Long-time Milwaukee community and religious leader, Betty Nabors, passes

August 10, 2018

Mrs. Betty Jane Logan Nabors, a longtime educator and religious leader in the Milwaukee community, peacefully passed away in St. Louis, MO on August 2, 2018. Born on September 20, 1940, and reared in Richmond Heights, MO, Mrs. Nabors earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education with a minor in music, and a master of arts degree in special education from college after graduating from high school. She served as a dedicated elementary school teacher with the Milwaukee Public School system for 34 years, during which she was an inspiring mentor to other educators. Her last MPS school assignment was with Phillips Elementary School. From the age of eight, she felt a strong call to Christian ministry to which she remained true for the next seven decades, including as an exemplary mentor to other pastors’ wives.

One of her most enduring contributions to the Milwaukee community began when together with her husband of 54 years, the Rev. Dr. Roy B. Nabors and four other families, the group decided to create a new church congregation called Community Baptist Church of Greater Milwaukee during a meeting in the Nabors’ Milwaukee home in December 1977. After securing a suitable location for the growing congregation at 2249 N. Sherman Blvd., in 1982, the church began to practice what Pastor Nabors described in many of his sermons as “holistic community church ministry.” When Rev. Nabors retired from Community Baptist Church of Greater Milwaukee in January 2009, the congregation included more than 300 families, 17 ministries and through its various ministries employed 125 persons.

After Mrs. Nabors retired from MPS, she increased her service to the church family side-by-side with her husband. Together the couple established Community Vision Academy, where she served as an administrator and teacher. CVA was the first church-sponsored school formed in Milwaukee. It served more than 100 students in grades pre-kindergarten through the fifth grade for a number of years. In addition to her work with CVA, Mrs. Nabors also taught Sunday school, new member classes, Vacation Bible School and Bible study for teachers’ workshops. She played piano, sang in the church choir and was an active member of the Women’s Retreat Committee. Betty always had a graceful and pleasant persona.

The Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Nabors established the first free, city-wide, church-sponsored, breakfast program in Milwaukee. During the 1990s, when it was at its busiest, it served more than 1,000 free breakfasts per week. Pastor and Mrs. Nabors also established a free clothing bank for families which served hundreds of people weekly. They also managed a scholarship, the Earnest and Clara Lewis Scholarship Fund, of which Mrs. Nabors served as chair and through which the church provided thousands of dollars in scholarship funds to deserving college students. The couple also created and supported children and youth ministries, which included Christian education, mission and Bible study.

One of the most significant global mission projects of “holistic community church ministry” with which Pastor and Mrs. Nabors were involved included serving as leaders in the Free Mandela Movement and receiving a call from former South African President Nelson Mandela when he was released from prison in 1990.

In addition to their 32 years of ministry at Community Baptist Church of Greater Milwaukee, Mrs. Nabors served as a pastor’s wife at Baptist churches in Missouri, Michigan, and Wisconsin. She was also a life-time member of the NAACP and a golden lifetime Delta Sigma Theta Sorority member. In 2008 Mrs. Nabors was honored at the Milwaukee Black Women’s Network program. She was also active in the Wisconsin State Ministers’ Wives group and the International Alliance of Ministers’ Wives and Widows of Wisconsin as well as a member of the National Council of Negro Women. In 2012 the Rev. Dr. Nabors accepted a pastoral call to serve New Paradise Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, where Mrs. Nabors energetically and enthusiastically served as First Lady until her passing.

Her family is deeply grateful for the caring thoughts and prayers everyone has given. She leaves behind to cherish her memory her husband, and three adult children: sons Terrence (Christine) Nabors and Kuanda Nabors and daughter Kaleatha Powell, as well as ten grandchildren. Worship services for Mrs. Nabors will be held on Saturday, August 11, 2018, at New Paradise Missionary Baptist Church, 7348 W. Florissant Rd., St. Louis, Missouri 63136. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made out to the Mamie Young Scholarship Program and sent to the church address.

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