VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 10/11/11)—Rev. Leonard Ballesteros, 84, of DeLand, Forida, passed away on October 5, 2011. Ballesteros served as a field representative with The Ministers & Missionaries Benefit Board (MMBB) of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) until his retirement in 1999. He continued as an area minister and consultant, did mission work in Chile and was widely considered a “Pastor to the Pastors”, especially throughout the Hispanic church community. In recent years one of the General Secretary’s Circles was named in his honor in acknowledgement of his leadership.
“Lenny was a committed and persistent advocate for the pastors and families he served,” said Sumner M. Grant, executive director of MMBB. “He embodied MMBB’s core values of generosity, justice and passion for those not yet privileged to share in the benefits we offer. Lenny will be long remembered for his pastoral heart and gentle spirit.”
Rev. A. Roy Medley, general secretary of ABCUSA, said, “Lenny will always be remembered for his kindness, his love of people, and his love of baseball. He had the capability of entering a room full of strangers but leaving it a room full of friends. He was a wonderful friend to so many of us. We will miss him.”
Ballesteros was born in East Los Angeles, CA, on May 23, 1927 and came to DeLand, Florida from Ridgewood, New Jersey in 2004. He served in the Navy during World War II and was ordained as a minister in 1958, taking the pulpit at North Baptist Church of Jersey City (NJ) until 1972.
A member of First Baptist Church of DeLand, Ballesteros served as a member of the mission committee. He loved sports, especially the NY Mets, NY Jets and Stetson University Baseball. He also enjoyed reading, traveling and photography. He loved people and loved caring for them, which was evident in the opening of his home to terminally ill children.
Funeral services were held on Monday, October 10 at First Baptist Church of DeLand. Interment followed at DeLand Memorial Gardens, along with a celebration of his life in the Family Life Center of the church.
Memorial donations may be made to the First Baptist Church of DeLand Benevolent Fund, Give Kids the World Village of Kissimmee or Stetson University Baseball.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.