Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
to a Saintly Man
5, 1925 –
January 26, 2011
Early on Wednesday morning, January 26, 2011,
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
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
yearbook. We went by my Aunt Avery and
Aunt Ethel Collins’s house in Choestoe to eat lunch and also by my
house for Grover and Jane to meet him.
My Dad, always getting right to the point, said, “Are you one of
preacher boys at Truett McConnell?” At
that time, though Grover said later he was dealing with the call to
responded no to my father’s question. As
it turned out, my father’s query was a prediction, for Grover did
the call to gospel ministry.
graduated in the first class from Truett McConnell
College in May,
1949. We worked, he with Meadors
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
on December 23,
Ethelene at her
father’s house – 1950
1950, Grover announced his call to preach.
We entered Mercer
University, Macon, in the
1950 to complete our last two years of college.
at Blairsville called him as pastor, and we made trips twice a month
fulfilled his preaching appointments and weekend visitation to members. By request of Antioch Baptist
Church, he was
on August 19, 1951. This was the beginning of his work as a
saintly and humble pastor, continuing at Antioch,
then at Harmony
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
His seminary training at Southern and
Southeastern Seminaries was not on a full-time basis but might be
“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
the Scriptures. He became known for his
saintly insights into the Word and his compassionate care for members
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
Convention to the Gilmer-Fannin Association.
Retirement Celebration – June 1988
Other minister, Dr. Maurice
Crowder, was host of Grover’s "This
Is Your Life"
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.
1983 - with his grandchildren Paula, Matthew,
Elizabeth, B. J., Christie, Crystal, and Nathan
the meantime, he was a saintly father and grandfather.
Son Keith was born in Macon in 1952 and
daughter Cynthia in Anderson,
SC (while we were at Hartwell, GA)
in 1957. They grew up, married, and gave
us seven wonderful grandchildren. Grover
was a loving father and grandfather, continuing his saintly qualities
relationships and seeking to demonstrate Christian qualities before
precept and example. Even though he was
ill when his five great grandchildren began to come along in 2006 and
all of his descendants rise up and call him saintly.
battle with health began shortly after he was discharged from the US
following World War II. A vicious
arthritis attacked him in the summer of 1946.
He dealt with that malady for most of the rest of his life. In 1993 his heart received a physical
makeover with five bypasses heart surgery.
In January, 1996 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He spent from early 2007 through his death January 26, 2011
special care unit of Georgia War Veterans Home, Milledgeville. Through sickness his saintliness was still in
evidence. But even more evident was
provision for his care during the sixteen years of his journey with
Grover and Ethelene's 50th
wedding anniversary, December 23, 1999
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.
Jones; published Feb.
in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
GA. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved.
Jones is a retired educator,
freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at
phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA
Updated February 13, 2011
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