Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children


1973 to 1982

John Fite

John FiteSpiritual development of the children in residence has been a top priority since the establishment of the Children’s Home.

This dedication was underscored by the addition of a chaplain in 1976.

Rev. John Fite served as chaplain, and his wife Lillian served as Cottage Supervisor for boys and girls. The Fites had been houseparents since 1970 and desired to care for each child’s physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs in a Christ-like manner.

News-Star, Shawnee, Oklahoma

First printed January 2, 2007

Known to family and friends as a quiet man, John Fite was always quick to see the good in people and had a dry sense of humor. He was described as a kind, warmhearted perfectionist. Regardless of what he was doing from painting a room to preaching a sermon, he is believed if it was worth doing, it was worth doing right. His family can recall many occasions when John placed the needs of others above his own. Many friends have described him as "the best man I ever knew".

John was born on Oct. 4, 1924 in the Township of Yeager, Oklahoma, to John Earl Sr. and Lyda Murrell Fite and was the oldest son of seven children. His family moved away from the Yeager community and returned when he was in the 9th grade. It was then that he met his future bride Emma Lillian McCollum. They dated through high school, where they both were star basketball players. After graduation, John and Lillian married on Aug. 7, 1943. A year later, their home was blessed with the first of two daughters, Carolyn, and four years later, Dana.

John surrendered his life to the ministry of Jesus Christ at the age of 22. While serving as pastor of his first church at Prairie View Baptist Church, Holdenville, he felt the need to further his education and began attending Oklahoma Baptist University. After attending college one year, he felt God's call as pastor of First Baptist Church, Stuart, Oklahoma, and later to First Baptist Church, Omega, Oklahoma. In 1953, John and Lillian moved back to Shawnee for him to return to OBU, and he accepted God's call as pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, Tecumseh. While at OBU, he was named to Who's Who in AmericanColleges and Universities and received a Bachelors Degree in Religion. After graduation, the family moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, where he attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for one year.

Accepting God's call, John returned to Shawnee as pastor of Oklahoma Avenue Baptist Church. After serving in that capacity for 10 years, he followed God's plan to move to View Acres Baptist Church, Tulsa and pastored there until he and Lillian felt the Lord calling them for special service to work with children.

They were both employed by the Oklahoma Baptist Children's Home, Oklahoma City, where they served for 20 years, retiring in 1990.

After retirement, John and Lillian moved to Shawnee and enjoyed watching their three grandchildren grow up and mature into adults. He had the privilege of baptizing Andrea and Steph and performing the wedding ceremonies of Andrea and David and Todd and Anne. John worked in the Special Ministries Sunday School Department at Immanuel Baptist Church.

During the many years of service, his kindness and humble spirit touched the lives of many people. He never wanted to ask anyone to do anything that he wasn't willing to do himself or to impose on anyone. Therefore, in addition to his duties and responsibilities as pastor, he quietly did a variety of tasks without expecting acknowledgment. He considered it a privilege to do such things as mowing the church lawn, lighting the heater to warm the water in the baptistery, cleaning the cabin at Falls Creek each summer before and after camp, feeding the less fortunate when they knocked on the door of the parsonage, printing the weekly Sunday bulletin, driving the bus to Falls Creek and serving as the boy's sponsor.

John was a Christian witness in everything he did as pastor, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend.

When John passed away Sunday morning he joined his mother and father; sister, Velma; three brothers-in-law; two sisters-in-law; and son-in-law, Jerry Taylor.

John is survived by his wife, Lillian; daughters, Carolyn Barnes and husband, Kenneth, and Dana Taylor and friend, Billie Howard; grandson, Todd and Anne Barnes, Lauren and Mallory; granddaughters, Steph Taylor and Andrea and David Depuy, Ryan and Kassidy; sisters, Marie Bowen of Holdenville; Maxine Bowen of Midwest City; and Jo Langford of Newcastle; brothers, Clifford and Billie Fite of Ponca City and Wayne and Deloris Fite of Ardmore; and special friends, Vernon and Debbie Marley. He will also be remembered by the numerous other relatives and a wealth of friends who he loved and who loved him.

A memorial service to honor and glorify John's life was held 2 pm January 2, 2007 at Immanuel Baptist Church with Dr. Todd Fisher officiating.

Because John was so excited about the new home of Immanuel Baptist Church and had commented he probably wouldn't see it finished, Lillian took him to watch the setting of the steeple in October. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be made to the Immanuel Baptist Church Building Fund.

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