The Rev. Scott Ford, pastor of Maceo Baptist Church for the past 32 years, died Tuesday after suffering a stroke.
He was 64.
Kenny Williams, a deacon and music minister at Maceo Baptist, said Ford's ministry spread well beyond the walls of his church building.
"He wasn't a church pastor; he was community pastor," Williams said. "He was kind of a shepherd to any and everyone. It didn't matter your faith, if you had ever been to church or whatever. He was just a true, loving man who represented Christ in such a beautiful way."
Ford grew up in Owensboro and attended Hall Street Baptist Church. He graduated from Owensboro High School in 1972.
In a 2007 Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer story, he discussed how he felt called to the ministry during his senior year but struggled as a youngster with being blind in his right eye.
It, however, was through his physical disability that would provide a path to college and into the seminary.
Ford said he wasn't sure if he could afford college until a friend referred him to the Kentucky Bureau for the Blind, which paid all but $2,000 of the cost of attending Kentucky Wesleyan College and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.
"Growing up, especially in my teenage years, I was kind of angry at God" because of his vision problem, Ford told the Messenger-Inquirer in 2007. The day he received his scholarship, he said he felt God saying, "Now do you understand?"
After college, Ford led a church in Henderson for six years. From there, he was hired in 1987 to lead Maceo Baptist Church.
Tony Rowe, a 30-year member and former music minister at Maceo Baptist, said he will not only miss his friend and pastor but hearing him behind the pulpit.
"He preached the Bible and never tried to soft-pedal it," Rowe said. "... He preached the Gospel and I think that's one of the reasons why he was so well respected and why his ministry was so blessed."
Ford was also active in the Daviess-McLean Baptist Association. He was currently serving as chairman of its personnel committee.
Herschel Morgan, interim director of missions for the Daviess-McLean Baptist Association, said Ford was always someone willing to serve in any capacity to help the association.
"He had a sweet spirit; everybody loved him," said Morgan, who knew Ford for nearly 40 years. "... He had a lot of humor that could knock down walls of resistance at times."
Funeral arrangements have yet to made by the family.
Williams said Ford was an organ donor and the family had to go through that process first.
Williams added that Ford embodied John 3:15 that reads, "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."
"He didn't care about church membership or anything like that," Williams said. "He just wanted to win people to Christ."