SAN ANSELMO, Calif. — Frank Pollard, Mississippi pastor, longtime preacher on the former "Baptist Hour" radio broadcast and president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (GGBTS) from 1983-86, died Nov. 30 at his home in Anselmo, Calif., in the San Francisco area.
Pollard, 74, had suffered from Parkinson's disease in recent years, according to news reports.
As Golden Gate's fifth president, Pollard led in the redevelopment of the Northern California campus master plan and in the seminary's enrollment gains. He also was instrumental in the relocation of the Southern California campus to Brea, where it continues today. He left GGBTS in 1986 to return as pastor of First Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss., where he previously had served from 1974-80. Pollard retired from First Baptist in January 2002.
"Dr. Pollard was a great advocate for Golden Gate," said Jeff Iorg, Golden Gate's current president. "I appreciated his personal support and encouragement when I became president. He had recently relocated to California and reconnected with the seminary community. We will miss him."
Included in his 40-plus years in the ministry were the presidency of the Mississippi Baptist Convention from 2002-04 and his selection by Time magazine in 1979 as one of the seven leading Protestant preachers in America.
He was the weekly voice of "The Baptist Hour" for more than 20 years, beginning in 1976, and also was featured on a TV version of the program and on another TV program, "At Home with the Bible," produced by the former SBC Radio and Television Commission.
"Frank was one of the most outstanding preachers I had the privilege of hearing," said William O. Crews, who followed Pollard as GGBTS president. "Because of his national leadership as preacher for the Baptist Hour for many years, he brought national attention to Golden Gate. Frank was a close personal friend, great encourager to me while I served as president and a strong supporter of the seminary."
Pollard was a native of Olney, Texas, and a graduate of Texas A&M University. He later earned a divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a doctor of ministry degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Golden Gate honored Pollard with a distinguished alumni award in 1993.
According to The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., Pollard and his wife Jane moved to the San Francisco area several months ago to be near their daughter, Suzanne Kelly, her husband Greg and their young daughter, Elizabeth Kelly.
In addition to First Baptist in Jackson, Pollard's pastorates included First Baptist Church in San Antonio and Shiloh Terrace Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.
Pollard authored five books, How to Know When You're a Success, The Bible in Your Life, After You've Said I'm Sorry, Keeping Free and Someone Once Said.
In addition to his wife, daughter and grandchild, Pollard is survived by a son, Brent.
(EDITOR'S NOTE — Reported by Phyllis Evans, director of communications at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, and Baptist Press editor Art Toalston.)