Pastors' Memoirs

William Claude Eastridge, 1904-1994

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William Claude Eastridge was born March 29, 1904, in Creston, North Carolina, the first of 11 children born to his parents, Marvin C. and Ida Eastridge. In 1921, at the age of 17, he experienced his second birth, receiving Christ as his Savior. After this life-changing experience, he went on to graduate from high school at Cove Creek, North Carolina, and proceeded to Appalachian State Teachers College where he received a degree in elementary education. He then taught the elementary grades for 12 years. During this time he met and married Mamie Woodruff and had five children -- Carroll Eastridge, Alton Eastridge, Sherry Long, Gerald Eastridge, and Tina Henry, as well as 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

He responded to God's call to the ministry with the assistance of Dr. J.S. Hyatt and the Rev. A.G. Lackey in the Western North Carolina Methodist conference. He attended Emory and Henry College over a four-year period, completing his theology requirements. In 1942, he was admitted on trial, ordained a deacon in 1944, and admitted as an elder in full connection in 1946. In the Western North Carolina conference, he served charges at Green Valley, Helton, East Bend, and South Lenoir-Mt Olivet In 1952, he transferred to the Virginia conference, serving first at Brookneal, then Buckingham, Montague Avenue, Bedford, Phenix and Middlesex charges. In 1969, after 29 years, he retired and ministered as retired supply until 1980.

Both Claude and his family are remembered affectionately by those whom they served through his pastorates. He was a husband and father who conveyed a single message throughout his life -- "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved and your house." He delighted in the pursuit of spiritual renewal found only in Christ, and in corresponding service -- particularly in visitation with each of the families on his charge. With tremendous single-mindedness, he remained focused on his first love -- Jesus Christ -- and expressed the peace in his heart to others just prior to his leaving to be with Jesus. His example of trust in God at the end of his life on earth truly displayed the realty of Christ and of eternal life with him after physical death. Immediate family members, friends, and even medical staff near him at the end of his life observed the magnificent validation, by God, of a life in service to Christ as God's Grace engulfed all.

William Claude Eastridge -- the person, is not dead. Rather he is alive eternally with Christ in inexpressible joy and completeness. To sum up his life on earth, "To live is Christ, to die is gain."

He died February 10, 1994, and services were led by his pastor, the Rev. G.C. Branton, and the Rev. Joseph T. Carson Jr., former district superintendent, at Rehoboth United Methodist Church.

-Jerry Eastridge



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