Pastors' Memoirs

Robert Edward Carty, 1923 – 2007

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2008 Memoirs

 Bob Carty, as he was known by everyone, was born near Abingdon, Va., on Jan. 27, 1923, to Maiden and Ella Carty. He was one of 11 children and, as the stories are told, was very rambunctious in his young years.
 He and four of his brothers served in World War II. Bob saw combat in North Africa, Italy and Germany. After the war, he returned to Abingdon and entered 9th grade, completed high school and earned a degree in agriculture education at Virginia Tech. He came to Pittsylvania County and began teaching agriculture and later industrial arts in the county school system at Callands, Brosville and Tunstall high schools.
 During college, he met and married Lois Blair, who passed away in 2005. During their 57-year marriage together, they raised three children and were active in the community and ministry influencing many wherever they served. In 1960, Bob began his ministry serving part-time at Westover Hills (Danville District). He completed his seminary degree by correspondence with resident work at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He also continued teaching until finishing seminary.
 After seminary, he entered full-time ministry serving at Westover Hills, Floral Hills, Calvary, Saint Johns, Mount Pleasant and Bethel Methodist churches in the Danville District. Lois served at his side as music leader, pianist, church secretary and a host of other roles throughout his ministry. She also worked as the secretary to the Danville District superintendent for many years. Some say that is why Bob was never assigned to a church very far from Danville. He lived on the family farm in Swansonville, Va., for his entire career.
 Bob would testify that he farmed because he “loved” it, taught because he “chose” it and preached because God “called” him to it. He had a unique way of weaving the paths we love and choose in our lives with the things God calls us to do, and showing how the pieces fit into God’s plan. Bob was a shepherd. He would never say his gift was preaching, although his leadership from the pulpit was a gift to many.
 But his shepherding gift was what made him so very special. No one ever came in contact with Bob Carty without leaving the encounter in a relationship. His ministry gift was to come alongside in whatever situation he found — whether it was crisis or happy moments, picking vegetables, plowing the fields or painting the house — whatever he found people doing, that he would also do. He shared burdens, crises and joys. He was sought after for many weddings and funerals because those who knew him felt and understood how he was a part of their lives and wanted him to be involved in their special events of the heart.
 Bob went home to be with the Lord on Dec 12, 2007, after sharing an early Christmas with his family all around. During his last two years as his health deteriorated, he lost much of his ability to speak. But God in His majesty never took his gift of prayer. Bob communicated with God in prayer to his last day with a voice that was clear and perfectly articulate — a special gift to those of us for whom he prayed.
— The children of Bob and Lois Carty: Fitz Carty, Rachel Setliff, and Steve Carty


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