A former Teacher of the Year and beloved professor of Bible died last week, eight years after retiring from ACU.
Dr. Neil Lightfoot passed away Sept. 17, just short of his 83rd birthday.
Neil R. Lightfoot was born on Sept. 22, 1929 to ÂVelma and ÂÂÂÂÂMinnie Lee Lightfoot in Waco. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1952 and his master’s degree in philosophy in 1955, both at Baylor University. In 1958, Lightfoot earned his Ph.D. in religion from Duke University. He was the university’s Frank and Della Pack Distinguished Professor Emeritus of New Testament.
He married Ollie Robinson on April 7, 1951, who passed away in 2003 to cancer. Lightfoot married Marjorie Floyd on May 21, 2005.
His wife remembers how great a man he was.
“The Bible was so important to him,” Marjorie said. “He lived it and he loved it. He was passionate about everything he did, whether it was watching a Cowboys game, writing, or his grandchildren.”
Lightfoot joined the ACU Bible faculty in 1958 and retired in 2004. He was ACU’s Teacher of the Year in 1978, a Piper Professor nominee for 1979-1980 and a senior associate and distinguished scholar-in-residence at Cambridge University’s Westminster College in 1986.
Phil Ware, who is now a Minister of the Word at Southern Hills Church of Christ, was Lightfoot’s graduate assistant in the late ’70s.
“Dr. Lightfoot was a dear friend and mentor,” Ware said. “I loved and appreciated his commitment to studying the Bible. Many students, even those who weren’t Bible majors, remarkably respected him. His class on the Gospel of John was one of his hardest classes and it was as large as a freshmen Bible class. Each of his prayers at the beginning of his classes were all unique and meaningful. He was a sweet man who was married to two sweet women.”
Lightfoot was minister of many churches including Lakeview Church of Christ in Waco, Central Church of Christ in Winston-Salem, N.C., Vaughn Road Church of Christ in Burlington, N.C., and South 11thÂ and Willis Church of Christ in Abilene.
Lightfoot was also an accomplished author. His books include How We Got the Bible, Lessons From the Parables, Jesus Christ Today: A Commentary on the Book of Hebrews, The Role of Women: New Testament Perspectives and Everyone’s Guide to the Book of Hebrews.
Lightfoot is survived by his sister, Rita Stuessel; his wife, Marjorie; three daughters, Donna Thompson, LuAnne Bourland and Michelle McElroy; stepdaughters Marilyn Lepard and Andrea Cobb; 13 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
Memorials can be made to the South 11th and Willis Church of Christ Missions Fund, Christian Service Center and the ACU Library Fund.