SBTS alum turns 100

Communications Staff — August 29, 2008

Hugh Busey has experienced more longevity in ministry since his retirement than many ministers experience their whole lives.

Busey, a 1938 graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was forced to take compulsory retirement from one church 35 years ago at age 65. But he continued in ministry at two additional churches before retiring again at age 86.

Busey continues to give pastoral care to other residents at the Lakewood Manor Baptist Retirement home in Richmond, Va., and taught Sunday School at Gayton Baptist Church until six months ago. Busey turned 100 on Aug. 24.

“I really have been wonderfully blessed and have been quite aware of it,” Busey said. “And I still have my people here that are more ill than I am that I visit and look after.”

When Busey attended Southern during the 1930s, he knew such legendary professors as President E.Y. Mullins, future President John R. Sampey and Greek scholar A.T. Robertson. He took Hebrew from Sampey, Greek from Robertson and was an active member of the student body.

Even after 60 years Busey still remembers classes fondly, including one time when theology professor Harold Tribble called him a “gentleman and a scholar” for answering a difficult question correctly.

Busey enjoyed a unique relationship with Sampey because he pastored the Forks at Elkhorn Baptist Church in Midway, Ky., where Sampey served previously for more than 20 years. On occasion Sampey came to preach during Busey’s pastorate.

In all Busey served seven churches in Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia as pastor and associate pastor. Twice he was an associate pastor at the historic First Baptist Church of Richmond, Va.

During his second tour of duty at First Baptist, Busey served under Pastor Theodore Adams, president of the Baptist World Alliance. When Adams had to spend extensive time away from his church on BWA business, Busey stepped into the role of main pastor and caregiver for the congregation.

“The Lord has just guided me and blessed me so wonderfully,” he said. “Every church I’ve been in I’ve had just the most wonderful people, and I loved them every one and still do.”

Busey says God gave him a passion for pastoral care and at times he had to sacrifice other components of ministry to meet the needs of people.

“I really looked after families,” Busey said, adding that he still practices an active regime of pastoral care in retirement. One former Virginia Baptist leader and his wife live in the same retirement home and receive visits from Busey every other night.

Ministering to people during their final moments of life is a big part of Busey’s calling now, he said.

“I’m with some of the people when they die because I don’t let anybody die alone if I know about them,” he said.

Busey’s wife, Margaret, of 71 years lives with him in the retirement home. He attributes his longevity partially to her care and knowledge of nutrition—along with his own good genes.

Busey stressed that any Christian of any age can still have a ministry and enjoy daily communion with Jesus.

“I’m just so aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in me, and I just rejoice everyday,” he said. “I’m not a regular Brother Lawrence, but I’m trying.”

Are you ready to become a pastor, counselor, or church leader who is Trusted for Truth?

Apply now for summer or fall studies

Classes begin in June & Aug.