Reverend Raleigh B. Ragland was a native of Columbus, Ohio and the ninth of ten children born to the parents of the late James and Persis Ragland on December 24, 1935. In July 1958, he was married to the late Beverly J. Ragland for 47 years until the Lord called her home. Their union produced three children: Dawn Orr (Robert), Jacqueline (Dr. Philip) Patterson and Rev. Kimberly (Tracy) Kendall. He is the proud grandfather of granddaughters; Dr. Lauren Kendall Brooks (Derick), Krista Patterson, Brittany Patterson, Joiya Stacks, Chelsea Stacks and Alana Stacks. God saw fit to bless Pastor Ragland with another
faithful- loving, God-fearing mate and family on April 17, 2010 in Sister Estella C. Ragland.
Rev. Ragland received his early educational experience in the Columbus Public School System. He later chose to further his college education at the American Baptist Theological Seminary, Nashville, Tennessee and Bethel College, South Bend, Indiana. He also completed courses from Simmons University, Louisville, Kentucky and Eastern Union Bible College in Columbus, Ohio.
His calling to the ministry was acknowledged in April 1964 under the late Rev. Frank C. Cleveland, Pastor of the New Salem Baptist Church, Columbus, Ohio, who was his beloved friend as well as father in the ministry.
Reverend Ragland was actively involved in various civic and community groups. One who had a burden for the often overlooked and underserved, he was an active member of the board of the NAACP and served as president of the Interdenominational Ministers Alliance, both in Tennessee and Indiana. Reverend Ragland conducted a prison ministry at the county and city jails in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and served as chaplain at Osteopathic Hospital in South Bend, Indiana. Reverend Ragland was instrumental in the development of Opportunity Industrialization Center (OIC) in South Bend, Indiana and served as Director. OIC stood for economic and racial justice through workforce development of the underserved and underrepresented communities. He served in the Baptist Ministers Alliance of Columbus, Ohio and held the office of auditor. He also served as first vice-moderator of the Eastern Union Missionary Baptist Association. Reverend Ragland held a Sunday evening prayer line on radio station WCVZ in Zanesville, Ohio for 10 years offering hope in Christ and a listening ear to hear the hurting. In over 50 years in the ministry, his community involvement and interactions are too numerous to mention as he held many leadership positions within Christian organizations and in the community.
He held pastorates in Nelsonville, Ohio (1965 – 1968); Murfreesboro, Tennessee (1969 – 1974); South Bend, Indiana (1974 – 1982); and lastly, Union Baptist Church of Zanesville, Ohio (1987 – 2014). He also served as an associate minister and former chairperson of the Brotherhood at Antioch Baptist Church of Columbus, Ohio as well.
After many years of faithful service, Rev. Ragland retired from Union Baptist Church of Zanesville, Ohio where he was bestowed the title of Pastor Emeritus. Upon retirement, Rev. Ragland relocated to the metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia area (2014) and united with the Antioch Baptist Church North where he served faithfully as an associate in ministry.
Upon retiring from the pulpit ministry, Reverend Ragland found some leisure time for traveling. He and Sis. Estella traveled twice to various islands in Hawaii, Hilton Head, SC., Florida, Washington, DC, and Richmond, VA. He was one who represented the love of Christ to all who needed a friend, a father, a listening ear and one who would pray. Reverend Ragland continued to witness to people with his main interest on saving souls and serving humanity for the cause of Christ. Rev. Ragland will be sorely missed by all who knew him, but his reliance on Christ and his mission-bound life to represent the Gospel of Jesus Christ leaves us with his favorite scripture verse:
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isa. 40:31 KJV
Private family funeral services in Rev. Ragland's honor will be held Friday, February 12, 2021 at Antioch Baptist Church, in Columbus. Burial will follow in Union Cemetery, 3349 Olentangy Rd., Columbus. BURRELL FUNERAL SERVICES is serving the family.
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