Leo Baxter Plyler


We ask that you remember the family of Leo Baxter Plyler, 88, of Sumiton. He passed away Sunday, May 22, 2022, at his residence. He was a minister of the gospel for over 70 years.

Mr. Plyler was born Nov. 13, 1933, to Asa Monroe and Cleta Mae (Key) Plyler. He was the seventh child of nine.

He grew up in the Hay Valley area in Parrish, in Walker County, on the farm where he learned to raise cattle and grow hay. Alongside his dad, he also would travel every Sunday to different congregations, listening to the gospel being preached by his dad. When he became a teen, he would lead the singing while his dad spoke, which seemed natural from a singing family. When he was 16 he began preaching also, as did his brother. They would alternate preaching and leading singing as they traveled about rural Walker, Cullman, Winston, Lamar, and Fayette counties.

He traveled to Montgomery to attend Alabama Christian College, where he received his degree in English and Bible. He received his master's degree at AUM. There he preached at Strata Church of Christ until he married. (His dad had preached at the Dilworth church where he met a young lady he wanted him to meet, whom he later married). He and his wife Juanell (Watson) moved to the Hanceville church. While there, he taught school and was a principal in the Cullman County school system. From there they moved to London, Kentucky, where he preached on the radio and traveled to different congregations and also taught school in a one-room school house in the rural mountains. After a few years, he moved on to Cincinnati, Ohio, to the Blue Ash church. He left there to help start a new work in Pisgah, Ohio. 

After seven years in Ohio, he decided he needed to bring the family back home, to Alabama. The family, having four children by then, he moved them to Hamilton, Alabama, where he helped another small work. While in the area he continued preaching the gospel on the radio from Winfield and helped begin a new work in the Brilliant area. For some time, the family would attend two separate congregations on Sunday helping both groups. In 1970, the family moved to the Birmingham area and he worked with the Westwood congregation. After some time there, he was asked to come to preach for the church at Pleasant Grove. (His grandson Landon, preaches there now). A new work in the Minor community asked for his help, by then all the children had married or left home. From Minor, he was asked to go back to Hay Valley to help his son with the work at Valley View church. He preached his last sermon there on April 24, 2022.

During all the years of his preaching God's word in different locations, he worked in teaching children’s training classes, singing classes and instructing song leaders. He traveled many times to other locations for gospel meetings and singing schools from Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, West Virginia, Mississippi, Minnesota and South Carolina. In 1978, he made a trip with Hiram Hutto to the Philippines. His love for singing is being seen through his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who love to sing praises to God. From the time he started radio preaching in Kentucky to the present day he has used this radio method to spread God's word. The “Back to the Bible” radio program is still going on with his grandson, Larsen, speaking every Sunday morning. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the “Back to the Bible” radio broadcast.

From his first full-time work to his last day, he enjoyed being outside working with his tractors and raising his cattle. Many sermons were cultivated that way. Even doing outside work, which he was determined to teach his children. He loved singing the musical scales while spending time with the children.

Memorial services were held on July 30, 2022.

The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the staff of Comfort Care Home Health and Hospice. Also, the many friends and brethren across the U.S. for sending their love and prayers.

He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 63 years, Ellen Juanell (Watson) Plyler; parents, Asa Monroe & Cleta Mae (Key) Plyler; siblings, Selena Haynes, Sylvia Manasco, Janie Thomas, Amelita Portzer and Brodie Plyler; and daughter in law, Angela Cottles Plyler.

Survivors include four children, Joycelyn (Larry), Lejuana, (Rod), Lonell (Martha) and JaLea (Max); 10 grandchildren, Landon (Lindsey), Rachel (Nathan), Luke (Emily), Ryan (Amanda), Mitchell (Brooke), Larsen (Lydia), Azleigh (Josh), MacKenzie, Lantz (Tori) and Layton (Shayle); 26 great-grandchildren, Cooper, Kennedy, Ethan, McKenna, Sewell, Myka, Ezra, Quinn, Lincoln, Adelaide, Eli, Leo, Lennox, Asa, Conley, Stella, Beckett, Lydia, Luca, Pyper, Callen, Locke, Lynden, Remi, Ledger, and babies, Thompson and Plyler; three sisters, Ivalene Jones, Floreda Smith, Paula Alexander; and many nieces and nephews.

New Horizon Memorial Funeral Home, Dora; 205-648-2323