WINSTON-SALEM — Dr. Paul Davis Early, Southern Baptist minister, missionary, and teacher, 92, went to his rest and reward surrounded by his family on January 27, 2012. He was born in his family's home on Clover Street in Winston Salem, NC, on May 6, 1920, to the late John Harold and Pearl Davis Early. His home church in Winston Salem as a youth was First Baptist Church.
Dr. Early graduated from Reynolds High School followed by undergraduate studies at Mars Hill College and Wake Forest College (1941). He earned his masters (1944) and PhD (1952) degrees in Theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY.
He dedicated his life to serving his God and spreading the Good News to all persons that he met. His primary messages were those about the Love of God including "Love the Lord thy God", "Love thy neighbor as thyself", "God is love", "I am with you always", "The greatest of these is love", and the most important - "God so loved the world that He gave His own begotten Son..."
From 1942 until 1974, Dr. Early served in ministry to five Baptist churches with a break of eighteen months as a US Army Chaplain in 1945 and 1946 between the first and second churches. The churches were Buck Run Baptist Church, Forks of Elkhorn, Kentucky; Hebron Baptist Church, Madison, Indiana; First Baptist Church, Red Springs, North Carolina; Main Street Baptist Church, Emporia, Virginia; and Immanuel Baptist Church, Greensboro, North Carolina. His most precious and treasured memories were from his ministry in Greensboro where he was privileged to work with Immanuel Baptist (1959-1974) in their outreach to Caucasian, American Indian, and African American residents, and to foreign students and visitors from many parts of the world.
In 1975, Dr. Early was appointed by the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board to serve as a teacher and administrator in the Bahamas Baptist Bible Institute in providing theological education to Bahamian pastors and lay leaders. He served in that capacity for eleven years.
After "retiring", he was asked to teach seminary extension courses in Trinidad and Tobago for a year and again for several months at the Barbados Baptist College. After completing these assignments, he taught Bible classes for three years at Campbell University, Buies Creek, NC, and Missions classes for two semesters at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC.
He is survived by a son, Paul D. Early, Jr, and wife Linda; two daughters, Miriam Early Picklisimer and husband John and Martha Early Rodenbeck and husband Fred; six grandchildren: Leslie Picklesimer Plasky and husband Joseph (Chris), Paul D. Early, III (Dave), John Picklesimer, Jr. and wife Ashley, Christy Rodenbeck Johnson and husband Dan, Mary Kathryn Early (KT), and Rick Rodenbeck and wife Leah; and five great-grandchildren. Also surviving are Dr. Early's older sister, Miriam Early Burchette and younger brother, David Lee Early.
A service of thanksgiving and memory to honor Dr. Early's life will be held at Immanuel Baptist Church on High Point Road in Greensboro, NC, on Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 11 a.m. The family will be in the sanctuary at the church at 10 a.m. to receive friends and all those who want to remember our father.
Memorials may be made to the International Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention, P.O. Box 6767, Richmond, VA 23230-0767.
Online condolences may be made through www.salemfh.com