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Kenneth C. Piper, church leader, dies

By CRAIG BASSE, Times Obituaries Editor
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 11, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rev. Kenneth C. Piper, a former pastor of the Open Bible Tabernacle and a regional leader of the denomination, has died at 68.

Rev. Piper, who once served as a missionary to Kenya, Chile and Argentina, died Wednesday (Jan. 9, 2002) at St. Anthony's Hospital.

The cause was leukemia, his daughter, Denelle Sheridon, a missionary to Thailand, said Thursday.

Born in Ottumwa, Iowa, an area long associated with such Open Bible church leaders as Dr. Charles M. Leaming and the Rev. Trenton H. Staton, he came here in 1946 from Sterling, Ill.

From 1980 to 1990, he was senior pastor at Open Bible Tabernacle, now called Open Bible Church, 1200 30th Ave. N.

After retiring from the church, where he had been a youth and assistant pastor while serving as a longtime St. Petersburg police chaplain, he remained as superintendent of the southeast region of Open Bible Standard Churches.

Working with youth played a major role in his life and ministry. From 1954 to 1961, he was the division youth director for the southeast region of Open Bible Churches. The father of five sons, he coached Little League baseball for 20 years.

He also pitched for the church's slow pitch softball team, which won several city church league championships, said his wife, Patricia.

Since 1961, he was a national board member of the church in Des Moines, Iowa, and was on the board of Eugene Bible College in Eugene, Ore., and Florida Beacon College in Largo. He received an honorary doctorate from Florida Beacon College in 2000.

In addition to his wife of 49 years, survivors include five sons, David A. and Douglas P., both of St. Petersburg, Donald R., Tulsa, Okla., Daniel C., Summerville, S.C., and Duane K., Cumming, Ga.; a daughter, Denelle Sheridon, Kingsport, Tenn., and Bangkok, Thailand; 14 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Friends may call from 5 to 7 p.m. today at the Open Bible Church. A funeral will be there at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The Rev. Paul Sheridon, his son-in-law and a missionary to Thailand, will officiate. Burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery.

Anderson-McQueen Funeral Homes and Cremation Tribute Center-Ninth Street Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

-- Information from Times files was used in this obituary.

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