Tom Cleary dies, was one of first missionaries appointed by CBF

Cleary served the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship both in Eastern Europe and Florida before retiring in December 2002.

By Bob Allen

Tom Cleary, one of the first global missions field personnel appointed by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, died after suffering a ruptured aneurysm March 15, CBF Florida Coordinator Ray Johnson reported in an e-newsletter March 19.

Cleary served as a pastor in Florida before he and his wife, Joyce, were appointed as missionaries in Austria by the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board in 1971. They returned to Florida in 1980 to conduct campus ministry for the Florida Baptist Convention at the University of South Florida.

They returned to the mission field in Poland, first through the FMB and then as CBF global missions field personnel from 1993 until 2000. They postponed their retirement for two years in Miami with CBF-related Touching Miami With Love and Open House Ministries until December 2002.

In retirement the couple served as co-pastors of a CBF church plant in Lakeland, Fla., now known as Church in the Meadows.

“For all of us who knew Tom this is very sad news,” Johnson wrote. “I will certainly miss Tom’s great sense of humor and his extraordinary kindness.”

Johnson said Joyce Cleary is currently with friends and family, and he pledged to share information about funeral arrangements as they become available.