Rev. Dr. John D. Wilton

  • Born: October 25, 1925
  • Died: February 21, 2015
  • Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina

The J. F. Floyd Mortuary

235 North Church Street
Spartanburg, SC 29306

Tel. (864) 582-5451

Tribute & Message From The Family

Rev. Dr. John Dennis Wilton, beloved husband of Rhodabelle MacDonald Wilton, was carried by God's Angels into the presence of His Savior and Lord on February 21st at 3:25 PM.

John is not only survived by his wife of 65 years, but also his three sons, Dr. Rod Wilton, Dr. Don Wilton, and Dr. Murray Wilton, his three daughters' in law, Irene, Karyn, and Rachel, his nine grandchildren and his 18 great-grandchildren. Born in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, John spent his early years as an avid and accomplished sportsman playing cricket, tennis, fishing in the Indian Ocean, and racing motor cycles. His 65-year marriage to his beloved "Nunu" can only be described as a perpetual love-affair. At age 32, John came to accept Christ as Savior and Lord and from that moment he lived out "I am crucified with Christ – nevertheless I live – yet not I, but Christ lives in me!" He and his beloved wife responded in full obedience to God's Word across the world. God's call led them to five wonderful Baptist churches in South Africa, followed by 32 years of powerful preaching and teaching across the United States. The last 15 years have seen his giftedness powerfully expressed through "Pastor John's" Sunday School class at First Baptist Spartanburg. His spiritual leadership has been openly sought out and has been seen in his election to serve as the President of South African Baptist Convention and in other capacities over the years.

John Wilton's spiritual legacy bears "fruit that remains." All three of his sons serve the Lord Jesus Christ with their wives in open obedience to God's commands. His grandchildren serve the Lord across the world and his great grands stand ready to receive the same legacy of faithfulness. To quote John Wilton: "The greatest tragedy in the world is for any person to die without Christ." We thank the Lord Jesus for you Dad! Your boys will take care of Mama!

A Celebration of Life will be held in the Sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, 250 E. Main Street, Spartanburg, SC 29306 on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 12 noon. This will be led by the Rev. Sal Barone and the Rev. Steve Skinner and co-directed by John Wilton's three sons.

In lieu of flowers, the family request that memorials may be made to The Encouraging Word, whose purpose is "To Share God's Truth in our Searching World," c/o First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, 250 E. Main Street, Spartanburg, SC 29306.

Floyd's North Church Street Chapel


Condolence & Memory Journal

Dear and precious Rhodabelle

This is your old friend and brother. Ed Lacy. I am actually writing from North Alabama tonight. Even as I was preparing for tomorrow morning's message, I was reminded of one of Brother John;s many jewels of truth that he placed in my mind and heart. And this particular one is in my notes to quote tomorrow morning. Bro, John said to me, "Ed, the best preaching that you will ever do is to "preach the Gospel to yourself." This was one of the most profound and practical nuggets that he placed in my life. He was exactly right. I need to preach the Gospel to myself on every day. I need to meditate on the Cross; I need to be captivated by the cross; and I need to be motivated by the love of God in Christ Jesus at the cross!

Tomorrow morning, I will begin a 12 session study on "Living a life in which the Gospel is your driving force". And one of the key truths in my introduction will be a powerful truth that Bro.John placed in my life and ministry. I will be passing on this valuable truth that "every child of God needs to be daily meditating on the Gospel; captivated by the Gospel; and motivated by the Gospel, as the compelling force of our lives"! Bro, John was a major mentor in my life, for many and many years. What a man! What a disciple! What a preacher! What a husband, father and grandfather!!!! He was my standard that God continually held before me!

I know that He is now "beholding the glory of the Lord", face to face. The Father has answered the Son''s prayer concerning our dear John. For John is with Jesus, beholding the glory that God gave Him from before the foundation of the world. And it won't be long, until we will ponder on the majesty of the glory of the Lord and the Lamb!!!!!! Persevere to the finish line dear Rhodabelle

Posted by Ed Lacy Ministries - Mobile, AL - Friend   February 20, 2016

Just now seeing this. I'm so sorry. Bro. John preached several different revivals in the churches my husband pastored, and he always stayed in our home. Our children were young at the time, and we loved him!!! He loved us right back!!! When he was in our area, he always came to visit us! He would come and have a meal, watch a movie, relax with the kids! Such a blessing! He enriched our lives in so many ways, such a Godly man, such a powerful preacher/teacher!!! My husband has gone to be with Lord, too, but the kids and I still talk about Bro. John!!!! Prayers for you all!!!

