Bill Barrick, Stephen Ong, Roman Aqueduct, Israel, 2019

From Greeley to Heaven: Stephen Ong (1949–2023)

On November 28 Stephen Ross Ong graduated to heaven from Greeley, CO. Horace Greeley (for whom the Colorado city was named) had said, “Go West, young man,” and Stephen lived out that advice by leaving his Indiana birthplace for Colorado. After a life filled with service for his Savior, Stephen’s life journey has now taken him from Greeley to Heaven.

Stephen was on the debate team and marching band in his high school in Elkhart, IN. He earned his undergrad degree from Wabash College (Crawfordsville, IN), his MBA from the University of Chicago, and his MDiv from Denver Baptist Theological Seminary (Broomfield, CO). In 1978 Stephen married Teresa Swinney whom he had met at the seminary in Colorado. Both had attended my Hebrew class where Teri consistently outscored Stephen on quizzes and exams. Their friendly competition in the classroom led to marriage and a lasting partnership in ministry. For four years Stephen pastored Gilcrest Baptist Church in Gilcrest, CO, then the family moved to Greeley where he founded Reformation Baptist Church. Stephen and Teri devoted their lives to Christian education and established Colorado Heritage Education School System (CHESS) in 1991 and Chambers College in 1998. They formed a fantastic team with Stephen often joking that his dear wife was his “secre-Teri” as well as his “common-Teri.” Besides their seven children, both produced videos and books that continue to encourage Christians in obedience to Christ and His Word. See a partial listing of products from Chambers College Press at this link on Amazon. Embassy Media also features a 37-minute video of Stephen speaking on Christian leadership.

Stephen and I shared the same birthday though in different years. We first met when he became one of my students at Denver Baptist Theological Seminary nearly fifty years ago. Through the years Stephen and Teri kept us current with family and ministry news, especially in a Christmas letter containing a $2-bill to use for gospel ministry. The Lord graciously allowed Stephen and me to be on the same tour of Jordan and Israel in November–December 2019. That is when the picture at the head of this post was taken near Caesarea Maritima under a Roman aqueduct. In May 2021 we enjoyed more fellowship in Greeley when Chambers College invited me to present the commencement address. Our next meeting will be with our precious Savior in Heaven.

An obituary has been published online in The Elkhart Truth and Lighthouse Family Mortuary (Greeley, CO).

Scroll to Top