Leon C. Riddick, 87, Was Baptist Church Leader

Dr. Leon Clanton Riddick died on March 9 at his home in Charlotte, N.C., with his family at his side.

He was born Nov. 30, 1916 in Powellsville, N.C., the eldest child of Dennis Edward Riddick and Cottie Ward Riddick. He entered Shaw University in September, 1934 and was graduated from the school of liberal arts and religious studies with a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of divinity degree in 1943. He was ordained into the gospel ministry in December, 1934. During his tenure at Shaw University, he was an outstanding student leader and was elected to Who's Who Among College Students. He married Minnie Willow Gaines, his wife of 60 years, on August 27, 1944.

Between 1943 and 1947, he pastored the Mt. Nebo Baptist Church in Lake Lure, N.C.; New Christian Chapel Baptist Church in Rose Hill, N.C., and Adoram Baptist Church in Wallace, N.C. During this time, Dr. Riddick was the director of the department of christian education and training for the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

In 1947 he moved to Summit, N.J., where he pastored the Fountain Baptist Church until 1964. During those years he served as president of the Summit, Trinity Branch NAACP; trustee for the Overlook Hospital Chaplains Service; charter member of the Summit Association of Gerontology; president of the General Baptist State Convention of New Jersey; president of the Summit Ministerial Association; vice president of the New Jersey Council of Churches; State Vice President of the National Baptist Convention U.S.A. Inc.; member of the executive board, Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention; and vice president for development and public Relations at Shaw University, 1964-65.

In February 1965, he was called to pastor the Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., where he served until retirement in 1990. In addition to the many contributions made at Mount Carmel, Dr. Riddick also provided leadership in the Charlotte community on many boards and committees. Dr. Riddick was a frequent guest speaker at the Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs during his many summers at the family home here in the Highlands.

He received many honorary degrees and awards during his lifetime. He was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Dr. Riddick's memorial service was held in Charlotte on March 13 at the Mount Carmel Baptist Church.

He leaves to cherish memories of his life his wife, Micki; his daughter, Cheryl Lynn Cross, and her husband, Lawrence Cross, of Florida; three grandchildren, Elynn Jordon, Robert (Cory) Spencer and Maria Cross Barnhart; four great-grandchildren; two sisters, Velma Riddick Watson of Washington, D.C., and Grace Riddick Yates of New York city; nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of other relatives, friends and spiritual children.

Those who wish may make contributions in his memory to The Leon C. Riddick Scholarship Fund, Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 3201 Tuckaseegee Road, Charlotte, NC 28208.