Posted by Bernice Archie - Petsl, MS - Friend   January 07, 2016

We feel so privileged to sit under the teaching of John Wilton. We learned so much that increased our faith and knowledge of the scriptures. I can only describe both John and Rotabelle as the most loving people I've known. They set an example for all of us to reach.

Posted by Linda and Gary Wallace - Newberry, SC   March 02, 2015

To all the Wilton family, I'm so sorry to here of the passing of your dad . We can rejoice in knowing that right now Bro John is singing and praising with his Lord And Savior Jesus Christ and all the angels.
We will pray that God will pour out his hand of mercy at this difficult time. We really had some special times together at that little Baptist Church in White Castle Louisiana. We love y"all, Cecil & Kaye Rushing

Posted by Cecil And Kaye Rushing - Watson Louisiana, LA - Friend   February 27, 2015


The Wilton family,
We were so sorry to hear of the passing of this great Christian man.
We have been blessed to know him and his family through the years in our
relationship with two of the sons, Murray and Don, and their ministries at
Huntsville, AL Southside Baptist and FBC Spartanburg, SC. We thank the Lord
for the experience of knowing and hearing the Word of God through John and
his sons. May God bless you all ,The Ellis Family

Posted by Don and Sonia Ellis - Huntsville, AL - Friends of the family   February 26, 2015

To all of the John Wilton family, Ronnie and I mourn with you the loss of your beloved Rev. Dr. John Wilton. Although it's been a while since we've seen all of you our hearts are non the less heavy! Please know that are thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time. May God continue to bless and keep you!! All our love, Ronnie and Georgie Simmers

Posted by Georgie Simmers - Port Allen - Old friends   February 26, 2015

We share with you in mourning the passing of one greatly loved by us and many others in the Huntsville, AL area. We first met Brother John and Rhodabelle during one of their many visits to Huntsville many years ago, and grew to know and love them more over the years. We were always glad to have an opportunity to hear Him preach and teach God's Word.

We pray God's comfort and strength with all John's family and friends during this time. God is called the "God of all comfort" (2 Corinthians 1:3-5), and His comfort is abundant and powerful.

He initiates the sending of it because He loves us so much. It comes to us in many forms and by many routes (even, and sometimes especially, through unbelievers).

It is so abundant that it cannot be contained. It has no boundaries, and overflows into the lives of others. May this comfort be yours and may it come to others through you.

Posted by John & Grace Ann Butler    February 25, 2015


Words could not express and eternity will only judge the impact that John has had on me, my family and ministry. He became a friend and mentor in my life at a time that God has used to direct my entire ministry to do God's work, God's way.

His way of speaking the truth with the love of a father taught me much even now of how to be a true pastor. Watching even how he would converse with my own sons when they were young teenagers, demonstrated so much how God had gifted him to speak and stand for Christ in any venue that the Lord led him to be in.

I will miss knowing that he was continually praying for me but rejoice that even now he is where he has longed to be for many years. He was truly a great soldier for Christ.

Laurie and I will continue to pray for you and the rest of your family as such a dear man has gone home to glory.

Our hearts and prayers are with you.

Tom & Laurie Gibson

Posted by Tom & Laurie Gibson - Mobile, AL   February 25, 2015

Extending our love and prayers to the Wilton family during this difficult time. So sorry for your loss.

Posted by Franklin & Melba Martin - Union Grove, AL - Friends of Murray and Rachel   February 25, 2015

Bro. Wilton will be remembered as one of fine character, full of Gods love. His legacy will be seen in his children and grandchildren. I know he will be greatly missed by those closest to him but they will also have confidence of being with him for all eternity with Christ. To lose a parent feels like part of your own life is gone, but knowing its only temporary ease that burden. Bro. and Sister in Christ. David and Mary Cobb

Posted by Mary Cobb - Meridianville, AL - Friend of son   February 25, 2015

Dear Don & Karyn,

I did not know your dad personally, but know the evidence of his love and character through the two of you and from my dad, John Vernon. It is a JOY to know with certainty that Dr. John Wilton is with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ today.

