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remembering malcolm

Celebrating the Life of a Free Will Baptist
Sunday School Pioneer



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DR. MALCOLM CRAIG FRY, former director of the Church Training Service and assistant director of the Sunday School and Church Training Department, died August 24, 2007, after a brief illness.  He was 79 years old.

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Fry was a Free Will Baptist minister for 54 years.  He was converted in 1946, married Myrtle Mae Downing in 1948, licensed to preach in 1953, and ordained in 1955.  He pastored 25 years in five states—Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, and Tennessee, and twice served as a home missionary.

Malcolm was a denominational leader in developing church training materials and Sunday School curriculum, and a highly regarded meeting planner whose innovative ideas for competitive activities launched a growth surge in the Free Will Baptist National Youth Conference that today attracts 3,000 attendees each July. (Show below presenting an award to the Bible Bowl team from Illinois in 1976.)



He served 18 years with two Free Will Baptist national agencies (Church Training Service and the Sunday School Department) in a number of roles, including director, assistant director, adult curriculum director, and Writer’s Conference coordinator.  He launched a new generation of Free Will Baptist writers.

A prolific Bible teacher, writer, and vocalist, Dr. Fry trained and inspired Free Will Baptist teachers across America, published seven books and wrote hundreds of articles in a 35-year journalistic career, and recorded three albums. 

He was also a flag-waving American patriot who served two years at a duty station in Panama with the U.S. Army and six years in the U.S. Air Force in Okinawa and Korea, as well as stateside. 

When he wasn’t preaching, teaching or singing, Malcolm would slip down to the river with a fishing pole and try his luck catching the big one that always seemed to get away.  He could put an educated spin on a bowling ball or make a ping-pong paddle dance to his tune.  One of his favorite pastimes was cheering for the Atlanta Braves.

Always a student and learner with a quick, hungry mind, Malcolm graduated with degrees from four colleges and seminaries, eventually earning the Doctor of Ministry degree at Luther Rice Seminary.

He was preceded in death by his wife Mae.  He is survived by two sons, Dr. Malcolm C. Fry, Jr. (Christi), of Kingsport, TN, and Rev. Matthew D. Fry (Martha) of Raleigh, NC; two daughters, Mrs. Pamela Mae Vaughan (Mike) of Four Oaks, NC, and Mrs. Rebecca Dawn Gwartney (Curt) of Locust Grove, OK; 10 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren; two brothers, Richardson Fry of Jerusalem, Israel, and Donald Fry of Weatherford, TX; one sister, Mrs. Ann Knowles of Fayetteville, GA.




Born: June 6, 1928, in Detroit, Michigan
Died: August 24, 2007
Conversion: 1946
Married:  Myrtle Mae Fry on June 5, 1948
Licensed to Preach: 1953
Ordained: July 30, 1955
Years in Ministry: 54
Retired: 1995.  After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (1995), he relocated to Desloge, Missouri, then to Locust Grove, Oklahoma, in 2001 to be near daughter.

            First FWB Church—Lake Charles, Louisiana (1955-1958; 1959-1961)
            First FWB Church—Bryan, Texas (1958-1959)
            First FWB Church—Ashland City, Tennessee (1961-1962)
            Central FWB Church (assistant pastor)—Royal Oak, Michigan (1962-1964)
            First FWB Church—Tucson, Arizona (1964-1971)
            Unity FWB Church—Smithfield, North Carolina (1983-1989)
            Goodlettsville FWB Church—Goodlettsville, Tennessee (1990-1996)

Denominational Responsibilities
            Director of Curriculum and Research—CTS Department (1971-1972)
            Director—CTS Department (1972-1978)
            Assistant Director—Sunday School & CTS Department (1978-1983)
            Director—National Youth Conference (1972-1983)
            Director—Free Will Baptist Writer’s Conference (1981-1983)
            Editor-in-Chief (Adult Curriculum)—SS & CT Dept. (1989-1995)
            Clerk—National Association of Free Will Baptists (1965-1967)
            General Board—National Association of Free Will Baptists (1968-1971)
            Chairman—Stewardship Commission/NAFWB (1962-1967)
            Moderator—Arizona State Association (1965-1967; 1969-1971)

Books Written
            Total Involvement (1964)
            Why Worry? (1967)
            Precepts for Practice (1971)
            Discipling and Developing (1971)
            Contemporary Topical Studies (1973)…20 pamphlets on a variety of subjects
            The Ministry of Music (1974)
            Balancing Christian Education (1977)

Albums Recorded
            Grace So Amazing

            Doctor of Ministry / Luther Rice Seminary / Jacksonville, Florida / 1978
            Doctor of Laws and Letters (honorary)/Clarksville (TN) School of Theology/1974  
            Master of Education  / University of Arizona / Tucson, Arizona / 1969
            Bachelor of Theology / Bible Baptist Seminary / Fort Worth, Texas / 1959
            Bachelor of Science / Austin Peay State University / Clarksville, Tenn. / 1962
            Undergraduate Studies /  McNeese State College / Lake Charles, Louisiana
            Other Studies / Emmaus Bible School / Oak Park, Illinois

            United States Air Force (1951-1957) / Korea and Okinawa
            United States Army (1946-1948) / Panama
            Numerous Articles—Contact and other publications
            Devotional Booklets
            Chairman—Middle Tennessee Chapter / Association of Baptists for Scouting
            Who’s Who in America
            Who’s Who in Religion
            Personalities of America

Fry studied voice under the late Dr. Frederick Shriner, former German Opera tenor. Objective was light opera until conversion and call to preach.

Hobbies: Reading, writing, playing piano, fishing, bowling, ping-pong, cheering for the Atlanta Braves.



©2007 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists