Missionary, pastor, educator Ronald Beech remembered 

Nampa, Idaho

Ronald Beech, former president of Philippine Nazarene College, Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary professor emeritus, pastor, and missionary, passed away 23 January. He was 92 years old.

Ronald was born 5 October 1926 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Ronald, his parents, and his four siblings migrated to the USA in 1928, living in Washington.

His family attended Presbyterian and Methodist churches throughout his childhood, but his mother and sisters joined the Church of the Nazarene when he was a teenager. 

In June 1944, Ronald graduated from high school and enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve at the age of 17, serving around the world until he was honorably discharged in 1946. 

By 1950, Ronald had joined the Church of the Nazarene and enrolled in Northwest Nazarene College (now University) in Nampa, Idaho, where he majored in education.

While studying at NNC, Ronald met his first wife, Neva Templeman. They were married during Ronald’s senior year in 1953. 

He later went on to study at Nazarene Theological Seminary and receive masters degrees from the University of Missouri and from Philippine Baptist Seminary. 

Many years later, he studied at Fuller Theological Seminary, at Seattle Pacific College, and he went back to Philippine Baptist Seminary to earn his Doctor of Sacred Theology in the New Testament.

In 1958, Ronald and Neva pastored a church in Leavenworth, Washington, and they applied to become missionaries for the Church of the Nazarene.

“It had been an unwritten policy of the General Board to not appoint any missionaries with more than two children, and Ron and Neva had [four],” said Franklin Cook, candidate secretary for World Mission at the time. “We had a big debate, [but] the General Board voted to commission the Beeches as missionaries and change the practice regarding the number of children. I have often thought what a tragedy it would have been if Ron and Neva had been bypassed in their calling. What a distinguished career and legacy it has been, and I am proud to have been a small part of the beginning.”

The couple served as missionaries for two years in Manila, Philippines, before going on to serve in Angeles City, Pampanga. Ronald served as the pioneer pastor, and that church went on to become the largest Church of the Nazarene in the Philippines.

Ronald and Neva taught for a total of 15 years in La Trinidad at Luzon Nazarene Bible College (now Philippine Nazarene College). During that time, Ronald also served as the pastor of College Church of the Nazarene on the campus, and he later served as the fifth president of LNBC.

 “A Christlike legacy is what Dr. Beech and Neva has left to the LNBC family in particular, and to the Philippines church in general,” said Ernesto Rulloda, former LNBC president.

Ronald eventually went on to be one of the founding faculty members and the first academic dean of Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary. 

“God gave APNTS the gift of Dr. Ronald W. Beech,” said Donald Owens, founding APNTS president. “[He was] a great missionary who was the central figure in establishing Asia-Pacific Nazarene Seminary in the Philippines. It was one of my great joys to know him and work with him in the beginning days of the seminary.” 

Over the next 10 years, Ronald and Neva both served in several positions with great distinction at APNTS.

“He came to APNTS with great experience as missionary and teacher,” said Floyd Cunningham, APNTS president emeritus and founding faculty member. “He was a faithful servant of Christ, humble, willing to do whatever the task might be asked.”

After their official retirement in 1992, Ronald and Neva served as volunteer service missionaries at the Nazarene Theological College in Brisbane, Australia, and at the South Pacific Nazarene Bible College in Apia, Samoa. 

Neva passed away 10 April 1998, and in 2001 Ronald married Doris Cook. Ronald and Doris traveled and volunteered with many programs through Northwest Nazarene University and First Church of the Nazarene in Nampa. 

Ronald Beech is survived by his wife, Doris, his five adult children — Barbara York, Colleen Skinner, Cathy Borger, Lynette Cochran, and Barry Beech — and his 16 grandchildren. 

A celebration of the life service was held for Ronald 27 January at Nampa First Church of the Nazarene in Idaho.

--Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary via NCN News submissions

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