I know your dad will be greatly missed, and our prayers are with you and your family.

Much love,
Ranie Good

Posted by Ranie Good - Wilmington, DE - Friend of the Wilton Family   February 25, 2015

What a fine man of God I was privileged to hear this fine man of God speak several times. May God's blessings be with you Dr. Wilton and your family during these trying times.

Posted by Bill Cloninger - Simpsonville, SC   February 24, 2015


Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Posted by Ronnie and Amelia Wall and Family - Anderson Mill Road Baptist   February 24, 2015


Dear Wilton Family

My thoughts and prayers are with the whole family. Your father and grandfather was an inspirtion to all that heard him.

Sincerely yours in Christ
Kathy Lollis
153 Spartanburg RD.
Wellford,S.C. 29385

Posted by Kathy Lollis - Wellford, SC   February 24, 2015

Dr. Don Wilton and family I remember your Dad when I worked at The Cove Gate house in Asheville. He stopped in and talked with me and how blessed I was to spend some time with him. I am so glad that our paths crossed in life even though it was just briefly. He was and is a godly man. I am looking forward to seeing your Dad again in the soon coming events of The Lord's return. Please be assured I will pray for you and your family; but especially your Mom during these difficult times. May you sense The Lord's presence as you continue your walk with him.

Posted by Tim Gibson - Parrottsville, TN   February 24, 2015


I did not know John, but knowing Murray gives me a good account of the woks of John Wilton. We affect everyone eventually by our actions now. Knowing Murray tells me that he was loved, discaplined, and taught by a strong father. I know he will be missed, but only for a short time because we will all be together in a much better place soon, whether a short or long time is the Lord's to choose. May we use the time we have to show God's love in how we can bless each other and serve the Lord as best we can.
I haven't met John Wilton, but look forware to being introduced to him one day!

Posted by Charles Hagen - Huntsville, AL - friend of Murray Wilton   February 24, 2015

What a joy to have prayed many times with my friend John Wilton. He was such an encourager to me. I loved him deeply. May The Lord Jesus blanket the Wilton family with His great love and peace.

Posted by Dave Walton - Spartanburg   February 24, 2015

Wilton Family:
Though I never had the honor or privelege of meeting Dr. John I was privileged to hear one of his sermons at FBS and it was wonderfful. I believe heaven has definitely gained an angel! You're truly in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by A friend   February 24, 2015

We only had the opportunity to hear John preach once at the Fellowship in Huntsville. The thing that stands out about that memory is John's love of the Word! Excellent preaching. One more thing though that touched me deeply that I remember, was the look of love and admiration from Murray to his father and the look of Love and respect from Father to son. The eyes tell it all, and there was abounding love. God blessed them and through them, God blessed us.

Posted by Kim and Ralph Mitchel - gaithersburg, MD - friends of Murray   February 24, 2015

A very good friend & mentor was called to be with the Lord Saturday.
Greatly going to miss John. LOVED him & his sweet wife Rhodabelle. Prayers lifted up for our sister in Christ & her dear family.
It's a bittersweet time. Jesus was the absolute center of his life and all he wanted to talk about. His love for Christ was contagious. A man who was honest about himself and always wished he could have done more for Him. That love flowed from Christ to those who knew him, starting with his wife Rhodabelle whom he loved dearly, to his family and thankfully his friends. We will miss him greatly. But we also know he is in the presence of the One he loved more than anything in life. To talk with him, one could sense the longing to be with the One he loved, His Lord and savior Jesus Christ. God granted him the most cherished inheritance any man of Christ could ever want; children and grandchildren who are all in the ministry of Christ. Great grandchildren being raised under that same umbrella. What a blessing. May that inheritance contiune in the Wilton family till the return of Christ. One could only hope that God would bless us in the same way. We cannot imagine the joy that is on John's face now. Sad for us but really. . . WOW, He is with the One he has so longed to see. The One who loved him enough to intervene in his life when he was the chief of sinners; as he would say.

