Tallahassee, FL - Dr. Billy Cruce, pastor emeritus of the Thomasville Road Baptist Church in Tallahassee, died Tuesday. Cruce served as pastor of the 2,650-member church for more than 18 years from 1983-2002. During his time as pastor he led the church to begin many outreach ministries in the community and to build their current worship center.
Curtis Clark, the current pastor of Thomasville Road, said “Cruce’s ministry in the greater Tallahassee community has had a lasting impact. He was known for reaching out across racial barriers and bringing churches of like faith together. “ Clark continued, “Cruce had a reputation among other pastors in the community as being a partner. He was always working with other churches and encouraged pastors and congregations regardless of the size or racial makeup of the church. Dr. Cruce had a servant’s heart and led in the best interest of the church family, not himself. He was more interested in building the kingdom of God than his own.”
During his tenure Thomasville Road helped start or constitute three area churches: Bradfordville First Baptist Church , CrossRoads Baptist Church in Beachton, GA and Sonshine Community Church in Tallahassee.
Cruce led the church to participate in missions work within and beyond the United States including annual mission trips to help build churches in parts of the U.S. where Christian churches are not as plentiful. Thomasville Road continues missions work today initiated under Cruce that includes working in Haiti drilling wells for clean water and building schools and churches as well as starting a mission and helping to build a church in Mexico.
Prior to serving as senior pastor at Thomasville Road, Cruce served as pastor at Southside Baptist Church in Brandon, FL. He served for 6 years as a Southern Baptist Missionary in Uganda and Tanzania. After retiring as senior pastor of Thomasville Road, Cruce served as the Pastor to Pastors with Live the Life, a local ministry that enabled him to spend time ministering to and encouraging area pastors of many denominations. Cruce challenged local pastors to develop times of prayer with fellow pastors in the community.
Cruce was a native of Perry, FL. He earned a B.A. from Samford University and a Masters of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry from New Orleans Theological Seminary. Cruce is survived by his wife of 47 years Janice. His son Barrett and his wife Amy Cruce are missionaries in Costa Rica with their daughters Maili and Mckenna. His daughter Jill and her husband Carey Palmer and their children Charissa and Brock live in Atlanta, Ga. Cruce’s brother Charlie Cruce, a pastor from Tulsa, OK and son Barrett will officiate at the celebration service. Notes to the family, or memories of the pastor and friend, may be left on the church website by visiting www.thomasvilleroad.org.