Paul W. Preddy, American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (ABFMS) alumnus, passed away at the age of 85 on November 18, 2020 in San Diego, CA. He was born on December 9, 1934 in Pleasantville, New Jersey to Otis L and Mabel L. Preddy. Paul’s father was an American Baptist minister in New Jersey and a seminary student in Philadelphia, so the family only saw him on weekends for several years when Paul was young. When his Dad finished seminary, life was more relaxed. Paul’s mother was a leader in Sunday school and women’s work. Paul assumed that he would grow up to be a minister, too.
Paul loved to read. After reading Pilgrim’s Progress, Burma Surgeon and Wastebasket Surgery he had no doubt about medical missionaries – they were the greatest men of all time. Paul studied the basic Baptist doctrine and was baptized when he was nine.
After high school Paul entered Westmont College in Santa Barbara. It was here that Paul felt his faith began to mature and take on relevance and he experienced great growth spiritually and emotionally. He studied education as a career with opportunity for service and personal fulfillment. Paul met Nancy Lou Vriend during the one year she attended Westmont College before transferring to nurses training. They were married September 1, 1956 shortly after Paul’s graduation. Paul first taught 4th and 5th grades in Ojai, CA. and then taught 6th grade in Ventura, CA. In 1965 he became principal of the Mounds Elementary School in Ventura. He had earned a master’s degree in school administration.
Paul and Nancy were very active in the First Baptist Church of Ventura during the nine years they lived there. Together Paul and Nancy made the decision to volunteer for overseas mission service as teacher and nurse. On March 18, 1966 Paul and Nancy were appointed by the ABFMS designated to serve in the Congo. They, along with their three children, sailed for Congo in early August 1966. Because Paul was needed immediately, the Preddy family went directly to the Congo where Paul became the principal of the elementary school of the American School in Kinshasa (TASOK). They both jumped right in at TASOK. The school provided education in English for children of missionaries, businessmen, and government works in the Congo. A vital ministry to these young people was carried out by the staff of the school. Nancy served as the school nurse, bookkeeper and secretary of the school. In 1970 Paul was asked to serve as the chief administrator (superintendent) of TASOK.
In July 1972 Paul and Nancy resigned and the family moved to San Diego, CA. Paul was a principal in the Cajon Valley Union School District from 1972 to 1991. He was known for being an encouragement to teachers and students alike.
Paul was very involved with the College Ave Baptist Church over the last 40 years and was described as an outstanding and well-loved Bible teacher. He used his God given administrative talents by serving in many capacities such as on the leadership boards, as Bible teacher/adult Sunday School teacher, and leading ministry/outreach teams that served the homeless and the development of the CABC Neighborhood Care Center. Paul organized and led the all-volunteer ministry at CABC for about 15 years. CABC provided food, clothing, showers, job search aid and more for the homeless population.
After a long and courageous battle with cancer, Paul passed away peacefully at home with his family around him. Paul is survived by Nancy, his wife of 64 years, their children; Paula, David, and Steven, his sister Lois, as well as seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He will be greatly missed by many and his family looks forward to the Great Reunion in Heaven.
Paul’s Memorial Service is being held on Saturday, December 12th at 10am PST. The family would welcome any who wish to attend virtually. Zoom link to the service: (Zoom Meeting ID: 833 1273 9643 & Passcode: 827272)