Posted by Darryl & Jane Everette - Spartanburg, SC   February 24, 2015

Mrs. Wilton has been a long time client of ours for many years. We were always struck by how strong the connection was between her and Mr. Wilton. They've spent a lifetime together and he was always kind. I remember watching him help her to the car and hold the door open for her. Just the way he'd look at her, like she was the stars and the moon. The entire family is a fantastic group and he was a kind man. We feel deeply for this family's loss but know that he is somewhere better, and somewhere he's only dreamed of. Our hearts are with the Wiltons and we hope that God can see them through this time.

Posted by Carolina/Maria Gonzalez - Spartanburg, SC   February 24, 2015

I only heard you speak once on WSPA in the absence of your son Dr. Wilton at FBC! The Encouraging Word. What a blessing. Praying for your sweet family during this time of grief. God continue to bless all of you.

Posted by Peg Howell - Burnsville, NC   February 24, 2015

I cannot put into words,the tremendous impact that his teaching and his life has had on my life, and so many others.I have always considered Brother John to be my "spiritual father and mentor", in the faith. The Lord Jesus poured His truth and His life into His disciples. And that is exactly what John has done in my life, through 30 years of friendship. He loved to teach about "imputed righteousness"! And now, He is experiencing and enjoying "perfected righteousness:" I am deeply grateful for the tremendous impact that he and Rhodabelle has had on our lives!

Posted by Ed and Dianne Lacy - Mobile, AL - Brother in Christ Jesus   February 24, 2015


Posted by Dr. Joe Nesom - JACKSON,, LA - BROTHER IN CHRIST   February 24, 2015

Brother John and Rhotobelle were always such a blessing when visiting Huntsville. I loved to hear his heartfelt teaching and his visits will be missed. His legacy lives on through his amazing sons and their respective ministries. We love Murray and his wonderful teaching - we are so thankful for his introducing us to The Holy Spirit in our lives. I will always think of "mama's biscuits" when I remember the Wilton Family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Murray, Rachel and his family at this time. Please know we are with you in mind and heart even though it is not possible to be there in person.

Posted by Greg and Brenda Perkins - Huntsville, AL - Friend of Murray in Huntsville A   February 24, 2015

In high school I would skip sunday school at the hangar to come and hear Pastor John teach. Never before had I heard an older man preach faith and repentance like John did. The way that he exposited the text and drew conviction to those listening will forever stick with me. As I pondered his death, I thought that there is no privilege harder but more rewarding than a minister of the gospel. What a beautiful thing that the Gospel that he preached has now come to fruition as he is present with Christ and absent from sin! I conclude with the beautiful words from the hymn, "Jesus, I my Cross have Taken"

Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heavens eternal days before thee,
Gods own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission,
Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

Faith is sight and prayer is praise for John. Amen!

Posted by Ryan Vangsnes - Athens, GA - Friend   February 24, 2015

I felt that I was just an arm's length away from touching Jesus when I was holding John's left hand in that hospital bed 2 weeks ago. I could sense that my Lord was holding John's right hand. He was so close to his Lord that he was absolutely certain that he would spend eternity just where he longed to be, with Jesus.

I miss you already, my friend. But not for too long. I'm sure that we will meet at Jesus' feet soon. All believers that morn your passing know that death is just a door that we walk through to be with Jesus. You just walked through it before we did. You always did lead the way .... all the way to Jesus.

Posted by Jim Gardner - Spartanburg, SC - Friend   February 24, 2015

Pete and I send our love and prayers to your family! We pray for the Holy Spirit to bring you great comfort at this time of loss. What a powerful Christian gentleman he was! In His Love, Pete and Jean Aylor

Posted by Pete and Jean Aylor - Spartanburg, SC - Church members   February 24, 2015


Murray and Rachel,
My prayers are with you during this time. The legacy of Rev. John Wilton is amazing! Wish I could be with you during this time.

Posted by Lady Di - Meadville, PA - Friend   February 24, 2015


Wilton Family: We know that your hearts are heavy but your patriarch is rejoicing in heaven tonight and forever. We will pray for your family as you travel this terrible road but remember that this life is only a vapor. We will rejoice in heaven forever some sooner than others; we will continue to pray for your families as we move forward.


