Harold Ray Henniger
1924 – 2004
Harold Henniger was born May 4, 1924, in Doylestown, Ohio. At the age of 15 he was saved at the Akron Baptist Temple where Dallas F. Billington pastored and became his mentor. After his conversion he led the youth department of the church where he met his wife, Carmine Sims, who was the pianist for the group. Together they had three children: Jim, John and Joy.
After serving on a hospital ship in the US Army during World War II, he graduated from Bible Baptist Seminary of Ft. Worth, Texas. While in seminary he was an assistant to Dr. J. Frank Norris at the First Baptist Church and served as superintendent of the Junior Department, Young Peoples Class and finally taught an adult class of 500.
Henniger accepted the pastorate of Canton Baptist Tabernacle in 1947 and began a pastorate of over 40 years. When he accepted the call, the church attendance, including the 2 babies in the nursery, was 143. By the fall of 1971, the attendance was over 5200.
He received an honorary doctorate from Bob Jones University, served as president of Baptist Bible Fellowship International, led the church in building two edifices, and led a staff of eight ministers along with eight secretaries. Henniger had a vision for reaching Canton, Ohio, for Christ. Upon his arrival in Canton he began a radio broadcast with both morning and evening services broadcast “live” over a local station and later began a television ministry which aired a “live” service. He became well-known and well-liked in the city. He was one of the original inductees to the Stark County Wall of Fame housed at the McKinley Museum.
In 1966 as he lay in the hospital after experiencing a heart attack, God laid it upon his heart to organize a Christian Hall of Fame. The Hall is housed at Canton Baptist Temple and currently includes 103 original oil portraits of men and women who have influenced the history of Christianity through the centuries. In 1969 under his leadership, the church purchased a youth camp (naming it Camp CHOF after the Christian Hall of Fame) where over 1200 young people attended each summer, ending with a family Bible conference.
His pastorate spanned some 43 years and at age 65 he became pastor emeritus. After retiring he taught the Ambassadors Sunday School Class where over 250 met each Sunday morning. This class included several members who had started with him in 1947. He taught his last lesson September 5, 2004. On October 25, 2004, Harold Henniger met face to face the Lord and Savior he had so faithfully served.