July 6, 1951 – May 8, 2016
The Rev. Louis Joseph Guadagno, of Hamburg, founder and pastor emeritus of the Old Time Baptist Church in Hamburg, died Sunday in Mercy Hospital after a lengthy illness. He was 64.
Born in Lackawanna, he grew up in Orchard Park and served as a military policeman in the Army National Guard. During the 1970s and ’80s, he worked for International Cable and advanced into a management position.
At the same time, he became a student of the Bible, joined the Baptist Church and pursued ministerial training at Niagara School of the Bible. He earned a bachelor of Biblical studies degree from Grace Baptist College in Gaylord, Mich., and a bachelor’s degree in Christian arts from Freedom University in Indianapolis, Ind.
He received an honorary doctorate of Christian literature from Freedom Seminary in Indianapolis, and a doctorate of theology from Cornerstone Baptist Bible College in Beaver Dam, Wis.
Active in children’s ministry while serving at First Bible Baptist Church in Cheektowaga, in 1980 he developed an enduring interest in a bus ministry to bring children and families in need to Sunday school and worship services every week. He also was a teacher at Center Road Christian Academy.
In 1984, after he was ordained as a Baptist pastor, he began the Old Time Baptist Church with a small tent revival meeting in Blasdell. For several years, his congregation rented space to worship in Blasdell.
Rev. Guadagno sold his home in Orchard Park in 1991 to provide the down payment on a permanent building for his congregation, a former Assembly of God Church on Gowanda State Road in Hamburg, and moved his family into the parsonage next door. The church expanded and, in 2012, moved to a larger home on Camp Road, where his sons, Louis R. and Peter, are associate pastor and an assistant pastor.
In addition to continuing his bus ministry, he started a mobile mission, which provided hot meals and the Gospel to homeless and needy people several times a week in downtown Buffalo. He also hosted an annual tent revival meeting, which drew visitors from across the nation and around the world.
A big bearded man with a booming voice, he told an interviewer in 1999, “I want you to feel something when I preach. Good or mad, even boiling mad – then I’ve accomplished something.” Dozens of his sermons can be heard on YouTube or via downloads from the church’s website.
He started a private Christian school, Old Time Baptist Academy, in Hamburg, and began an institute through the church to provide training for the ministry.
Known as a “preacher to preachers,” he helped and encouraged many other ministers and provided support to missionaries and ministries worldwide. He traveled and preached in many states and several nations, including England, Germany, Austria, Guyana, Mexico and the Philippines, where he addressed a gathering of more than 7,000 people.
He also was a chaplain with the Law Enforcement Chaplains Association and was certified as a chaplain with the Erie County Sheriff’s Department.
A skilled marksman, he enjoyed hunting and sport shooting, as well as working with tractors.
In addition to his two sons, survivors include his wife of 44 years, the former Beverly Anne Lipp; two daughters, Julie Kowal and Alisa Perkowski; a brother, Joseph; a sister, Peggy Milton; 18 grandchildren and one great-grandson.
Funeral services will be held at noon Saturday in Old Time Baptist Church, 5599 Camp Road, Hamburg, following visitation beginning at 9 a.m.