Dr. Michael Ray Estep
Born: 02/26/1949
Died: 11/27/2022
Location: Charleston, WV

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Dr. Michael Ray Estep

Dr. Michael Ray Estep, 73, of Charleston, West Virginia, passed away on November 27th, 2022.

Michael was born in Ashland, Kentucky on February 26, 1949, though his birth was not recorded officially until March 7. His parents were Harkless Raymond Estep and Zetta Lucille Goldie (maiden) Estep.

“Mike,” as he was known by family and friends, grew up in a Christian home under the influence of a praying mother. Saved early in his life, a call to ministry came as a teenager. He started preaching at the age of 15 and pastored his first church at 18. He held an Associate of Arts from the University of Kentucky at Ashland [’69] and a Bachelor of Arts from Trevecca Nazarene University [’71]. Mount Vernon Nazarene University bestowed an Honoree Doctor of Ministry degree upon Michael in 1994.

After pastoring several churches, he led an international youth in-mission program for four years. He served at two universities in public relations and development and authored four books on church planting and missions. He was the Editor-in-Chief for Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City for seven years and was the editor and/or publisher of seven magazines.

He trained leaders and spoke in over 80 countries during his lifetime. He led a decade-long urban church mission project which focused on thirteen world-class cities around the world. Mike was a master of developing and finding funding sources for numerous not-for-profit organizations around the world, raising multiple millions of dollars for ministry, relief, and educational needs throughout his lifetime.

Mike’s creative imagination knew no bounds, and his entrepreneurial spirit resulted in the creation of several successful companies. He partnered with Steve Pennington to create The ProKids Show and ProKids Productions, Inc. – a leading producer of quality children’s programming since the mid-80s. In the ’90s, he helped create Animax Designs, a puppet, creature, and animatronics company producing characters for companies like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Opryland USA.

Known for his innovative approaches to communications, Mike established the first denominational network on DishTV with a reach of 15 million homes. He was an award-winning video producer, and as a certified meeting planner, he organized and managed events for as many as 50,000 people. In recent years, he developed and/or partnered with companies and non-profit organizations such as Pacific Grove, HCWC, Tamarack Foundation for the Arts, WV Greenworks, Fla.vor Alliance Records, Edu-Care International, Developing Potential, and Vincent Creative Group.

Never one to consider retiring, Mike’s last 17 years were spent serving educational and community needs. Mike came alongside pastor Rev. Dr. Les Mullings and the Far Rockaway Community Church of the Nazarene in 2012 to lead “Project Sandy,” a ministry, relief, and restoration project after Super Storm Sandy. Over 75,000 hot meals and thousands of clothing, cleaning, and household items were distributed in coordination with the New York Governor, FEMA, and countless state and local charitable organizations.

He also worked tirelessly with Rev. Mullings to provide better school choices for families in Far Rockaway, New York including Allied Health High School which opened in 2008 (now Medical Technologies High School), and Challenge Preparatory Charter School which opened in 2010. The latter currently serves 1100 scholars and their families across four school sites, including Challenge Charter High School, a Career & Technical Education (CTE) and Early College school, which will honor its first class of graduating seniors in June 2024.

Over his varied and vast career, Mike traveled the globe and made a home in multiple cities, and he considered his ultimate passing as a journey “on the road again.” In high school, he played the tuba, and as a young adult, he took up golf and bowling. He loved country music (especially Bluegrass, Reba, and Willie), going to Broadway shows, the Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves baseball, UK Wildcats basketball, and WVU Mountaineers football.

Known for playing many a prank throughout his years of ministry, he kept his sense of humor to the end. When putting his name down for a reservation at a restaurant, he would often tell the host his name was “Good Lookin’.”

Over the years, he made the way for many special memories with his family, and his bond with his granddaughter, Emma Marie, who lovingly called him “PBear,” was unmatched.

Mike was a giver. His family, friends, and many a stranger were blessed by his generosity which was the hallmark of his life.

He is preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Emanuel F. Estep, Harkless R. Estep, Jr., and David E. Estep. He is survived by his wife Ginger Estep, daughter Kimberly (George) Messer, granddaughter Emma Messer, brother Morton (Carolyn) Estep, and sister Kathy (Steve) Givens along with many loved nieces and nephews and their children.

A small family memorial service, hosted by Steve Pennington, will take place on Wednesday, December 28th in Wurtland, KY.

A public celebration of life service will take place on Thursday, January 19th at 7:00 p.m. at Far Rockaway Community Church of the Nazarene at 1414 Central Avenue, Far Rockaway, NY 11691 with the Rev. Dr. Les Mullings officiating.

Memorial donations should be directed to “Special Fund: Dr. Michael Estep Memorial Scholarship” and sent to Challenge Preparatory Charter School, 710 Hartman Lane, Far Rockaway, NY 11691.

Thank you to Snodgrass Funeral Home of South Charleston, WV, the McConnell House, the Challenge Charter School community, and Far Rockaway Community Church of the Nazarene.

Memories of Mike may be shared by visiting www.Snodgrassfuneral.com and selecting the obituary. Arrangements are in care of Snodgrass Funeral Home.


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No Visitation

Memorial Service

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Celebration of Life Service

Thursday, January 19, 2023
7:00 PM
Far Rockaway Community Church of the Nazarene
Far Rockaway Community Church of the Nazarene
1414 Central Avenue Far Rockaway, NY  11691