Day's motorcycle hit a patch of sand on an off-ramp from Interstate 35 in Oklahoma City about 4:30 p.m., according to The Daily Oklahoman newspaper. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash but died at the hospital from head injuries.
Day, a former trustee of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board and current vice chair of the Oklahoma Baptist University trustee board, celebrated his 25th anniversary at the church this past summer, associate pastor Keith Haygood told The Oklahoman.
Word of Day's crash came during the church's Wednesday evening fellowship dinner, Haygood said.
"Tonight, we just went in and took the microphone and told the church what had happened and called the church to prayer," Haygood told The Oklahoman. "It was a very surreal moment, and a lot of them had no idea. Word had started to kind of get out a little bit that he'd been in an accident, but no further word, and so around the tables, everyone began to pray.... We called everyone into the worship center and just prayed together."
Born in Bogalusa, La., Day, 62, had been a pastor since 1968, serving at churches in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma. He earned a bachelor's degree in history and Bible from Louisiana College. He completed M.Div. and Th.D. degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
One friend from seminary days noted Day's multifaceted contribution to Southern Baptist life.
"Oklahoma and Southern Baptists have lost a great leader, pastor, theologian and friend," Anthony Jordan, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, told the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger newsjournal. "Alan has contributed in immeasurable ways to our cooperative work. For me, the loss is very personal. Our hearts were knitted together from seminary days.
"I remember well sitting around the table in seminary cafeteria discussing ministry and theology. His remarkable intellect, passion for the church, evangelism and missions formed a bond between us that has spanned many years," Jordan added. "I feel a deep sense of loss and will miss his wisdom, spirited laugh and love. I love Alice and their family and ask you to join me in lifting them to the Savior in prayer. We also pray for the Edmond, First family."
Day served multiple terms on the Oklahoma Baptist University trustee board and as vice chair would have succeeded Reagan Bradford Sr., current board chair, in the 2011-12 year, according to a statement released by the school.
"Alan Day was a consummate Baptist statesman," said David Whitlock, president of the university. "He had a pastor's heart and a servant's spirit, which was demonstrated in his love for his church family and his leadership role in the Edmond community.... He was a student of God's Word and an innovative communicator of biblical truth."
Day was scheduled to deliver OBU's 2011 Founders' Day address Feb. 9, but the event was postponed because of winter weather, the statement said. He was working with university officials to reschedule the address, which was titled "Christian Higher Education in the 21st Century."
Day would want his death to lead people to Christ, Haygood told The Oklahoman.
"I have no doubt how he would want people to react. First of all, he would want people to put their faith in Christ. Alan Day was a godly man, he was a man of great faith, and he spent his life carrying out his calling to encourage people to make themselves ready," Haygood said. "There's no doubt in anyone's mind for Alan Day that he's in God's presence now, because he made himself ready and he spent his life introducing people to faith in Christ."
Day is survived by his wife of 42 years, Alice; one daughter, Charis; and three sons, Aaron, Richard and Cheyne. Funeral plans are incomplete at this time.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor and senior writer Mark Kelly. With reporting by Marty O'Gwynn, Oklahoma Baptist University associate vice president for university communications, and by the staff of the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger, online at BaptistMessenger.com
Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net