Roland Jack Follis, Ed. D.
After a nine-year battle with dementia, Dr. Roland Jack Follis passed away April 23, 2021, in Rush Hospital with family by his side.
In 1936, Roland Jack Follis was born to Rosemary and J T Follis in Texas. He was the second of their five children, and their oldest son. In tenth grade, he had to leave school to work but quickly returned to graduate from San Jacinto High School in 1955. While attending Sam Houston State University, he was a member of the ROTC and in the Caballeros Fraternity (later known as the Sigma Chi). He graduated in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Jack joined the U.S. Army near the end of the Korean War, eventually becoming a 1st Lieutenant stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. He attended a Baptist church there and was baptized in September 1962. Although he had planned to have a long military career, Jack chose not to reenlist after his two years of active duty. Instead, he followed God’s call to ministry and moved to Fort Worth to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. After his first year, he realized an opportunity to leave the state for the first time and transferred to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. While studying there, he met his wife, Sylvia; got married; and had two sons, Randy and Wade. Their daughter Amée was born several years later in Mississippi.
Jack pastored Lake Shore Baptist Church in Lake Shore, MS, for three years, beginning in 1965. He earned dual master’s degrees in religious education and theology in 1967, and a doctoral degree in education in 1971. While working on his doctorate, Jack organized the training program in pastoral care at Orleans Parish Prison. Upon completing his degree, Jack was hired as Chaplain of East Mississippi State Hospital where he organized the Department of Pastoral Care to train ordained ministers to counsel people in crisis. After moving to Meridian, he became the softball coach at the First Baptist Church for several years.
In 1993, Jack retired from the hospital and took a position at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, MS, to organize and oversee their pastoral care training. He received a divinity fellowship in 1996 at Harvard University in Boston, MA. He officially retired in 2003 to spend time with his family, support Sylvia’s hobbies, enjoy his personal library, and write about his life in ministry.
His book God’s Presence for the Long Haul was published in 2016. Jack’s dementia interrupted his work on several other manuscripts, but his family plans to edit and publish some of them in the coming years.
Jack was a well-respected member of each community he served. He enjoyed teaching students the methods and art of Clinical Pastoral Care. He found joy in his family, Braves baseball, Western books, Western and action movies, and classical music.
He is survived by his wife, Sylvia; two sons, Randy (Melissa) Follis and Wade Follis; and daughter, Amée (Adam) Wayton; three grandchildren, Archer, Erick, and Clara; a brother, James (Marty) Follis; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Rosemary and J T Follis; and three sisters, Barbara Miller, Delma Howell, and Charlotte Gardner.
A funeral service will be held Wednesday, April 28 at First Baptist Church of Meridian at 10:30 a.m., with visitation at 9:30 a.m. The graveside service will immediately follow at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery, in Newton, MS.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Jack’s name to First Baptist Church of Meridian (www.fbcmeridian.org/), Disabled American Veterans (www.dav.org), or Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org).
Friends may view the online register and sign the guestbook at www.jamesfwebb.com/obituary/DrRoland-Follis.