Steve & Carolyn Parris

Posted by Steve & Carolyn Parris - Spartanburg, SC - Christian Brother & Sister   February 24, 2015

Our Prayers are with each one of you.
He was a good man. Well Served Rev. John Wilton.
The Skalicky Family

Posted by Janice & Mark Skalicky - Greenville, SC   February 24, 2015

To the Wilton family, All of you are in my prayers as God comforts you in the days ahead.

Posted by Denna Dunning - Inman, SC - none   February 24, 2015


What a loving and great man. He loved the Lord and His family beyond measure.
Loved our discussions on the book of Revelations in particular the varying views on the Rapture.
May our Lord bless and comfort the family in the hour of their great loss.

Posted by Bill Tillman - Huntsville, AL - Friend of son Murray   February 23, 2015


What a great joy it has been to have John in my life as a friend and brother in Christ. He is a remarkable man in many ways and it has always been a delight to hear him preach and teach. Speaking for all the members of his son's, Dr. Murray Wilton's, Thursday morning Bible study in Huntsville, AL, there was always much excitement and expectation when we heard that Dr. John Wilton would be visiting us and had agreed to teach. It is easy to see why the Holy Spirit says in Psalm 116:15, "Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones." God is excited about having brother John in Heaven with Him after many years of waiting patiently for John to complete all the tasks God had called him to do here on earth. We will miss you John but I look forward to seeing you again soon and spending all eternity with you as we joyfully praise our Lord and Savior.

Posted by Dr. Robert P. Baker, Th.D. - Huntsville, AL - Friend and brother in Christ   February 23, 2015

Dr.John will be missed by family and friends. Dr.John and Rodabelle went on many trips that I went on. Bible Study,Canada and The Cove. It was a joy to know how kind,loving as they joined in as we traveled. Dr John giving the Devotion each morning as we traveled. Our trips were special becuse of two wonderful people. Prayers for his family at the time of saying their goodbys.

Posted by Blanch Corbin - Spartanburg, SC   February 23, 2015

What a godly man! I loved to hear Rev. Wilton peach God's Word... such wisdom. Our lives were truly blessed by having known John. He was one of God's best chosen servants!

Posted by Sharon Duncan - Spartanburg, SC - acquaintance   February 23, 2015

I was always blessed by Rev. John's messages as he preached. His messages were so clear to understand and left lasting impressions in my heart. I will definitely miss him so much. I am thankful that he and his sweet wife were able to move here to be close to his son in Spartanburg. I thank the Lord for his life and pray for the family he left behind.

Posted by Deborah Irvin - Moore, SC - Church Member   February 23, 2015

PRAYERS for you all. We love you so much Ms Rhodabelle :)

Posted by Tina & Chandler Lancaster - Spartanburg, SC   February 23, 2015


I have heard Dr. John Wilton deliver God's message for the hour on TV several times, and was truly blessed. He can now say with the Psalmist,
The Lord is now my Shepherd, and I will never want for anything.
May God's richest blessings be with his loving wife, and family, and may you all continue serving the Lord, because it cannot be too much longer until
everyone will be joining Dr. John Wilton with Jesus.

Posted by Ruby Fowler - SC   February 23, 2015



Being a sinful human being, I am selfish enough to want to be ABLE to bring you back as JESUS did for Lazarus.

Knowing that we know, that we know , that we know, where you now reside we are comforted by the many years you taught us from God's word.

On Saturday afternoon, as B.K. & I were driving back from Baton Rouge, after attending my sister-in-laws funeral, I asked my wonderful wife to pray for you.

The "Holy Spirit told me you had gone to be with Jesus". I looked at my watch as we were speeding down the Interstate towards home. (It was 3:30 pm Saturday 2/21/15.)

God Bless you my "Special Friend"

I will dearly miss you.


We have always enjoyed hearing Dr.John proclaim the Word of the Lord when he filled in for Dr.Don.You are all in our prayers.Take comfort for Dr. John is now home with Jesus, his work here finished. "Grace Led Him Home". You will all see him soon. Love to you all.May the Lord richly bless you and comfort you.

