On the morning of July 5, 2021, Gary Allen Anderson Sr., loving husband, father, grandfather (Baba), and dedicated minister, passed away at the age of 84.
Gary was born on June 6, 1937, in Nashville, Tennessee, to Dimple and J.P. Anderson. He was a native of Nashville and committed his life to Christ at the age of nine at Grace Baptist Church in Nashville. He received his bachelor’s degree in History and English from Belmont University in 1959, where he met his wife, Sara Joyce (Middleton) Anderson. Gary went on to receive his Masters of Divinity and his Doctorate of Theology from Southern Baptist Theological School in Louisville, Kentucky.
On April 5, 1958, Gary and Joyce were married. Together, they raised two children, Gary Allen Anderson, Jr. of Linden, and Agatha Joy Kusenda of Chattanooga.
Gary dedicated his life to preaching the love of God to communities all over Tennessee. He touched the lives of many church members in congregations, including First Baptist Church in Milton, Kentucky, Orlinda Baptist Church, Emmanuel Baptist in Lawrenceburg, First Baptist Church in Dunlap, Piney Grove Baptist Church in Bolivar, Hickory Valley Baptist Church, and Bethel Springs Presbyterian Church. Additionally, he worked as chaplain at Western Tennessee Mental Institution in Bolivar. He also ministered to those in the State Prison in Nashville as chief chaplain. He often said that he always felt great purpose when he led some of those in prison to the Lord. He always preached the value of giving others a second chance. As a result of all the years standing behind the pulpit, he struggled to sit in the pews during his retirement. Therefore, he preached up to the Sunday of November 1, 2020, continuing to share the love of God throughout his entire life.
He was very involved in each community that he served. He served as vice president and lobbyist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention, was a trustee of Baptist Hospital, was president of Belmont College Alumni Association, president of the Lions Club in Lawrenceburg and Dunlap, Tennessee State Employees Association Vice President and member of the executive board, Free Mason 32nd degree, on the draft board of Wayne County, treasurer of Lawrenceburg and Dunlap Ministerial Association, as well as initiating the Baccalaureate Program for high school seniors in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.
He was known for drinking coffee with friends and talking to them for hours on end. He and his wife took many adventures together to places such as Canada, Maine, and Mackinac Island. When the time came, he chose to retire on Joyce’s farm in Waynesboro. He said, “She traveled from church to church with me, it is only right that we retire on the farm that has been in her family for three generations.”
Gary was proceeded in death by his father, J.P., and his mother, Dimple.
He is survived by his wife, Sara Joyce Anderson; younger brother, Ken Anderson (wife, Belinda Anderson); niece Stephanie Richerson; nephew Brandon Anderson; his children, Gary Allen Anderson, Jr. (wife, Kim Anderson) and Agatha Joy Kusenda; and his grandchildren, Matthew and Megan Kusenda, and Ashley, Elizabeth, and Loren Anderson.
Funeral services were held Friday, July 9 at Philadelphia Baptist in Waynesboro. Following the funeral, a graveside service was held in the cemetery behind the church.
Pettus-Turnbo Funeral Home in Lawrenceburg was in charge of arrangements.