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Oldest IMB emeritus missionary dies at 102



Howard McCamey, left, spent almost three decades serving among the people of Nigeria as a missionary dentist. The last part of his career was spent at the Baptist Dental Clinic in Ibadan, Nigeria, where he helped train young men in dental practices. McCamey died Nov. 26 at age 102.

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — The International Mission Board’s oldest emeritus missionary, Howard McCamey, was honored in a memorial service in Dallas Dec. 5. He died Nov. 26 at age 102.

Longtime members of Gaston Avenue Baptist Church in Dallas, Howard and his late wife, Georgia, were commissioned by the former Foreign Mission Board April 10, 1940 – one day shy of Howard’s 34th birthday. Born April 11, 1906, Howard served as a missionary dentist in Nigeria for nearly three decades.

The McCameys’ careers as missionaries started working at a hospital in Nigeria. They set sail in 1940, one year after World War II started.

The war presented many problems, especially for travelers. The voyage from the United States to Cape Town, South Africa, took a month. Once the couple arrived in Cape Town, they boarded another boat for Nigeria. Frequent detours to avoid German U-boats slowed their progress.

Nearly a month and a half later, Howard and Georgia reached their destination. But the grueling trek was still not over. Another missionary met them in Lagos, Nigeria, and from there they drove 176 miles to the hospital in Ogbomosho.

The couple’s calling outweighed their exhaustion. Howard found himself in charge of a 46-bed medical hospital, 12 leper colonies, and two medical dispensaries. He performed emergency dental work with only a foot drill and a flashlight.

Georgia, a nurse, helped staff the hospital, kept the books, taught new nurses, delivered babies, conducted a well-baby clinic once a month, and was qualified to administer anesthetics.

After nearly eight years on the mission field, the McCameys returned to Texas so Howard could update his dental skills. They went back to Nigeria in 1954 to run the Baptist Dental Clinic in Ibadan.

Howard and Georgia opened a private dental practice in Dallas after retirement. Georgia died in 1994. Howard is survived by his sister, Doris Brown, and her family.