Longtime pastor John Dunaway dies

Memorial services are planned in Hunstville, Ala., and Corbin, Ky., for a longtime Kentucky pastor and denominational leader.

By Bob Allen

John Dunaway, 79, a longtime Kentucky pastor who helped name the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, died Oct. 18 at his home in Huntsville, Ala., following a long illness.

john dunawayA constitution offered at the inaugural CBF gathering proposed the group of disenfranchised Southern Baptists call itself the “United Baptist Coalition.” Dunaway, at the time pastor of First Baptist Church in Corbin, Ky., pointed out that an existing United Baptist group espoused “extreme Calvinist views” and “the identification with the United Baptists would be in conflict with who we are and what we are.”

Ed Vick, a layman from Raleigh, N.C., said Baptists, in the truest sense of the word, are not united but rather cooperative. And so the group instead named itself the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, today an 1,800-church organization with headquarters in Atlanta.

Dunaway graduated from Georgetown College in 1954 and received his master’s degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1958. After receiving various honorary doctorates, he received his doctorate from Lexington Theological Seminary in 1983.

He served as pastor of Little Flock Baptist Church in Shepherdsville, Eaton Memorial Baptist Church in Owensboro, First Baptist Church in Corbin and helped found Community Baptist Church in Henderson, all in Kentucky.

He was president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, chaired the board of the Kentucky Baptist Children's Home and was chairman of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1982-83.

After the Atlanta-based CBF formed in 1991, Dunaway served as moderator of the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship. He later helped to found the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, which recently relocated to the campus of Georgetown College.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mary Jayne Cutter Dunaway; his daughter, Susan Dunaway of Shelbyville, Ky.; his son, Mark Dunaway; his daughter-in-law, Angela Phillips Dunaway, and his grandchildren, Jonathon and Kristen Dunaway, all of Huntsville, Ala.

Visitation is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19, at First Baptist Church in Hunstville, Ala. Services will be held at the church at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20. A service celebrating his life is scheduled at First Baptist in Corbin, Ky., at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3.

In lieu of flowers, Dunaway personally requested that donations be made to the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, 400 East College Street, Box 358, Georgetown, KY 40324.