Rev. Earl W. “Buddy” Duggins, pastor of Forest Home Baptist Church in Kilgore, died suddenly Easter Sunday.
Duggins had just concluded preaching the Easter sermon when he reportedly felt unwell and an ambulance was called, according to church members. Duggins was taken to Christus Good Shepherd for treatment but ultimately died of a heart attack.
FHBC Minister of Music Mark Fried commented on the death of his pastor and friend.
“Bro. Duggins preached with a passion for souls and great encouragement for the saints. He traveled an unusual path as his wife battled Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma since 1990. She passed away just two months ago. With a heart of greatest compassion, he came to the pulpit prepared and delivered a sure, powerful, and good word from God. Over the past 27 years, Bro. Buddy and I had the privilege of holding over 150 revivals and one-day crusades together. He was not just my Pastor, he was my dear friend,” Fried said.
Duggins, who turned 81 last September, was involved in the ministry over 55 years. He preached over 450 revivals in 10 states and has had over 50 sermons published. He was also on the program three times at the Texas Evangelism Conference, and preached at the Arkansas State Pastor’s Conference.
He is a native of Kilgore and proudly served in the United States Marines. Prior to his arriving at Forest Home, Duggins served as Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Winnsboro, TX for 10 years.
There will be a public viewing at Rader’s in Kilgore on Wednesday from 8 a.m. — 6 p.m. This will allow congregants to pay their respects without breaking the social distancing requirements.
FHBC will also be opening their Worship Center on Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. — 4 p.m. for those who would like to come by and pray. FHBC asks guests to follow social distancing procedures and will have some staff available to talk with church members.
At the conclusion of his Easter sermon, Duggins spoke about the loss of his wife just two months ago, saying he believed God wanted him to use his time on earth to preach the gospel.
“The answer has come to my heart,” Duggins said after telling the congregation he struggled to understand why his wife had died before him.
The answer, he said, came after he prayed.
“I’ve left you here to do nothing more than to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ that you’ve been preaching for 55 years.”