Deacon Frederick Morris Kilgore was born May 28, 1934 to the late James
and Ruth Armstrong Kilgore in Ansley, LA the youngest of four children—James,
Bennie Ruth, and Ada. His parents later adopted three of his sister Ada Kilgore
Ware’s children: Loretta, Michael, and Bruce—but they also kept and raised her
youngest child, Leon Kilgore as their own.
He accepted Christ at the age of 10 and was baptized at Mt. Gillup Church in
Ansley, LA before moving with his parents to Hot Springs, AR in 1945. He
attended Langston High School where he played left defensive tackle for the
Langston Bulldogs. He attended Wiley College in Marshall, TX in 1955 for a year
before entering the United States Army—32 nd Tank Battalion.
After his discharge from the Army in 1958, he returned to Hot Springs where he
had several jobs that lasted 2-3 years, relocated to New York and worked briefly
there before returning to Hot Springs and again working several different jobs
before gaining employment at the Garland County Courthouse in 1973 as a
Maintenance worker where he retired with 23 years of service. During his working
career, he always had a “side hustle” where he did yard work for over 40 years. He
later worked for Wal-Mart in maintenance and Community Counseling Service as
a driver a few years before suffering a near debilitating stroke February 18, 2001.
In the early 70’s he married the late Bessie Dubose Kilgore and to their union, two
daughters: Tonga and Jenetta were born. They later divorced, and he married
Bernistine Brown Kilgore August 25, 1982 and they are the parents of Adria,
Serenity, and Emily.
Deacon Kilgore has always said, that he knew the importance of having a strong
family support system and Christian Teaching, even though children don’t always
listen to their parents. He always maintained that “God can save anybody from
anything!” His favorite songs were “I know I’ve been changed” and “I want to be
at the meeting.”
Although he had accepted Christ at the age of 10, he said he knew he was not
really committed until he realized he had a drinking problem which he started as a
teenager along with smoking. He rededicated his life to Christ at the birth of his
first daughter, Tonga in 1971 and was able to successfully quit drinking in June
1972. He quit smoking February 18, 2001. His rededication led him to
Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church shortly after it was founded in April 1972.
He was ordained a Deacon November 30, 1975 by the late Rev. B. J. Grigsby and
was elected chairman of the Board under Rev. Patton in 1977. He was fully
committed to the duties of a Deacon and served well where he was instrumental in
securing financing and remodeling efforts for the building, teaching and mentoring
the younger Deacons, and providing its’ maintenance and lawn services.
The family later united with Union Missionary Baptist Church on June 7, 1992
where he was adopted into the Union Family the same Sunday Pastor Douglas
Edward Jones started his Pastorate. He was immediately accepted as a Deacon and
later selected by his fellow Deacons to serve as Chairman January 1995.
With Godly wisdom and his extensive knowledge gained by working at the
courthouse, he was instrumental in negotiating the adjoining and surrounding
properties purchased by the church at very reasonable prices.
Deacon Kilgore served with the same fierceness that he did playing football and
with total commitment from 1995 through December 31, 2017 when other issues
of health began to take a toll on his body. He yet remained active in attendance
and service until August 2019. He was a member and check signer on the Finance
Committee, The Family Life Center Mortgage, Sunday School Life Changers
Class, and Co-Chair of the Elite Seniors and Adults of Union Fellowship where
they planned and implemented activities and trips to concerts, fishing trips, and
Valentine Banquets for those ages 48 and older but young at heart members and
One of the greatest highlights of his career of service, was the Confirmation
Service for the UMBC Junior Deacons Ministry on June 4, 2017.
On November 15, 2019 at 3:48pm in the comfort of his home with his wife and
girls by his side, he surrendered his spirit and soul to the Lord and left his earthly
tabernacle here to rest among those who have gone before him.
Those preceding him are his aforementioned parents, siblings: James, Bennie Ruth,
Ada, Michael, and Bruce. His daughter, Tonga.
Those left to cherish his memories and continue his legacy to “Trust and believe
that serving the Lord pays off right now because whatever you need, God has it as
he was a living witness to God’s goodness and favor” are his loving and devoted
wife, Bernistine; children: Adria, Serenity, Jenetta, and Emily. His grandchildren:
Jonathan, Jelecia, Deione, Keione, Dekedria, Sakethia, Makenna (who was raisedas his own),
Kordaya, and Zyeria and eight great grandchildren His sister, Loretta
Kilgore White and her husband, Jeremiah. His nephew, Leon. His cousin-sister
Ruby Jewell Griffin. His cousin-brother Calvin Davis. And a host of nieces,
nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the order of things has passed away" Revelation 21:4
The Kilgore family has chosen to be
Under the Professional Auspices
Samuel L. Vance & Sons Funeral Directors
Preferred Florist: Wow Wallace Flowers and Gifts are guaranteed to arrive fresh before the first service. Wow Wallace 870-575-3703
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