Tributes for Dr. Jim Leverette (1955-2017)
Friends and colleagues are remembering Dr. Jim Leverette as a gifted and dedicated leader who loved the church. Jim's unexpected death on December 18 while on a ministry trip within Alberta came as a shock to many.
Jim was a former Academic Vice President of the seminary, and was a strong supporter of Taylor, and in his role as the Regional Minister for the Alberta Baptist Association was a strong proponent of the continuing education offered through the E P Wahl Centre. President Dr. David Williams worked quite closely with him.
"Jim Leverette loved the church, and valued theological education," said Dr. Williams. "He was deeply committed to Taylor and we are far better off because of the time he spent in our midst. During my time with him I learned to lean on his wise counsel and to appreciate his insight. He will be greatly missed. Rest in Peace, my brother and friend."
Academic Dean Dr. Ralph Korner also worked closely with Jim, but had been friends and ministry colleagues for most of their adult lives. He says he feels Jim's loss very deeply.
"Personally, I found Jim to be a man who was true to his word, true to his friends, true to his family, and true to his God. Professionally, I found Jim to be a man who was true to his calling, true to his colleagues, true to his duties, and particularly true to the ongoing task of equipping pastors to become more and more like their Shepherd. This task he poured his heart into in his role as pastor, Academic Vice President of Taylor Seminary and as ABA Regional Minister," said Dr. Korner. "As Academic Dean of Taylor Seminary and Director of Taylor’s E P Wahl Centre, it was my privilege to have had ongoing conversations with Jim regarding the provision of professional development opportunities for deepening pastors’ health. Jim was a man of God. Jim was a man after God’s heart. Jim is now in the presence of God. I look forward to seeing Jim again."
Former president Dr. Walter Goltz was travelling to Edmonton when he got the news. "As Mary and I were driving from the airport, we heard the shocking news of the sudden death of James Leverette," he told Taylor. "We know the great loss this will be to the Alberta Baptist Association, but more than that, to our own family as well. Jim’s father was our pastor for the years he was at Greenfield, and his family came to mean a great deal to our family. We pray for God’s peace to rest upon the whole family during their grieving process."
Another former president, Dr. Marvin Dewey, also paid tribute to his old friend and colleague. He remembers meeting Jim (when he was still called "James") at Greenfield Baptist Church (now Greenfield Community Church) when they were young students at Taylor (then known as NABC). They also studied together at our sister school, Sioux Falls Seminary, and says he will miss Jim's friendship, laugh and love of life.
"Jim had a good sense of humor and a great laugh – one of the benefits of being a Leverette," said Dr. Dewey. "He loved to have fun."
"Jim was an effective administrator," Dr. Dewey added. "He loved reading and teaching on administration and leadership. Students benefitted from his mentoring every year, which he also did as a pastor. Jim was naturally drawn to leadership and administrative roles. His understanding of governance and policy benefited him and those he served in the pastorate, the Seminary, and during his years as ABA Regional Minister."
Dr. Dewey also remembers Jim as someone who readily shared his perspective. "I appreciated that about him. As colleagues, we benefitted from his insights and thoughts."
Funeral services for Jim Leverette were held at McKernan Baptist Church in Edmonton on Friday, December 29, 2017.