Ronald Michael Meznar entered the presence of his Lord and Savior on August 2, 2019, a day after celebrating his 90th birthday. He was born on August 1, 1929, in Cleveland, Ohio to Michael and Kathryn Meznar.
As a teenager, Ronald committed his life to Jesus Christ through the ministry of the Cleveland Hebrew Mission. In 1948, he enrolled in William Jennings Bryan College, where he met his lifetime partner, Gladys Louise Jennewein. They were married on September 6, 1951. Following his graduation from college, the couple moved to Winona Lake, Indiana, where Ronald pursued a Master in Divinity at Grace Theological Seminary and prepared for missionary work.
In 1957, the couple arrived in Brazil with their first-born daughter Jill, beginning almost forty years of missionary service with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE). Ronald was instrumental in the establishment or early years of many faith-based organizations in São Paulo, including the Seminario e Instituto Biblico Batista (now called Logos Seminary), the Imprensa Batista Regular, the Pan American Christian Academy, a language school for missionaries and the Livraria Maranata. His collegial and diplomatic manner, as well as his sharp intellect and near-perfect Portuguese, often propelled him into leadership roles. Ronald also helped plant or pastor numerous churches in Brazil’s largest metropolis, including Regular Baptist congregations in the neighborhoods of Itaim, Jabaquara, Planalto Paulista, and Chacara Santo Antonio. He also led Bible studies in his home for members of the large expatriate community. During the 1977-78 academic year, he served as professor and missionary-in-residence at Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. Countless people found new hope in the gospel and were strengthened in their Christian faith by his work as seminary professor, pastor and friend.
In 1996, Ronald and Gladys retired from foreign missionary work and moved to Ocala, Florida where they were active members at Central Baptist Church. In 2012, Ronald was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and the couple moved to Toledo, Ohio. Ronald bravely faced the debilitation of Alzheimer’s with grace and serenity. The long good-bye was made easier by the kindnesses of neighbors in Corey Meadows, friends at Bethany Community Fellowship and, during his final year, the cheerful caregivers of Pro-Medica Hospice and Kingston Care Center.
Ronald was a loving father and grandfather. Besides his wife of nearly 68 years, he is survived by his three children - Jill (Lee) Thompson, Jenifer (Mark) Christiaanse, and Marc (Anita) Meznar. His four granddaughters — Justine (Craig) O’Dell, Paige (Matt) Doak, Claire Meznar and Juliana Meznar — will also miss him immensely. He has joined his parents and three siblings in heaven: Leonard Meznar, LaVerne Grizzel and Theodore Meznar. Family and friends rejoice that his time of suffering and sorrow has ended and that he is face-to-face with his precious Redeemer in glory!
A private family burial will take place on Tuesday at Toledo Memorial Garden in Sylvania. A memorial service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, October 6, 2019 at Bethany Community Fellowship 5757 Flanders Rd. Sylvania, Ohio 43560. Contributions in Ronald Meznar’s memory can be made to the Hare Scholarship Program (Account 0735411-004) or by mailing ABWE, P.O. Box 8585, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8585.
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