pastor experience a teen and was a pastor for more than five decades.

A graduate of White’s Chapel Elementary School, he attended Westwood High School, and graduated from Whitehaven High School.

Dr. Ishmon earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis and earned a master’s degree from the A. E. Campbell School of Religion in Memphis.

He attended Lane Avenue Theological Seminary and the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, earning his doctorate.

Dr. Ishmon continued his formal, higher education at Pepperdine University, where he received another master’s degree. The Tennessee School of Religion presented him with an honorary doctorate.

“Dr. Ishmon was the master of ceremonies of all of my birthday celebrations, pastors’ banquets, everything we had,” said Rayborn.

“Things just won’t be the same. Every time he would walk in, they would say, ‘Here comes Ish,’ or ‘Ish is here.’ He always had a joke or something funny to say. We’re really going to miss him.”

Dr. Ishmon was full-time pastor of two churches before leading Boston Baptist Church after Pastor Oris Mays died. The Rev. Mays was an iconic gospel singer and songwriter.

Dr. Ishmon is past president of Panola County Ministerial Alliance, the African-American Religious Connection, past executive officer of Sardis District Association, 2015 host of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., and president of Ydell Ishmon Christian Education.

He was a trustee of Tennessee School of Religion at the time of his death.

Dr. Ishmon leaves three sons, four daughters, two brothers, four sisters, 33 grandchildren and a great-grandchild.


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