Oak Harbor pastor dies suddenly in Canada

An Oak Harbor church family is mourning the sudden loss of its founding pastor on Monday.

Pastor Gary Prisk, who founded Oak Harbor Bible Baptist Church 32 years ago in August, died suddenly of an apparent heart attack in Trail, B.C.

Prisk, who turned 59 on Sunday, stepped down as full-time pastor of the church in March to devote his time to preaching and traveling. He went to Trail last week to preach at a conference, visit with family and do some fishing.

Senior Pastor Jeremiah Sargent said Prisk was driving alone on Monday, returning from a fishing trip, when he pulled over alongside the road. Witness said he was suffering from chest pains.

Some passing loggers tried to help, Sargent said, “but it was too late.” To his knowledge, Prisk had not been suffering from any health problems and the heart attack came as a complete surprise.

Prisk’s wife Cheryl was with him on the trip but was not with him when the heart attack occurred.

Their daughter Meleah lives in Trail with her husband Scott Holloway.

Prisk also leaves three grown sons, Jason, Luke and Nathan, all of whom live in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

Sargent said Bible Baptist Church has about 190 members. Prisk started the church after moving to Whidbey Island from Sacramento in the early ‘70s. Initially the congregation met in Coupeville but they soon purchased land along Highway 20 south of Oak Harbor.

“Some people are shocked right now,” Sargent said of reaction to the death of Prisk. “They’re grieving the loss of their pastor and friend.”

Services are pending. A full obituary will appear in a future issue of the Whidbey News-Times.

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