Pastors' Memoirs

Lawrence Eldridge Pritchett, 1916-1994

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Lawrence Eldridge Pritchett was born July 12,1916, at Batesville, Virginia. He was the third child of Russell Custo and Eleyette Virginia Pritchett In his formative years, he attended public schools in Batesville and in Lynchburg, Virginia. It was during these years he knew God had called him to preach. His mother always told him she knew that he would be a preacher someday but this came later. His mother died at the age of 28. He received his high school diploma from the American School in Chicago, Illinois. Later he married his childhood sweetheart, Mary Elizabeth Walker, on April 25, 1936, at the age of 20. They both attended the Salvation Army College in Atlanta, Georgia.

He became an officer and stayed with the Salvation Army for 14 years. His appointments in the Salvation Army were Roanoke and Logan, West Virginia. He loved the Lord and never doubted his call to preach. He came into the Methodist conference in 1960 and was ordained a deacon on the 12th day of June 1963, by Bishop Paul Neff Garber. He was later ordained elder on June 9 of 1965 at Virginia Beach, Virginia, by Bishop Walter C. Gum. He was an approved pastor in the Methodist Church and was appointed to the Motley-Trinity Charge in 1960, Lafayette Charge in 1967, Hyco in 1968-1970, Mt. Olivet Charge in 1975, and Fulks Run in 1978. He retired on June 15, 1981. His wife of 49 years was stricken with cancer and passed away on August 19,1984. He married the second time to Dorothy Christine Farmer on April 13, 1985. She later passed away with a massive heart attack on July 4, 1988.

He was the happiest in the pulpit and serving the people. One dear lady called him a walking Bible. He also had a very humorous side and he never stopped working after retirement He responded whenever he was called to serve anywhere at anytime. He served United Methodist churches at McKendree-Asbury, Mt. Hermon, Clover, Payneton-Siloam, Zion, Mt. Horeb-Huddleston up until June 1984.

On December 3,1988, he was married to Verda Payne Shumate who survives. Other survivors are two sisters, Dorothy Edith Talley of Asheville, N.C.; and Thelma Mamie Perdieu of Lynchburg, Va.; one half-brother, Fred Pritchett of Lynchburg, Va.; one stepbrother, Willie Sprouse, of Altavista, Va.; one stepsister, Louise Fitzgerald of Lynchburg, Va. Also surviving are nine stepchildren, 13 nieces and six nephews.

His health declined for two years and he later passed away November 10, 1994, at Virginia Baptist Hospital in Lynchburg, Va. His funeral was on November 13, 1994, at Powell's Funeral Home, South Boston, Va., with the Lynchburg District Superintendent Kenneth Jackson, the Rev. Ralph Grow, Martinsville District; the Rev. Carol Douglas, Lynchburg District; the Rev. E. W. Smith, Greensboro, N.C.; and Captain Michael Hawley of the Salvation Army, Lynchburg, Va., all in attendance. Interment was at the Shady Grove United Methodist Church cemetery. He was buried beside his first wife, Mary Elizabeth. His nephew, David Peridieu sang his favorite song, "Amazing Grace."

He will always be remembered by those who loved and cared for him.

- Verda S. Pritchett, Wife

 

 

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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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