Posted by Sammy and Vera Crowe - Gaffney, SC   February 23, 2015

Dear Mrs. Wilton and Family, Our deepest sympathy to you.
Although we never got to meet you, we experienced the love
of Christ that is eminent in the Wilton Family through Murray
and his love for all of us. Sincerely the James Bruening Family
Mama K, Gretchen (Richard) , Jayne (Al) Rick (Anne),Mike(Marykay)

Posted by karen bruening - new castle, PA - rachels step mother   February 23, 2015







Posted by sam taylor - spartanburg, SC - friend   February 23, 2015


I have so many Precious Memories that I will always cherish , being greeted by Dr. John every Sunday in Sunday School, knowing that he had Prayed for each of us and our Families during the week., always teaching the truth from God's Holy
Word, changing lives with God's message , the preciousness of sweet Rhodabelle when she would walk to the front take her Husband's arm and Pray for him, and our class.Sometimes singing to him, looking up into his eyes and saying Dear Johnny. Such sweet Love can only be from God. Oh how he will be missed, but I have the assurance that Dr John walks with my Heavenly Father today, and that I am a better kinder Christian serving God because of learned Lessons from this Dear Man Dr. John and the Wilton Family. I Love you Ms Rhodabelle.

Posted by Lana Merrill - Spartanburg, SC   February 23, 2015

Dear family, We are so sorry for your loss but so thankful for the wonderful legacy Dr. Wilton has left behind . We enjoyed hearing him preach on occasion when Dr. Don was away. I know that he is rejoicing with Jesus! Praying for you all during this difficult time and in the days ahead. We have hope because of Jesus & we'll meet again in Heaven. May you feel the peace and comfort that only Jesus can give. John 3:16 Julie & Michael Folk

Posted by Julie Folk - Inman, SC - Church member   February 23, 2015

Celebrating a life well lived in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing that God's grace will sustain you in this time of loss.

Posted by Jay & Paula Nichols - Spartanburg, SC   February 23, 2015

What a great blessing it has been knowing such a choice servant of the Lord. His loving smile and that kind voice will be missed but to be in the presence of our Lord and Savior will be great and he leaves such a legacy for all who knew him. May God be very near and dear to all of his family especially at this time.

Posted by Jim and Elaine Mann - Spartanburg, S. C.   February 23, 2015


I remember watching him preach at Dr. wiltons church, he was a Godly Man, and his sons are too. They were Blessed to have him in there lives as well as he was to have his boys.... Great people. Sorry for the family's loss but you all will meet again soon!

Posted by Donna Wilson - Chesnee, SC   February 23, 2015


What a wonderful 13 years of bible study taught by Dr. John we have been so blessed to be apart of. We could feel the compassion and urgency he felt for the lost as well as the need for spiritual growth for the Christians he taught each Sunday. Although it wasn't his goal to win the love and admiration of man it was just the natural thing to do for those of us grew to love and respect him so much. He will be missed and we will honor his memory by remembering and applying the bible truths he instilled in us. Prayers are being lifted for Rhodabelle and the entire family.

Posted by Brenda Seay - Spartanburg, SC   February 23, 2015

I will miss Pastor John but I know you are talking with the lord now.

Posted by Tammy hendricks - Gaffney, SC   February 23, 2015

We will all miss your teaching and loving personality as we serve the Lord at First Baptist. However, we rejoice in your being with the Lord and the legacy you have left with all who knew you. We love all of your family: your sons, daughters in-law, grandchildren and precious Mrs. Rhodabelle. It has been a joy to have known all of you.

Posted by Chester and Carolyn Lawson - Buffalo, SC - brother and sister in Christ   February 22, 2015

Mrs Rhodabelle We have been truly blessed to have know Dr John & you the past few years.It has been a privilege to sit under Dr Johns indepth teachings of God's Word.He will be greatly missed.We have been praying for you & the family the past few weeks and will continue to lift you'll up. His eye is on the sparrow And I know He watches you!
Love in Christ Mary & Marshall

Posted by Marshall & Mary O'Shields - Buffalo, SC - Friend   February 22, 2015