October 5, 1925 – January 26, 2011
Early on Wednesday morning, January 26, 2011, my beloved husband of sixty-one years departed this earthly life. Ours had been a partnership of sixty-one loving years. I recall here some of the highlights of his life that qualify him as a saintly man, one worthy to be remembered.
We met at Truett McConnell College, Cleveland, GA in the first year of that school’s operation. I recall the first “official” visit he made to Union County in the winter of 1948. He was editor of the school yearbook, then called the “Gannetaha.” He, another yearbook staff member, Jane Lindsey of Morganton, and I were on an ad-buying trip to Blairsville for the yearbook. We went by my Aunt Avery and Aunt Ethel Collins’s house in Choestoe to eat lunch and also by my father’s house for Grover and Jane to meet him. My Dad, always getting right to the point, said, “Are you one of the preacher boys at Truett McConnell?” At that time, though Grover said later he was dealing with the call to preach, he responded no to my father’s question. As it turned out, my father’s query was a prediction, for Grover did surrender to the call to gospel ministry.
We graduated in the first class from Truett McConnell College in May, 1949. We worked, he with Meadors Distribution Company contacting various stores as a route salesman in North Georgia and I in my first year of teaching at Choestoe School. We were wed at Choestoe Baptist Church on December 23, 1949.
In 1950, Grover announced his call to preach. We entered Mercer University, Macon, in the fall of 1950 to complete our last two years of college. Antioch Baptist Church at Blairsville called him as pastor, and we made trips twice a month where he fulfilled his preaching appointments and weekend visitation to members. By request of Antioch Baptist Church, he was ordained at Choestoe Baptist Church on August 19, 1951. This was the beginning of his work as a saintly and humble pastor, continuing at Antioch, then at Harmony Baptist Church, Eatonton; Union Hill at Gray; Mt. Hebron at Hartwell (his first full-time pastorate), McConnell Memorial at Hiawassee, and First Baptist Church, Epworth. For 21 ½ years he did the work of a pastor. From those six pastorates, many testify to his godly influence upon their lives and salute him as a saintly man.
His seminary training at Southern and Southeastern Seminaries was not on a full-time basis but might be described as “piecemeal,” as he went to “J” terms (January, June, July). Those studies were geared to assisting in-service pastors hone their skills in the pulpit and delve more deeply into the Scriptures. He became known for his saintly insights into the Word and his compassionate care for members of his congregation.
In October, 1972 he began another direction in his work. He became director of missions for the Morganton Baptist Association, Blue Ridge, Georgia. Later, the Mountaintown Association was added to his assignment, as well as being representative of the Georgia Baptist Convention to the Gilmer-Fannin Association.
Other minister, Dr. Maurice Crowder, was host of Grover’s "This Is Your Life"
For 16 ½ years he worked in associational work until he retired June 30, 1988. Even then, he could not give up the work he loved and for four years was a North Georgia consultant to churches and associations for the Georgia Baptist Convention. His gentle way with people combined with wisdom and insight, served him well in the capacity of denominational representative, speaker and consultant.
Grover and Ethelene's 50th wedding anniversary, December 23, 1999
As his beloved wife of sixty-one years, I attest to his goodness and compassion. I gratefully acknowledge his devotion as my life companion and the facets of his ministry and wide influence. We brought his body back to the enfolding hills of Choestoe for burial. But in my heart of hearts I know that he is not dead. His influence will live on in my heart and in the hearts of those especially touched by his kind and compassionate ministry. To God be the glory.
c 2011 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Feb. 3, 2011 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.