Reverend Joseph “Ronald” Gschwend

Published 1:43 pm Friday, October 6, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Campobello, SC– Reverend Joseph “Ronald” Gschwend was born in Bethlehem, Orange Free State (Africa) on July 2, 1934. He was the son of the late missionaries Joseph Reinhard Gschwend and Evaline Mahon Gschwend, and the husband of the late Louise Owens Gschwend. As a young man, Ronald worked his way to America on a cargo ship alongside his close friend, Kenneth Benson, to attend Holmes Bible College in Greenville, SC in 1952. It was at Holmes Bible College where he met his beloved wife, Louise Owens. Ronald and Louise were married on February 6, 1955 and celebrated 61 years of marriage before her passing in 2016. 

After graduating from Holmes, Ronald served in the United States Navy from 1956 to 1967 as a helicopter mechanic, while Louise worked faithfully as a teacher in public education for 13 years. In preparation for the time God would lead them to the mission field, Ronald became an ordained minister in the Redemption Ministries Conference of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC), and served as a pastor in Norfolk, Virgina.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In 1971, both Ronald and Louise became IPHC ordained missionaries. They faithfully served on the mission field from January 1972 to December 1996 to help spread the word of God to the remote regions of Africa. Their teachings were not just words; they were messages of love, hope, and salvation. Ronald oversaw many tent campaigns and revivals, often lasting for three weeks at a time and resulting in a church plant, as well as the construction of approximately 15 churches. Other forms of ministry included leading Christian education conferences, hosting retreats for pastors and their families, distributing books & literature, establishing a headquarters for the churches planted, and supplying resources to needy families. Their legacy will continue to live on in the hearts of the countless individuals whose lives were touched by their selfless service.

Ronald was more than just a missionary; he was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, and a confidant to many. His warm smile and compassionate demeanor made him approachable by all. As we mourn the loss of this remarkable man, we also celebrate a life that touched so many who had the privilege of knowing him. His unwavering faith and deep commitment to God’s work shone brightly through every action and word.

Ronald is survived by a son, Phillip Joseph Gschwend and his wife, Freda Sheehan Gschwend; a daughter, Margaret Gschwend Gilmore and her husband, Aaron Gilmore; four grandchildren, Phillip “Joseph” Gschwend, jr., Adrian Gschwend Hammond, Khristina Kitchen (Kenny), and Gloria Gilmore Matthews (Noah); and 13 great grandchildren, Kayla, Kendra, Khloe, Kelton, Kaiden, Kaitlynn, Kamron, Kinsley & Kooper Kitchen, Isabelle, Anya & Alphonse Matthews, and Noah Joseph Hammond. He is survived by his brother Edgar Gschwend (Betsie), and predeceased by one brother, Manesseh Gschwend (Pricilla), and two sisters, Eldad Gschwend Bosch & Dorothy Gschwend Spykerman (Harry).

A celebration of Rev. Joseph “Ronald” Gschwend’s life will take place on Sunday, October 8 at McFarland’s Funeral Chapel in Tryon, NC at 3:00 pm. 

The family will receive friends prior to the service from 2-3 pm. 

The graveside burial, with Military Honors, will be at Polk Memorial Gardens immediately following the service. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to IPHC: World Missions Ministries—Phillip Gschwend’s Support Account #90377S), to continue the missionary work Ronald was so passionate about.

An online guest register is available at


McFarland Funeral Chapel & Crematory

Tryon, North Carolina