Delores Tope was born January 6, 1929, at Earle, Arkansas, to Rev. Harry Tope and Mabel Coats Miller Tope. The family moved to Parkin, Arkansas soon thereafter where Mr. and Mrs. Tope entered the grocery business. After World War II, when small businesses were struggling with the changes brought on by the post-war years, the Topes moved to Sikeston, Missouri, and later to Lilbourn, Missouri.
Delores was saved at the age of 12 at the First Baptist Church, Parkin, Arkansas, and baptized at the same service with her parents and older sister. Soon after her conversion, Delores began to sense God leading her to missionary service and thought it would be in Mexico. With this in mind, she attended Ouachita Baptist College, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; Blue Mountain Baptist Girls School in Ripley, Mississippi; and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. While at Southwestern, she met Dale Maddux and remembered him from her months at Ouachita Baptist College. The remembering soon turned into romance. Delores returned home to Lilbourn to teach in the elementary school for a year before she and Dale were married on June 3, 1951 at the First Baptist Church, Sikeston, Missouri. Their honeymoon was driving from Missouri back to Fort Worth so that Dale could complete his seminary education.
They helped begin the Beverly Hills Baptist Church, in north Fort Worth, while at Southwestern; Dale also pastored half-time at a church in east Texas for several months. Delores and he moved to Coffeyville, Kansas in August 1954 where they began full-time ministry at the Pleasant Valley Baptist Church; they then began a new church at South Coffeyville, Oklahoma. Two sons were born to them while living in Coffeyville: Marcus, in July of 1956, and Clark, in October of 1957.
During this time, Delores and Dale began pursuing international missions work, but God had other plans for them. At the end of 1958, Dale was asked to consider associational mission ministry at Tri-County Baptist Association with the Baptist Student Union Ministry at Kansas State Teachers College, Pittsburg, Kansas. Associational missions became the ministry she and Dale followed for 35 years.
From Pittsburg, she and Dale moved to northeast Arkansas to serve with the Current River and Gainesville Associations in 1960. During that time, God called them to serve as missionaries in the United States rather than in international missions. They were appointed by the Home Mission Board (now North American Missions Board) in October 1962 and served with the NAMB in Michigan, Indiana, and Montana. They retired on August 31, 1993, and moved to Evansville, Indiana. Since retirement, Delores remained Dale’s helpmeet in his continuing ministry as interim pastor for 17 congregations.
Delores was preceded in death by her parents, Rev. Harry and Mabel Tope; two sisters, Emma K. Hager and Mary Lee Pollock; and her brother, Rev. Charles A. Tope. She is survived by her husband, Dale; one sister, Harriet Woods; her two sons: Marcus, who lives in Evergreen, Colorado, and Clark and Connie Wilson Maddux, who live in Boone, North Carolina. They have four grandchildren, and three great-granddaughters.
Delores had always asked that Dale include in her funeral notice a reminder of the Lord who was her redeemer. This was one of her favorite moments from one of her beloved husband’s sermons, a farewell word to those who are Christians and a final word to those who do not yet believe in Jesus Christ as God’s only begotten Son: “When God convicts, surrender to him; when God leads, begin the journey. Do not wait to see the end of the road. Rigid flexibility works with exciting results. Follow God even when you have no place to put your belongings or any room to rest your body. Remember, our Lord said, ‘I will be with you, even to the end of the world.’ Just go, and trust. There is a ‘new heaven and a new earth’ for all believers!”
Funeral services will be at 10 AM on Thursday, January 3, 2019 at Northeast Park Baptist Church, 1215 North Boeke, Evansville, with Rev. Steve Taylor and Rev. James Ehrlich officiating. Visitation will be from 2 to 7 PM on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 at Boone Funeral Home, 5330 Washington Avenue and again on January 3, 2019 from 9 AM to the time of the funeral service at church. Burial will be private.
Memorials in lieu of flowers are requested to be made to either the Maddux/Gonzales Music Scholarship, Arkansas Baptist Foundation, or to the Lottie Moon International Missions Offering. Arrangements by Boone Funeral Home, East Chapel, Evansville.
Condolences may be made to the family online at boonefuneralhome.net