The Rev. George Emmett Pirtle Jr., was welcomed into the presence of his Lord at 6:20 p.m. November 12, 2020, at his residence in Lima. He was born in El Dorado, Arkansas, on August 15, 1929, the son of George E. Pirtle, Sr., and Ethel Keys Pirtle, who preceded him in death.
Friends may call from 11:00 am until time of services at 1:00 pm Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at CHILES-LAMAN FUNERAL AND CREMATION SERVICES SHAWNEE CHAPEL with the Rev. Donald Smith of Waynesfield and the Rev. Andrew Shields of First Baptist, Lima officiating. Burial will follow in Woodlawn Cemetery, Lima.
On August 16, 1952, he married to Billie T. Layman of Pineville, WV. She preceded him in death in 2009. They had 1 daughter, Dr. Sarah Leah Pirtle, a pediatrician, who preceded him in death. She and her father enjoyed trips to Disney World, Ireland, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. His favorite souvenir was a genuine Donegal Irish grey tweed wool hat.
At the age of 11 during a spring revival George made the decision to follow Christ and was baptized with his parents’ blessing. He taught in rural vacation Bible schools at the request of the Director of Missions for the Baptist association. Several of the boys he worked with gave their hearts to Christ and George realized that God was calling him to make a commitment to Gospel ministry, which he did in June, 1946.
He preached his first sermon at the age of 16 under the sponsorship of The First Baptist Church of El Dorado, which licensed him to preach in 1947.He graduated from Baylor University, Waco, TX, in 1951 with a degree in religion and history. He was a member of the Varsity Debate team and of the University A Capella Choir. He loved watching the Baylor Bears play football (“Sic ’em, Bears!”)
He was ordained as a Christian minister by the First Baptist Church of El Dorado on June 1, 1952.
He graduated from Southern Baptist Seminary, Lousville, KY, with a Master of Divinity degree in June, 1957.
He served as pastor of the following churches: Antioch Baptist Church, Chapel Hill, NC, 1952-1953; Camp Hill Baptist Church, Camp Hill, AL, 1956-1959; Second Baptist Church, Pine Bluff, AR, 1959-1964; Sylvan Hills Baptist Church, North Little Rock, AR, 1964-1973, where a new sanctuary and fellowship center were completed; West Baptist Church, Batesville, AR, 1973-1975; David’s Fork Baptist Church, Lexington, KY, 1975-1985; Dermott Baptist Church, Dermott, AR, 1985-1990; First Baptist Church, Kenton, OH, 1990-1999; Minister of Visitation and Director of Senior Activities at First Baptist Church, Lima, OH, until August, 2014, as well as a faithful member of the choir.
He was an active member of the Northwestern Association of the American Baptist Churches of Ohio, serving as moderator for several years. He was dually aligned by both the Southern Baptist Convention and American Baptist Churches USA and enjoyed the fellowship and friendship of his professional colleagues.
He loved music of all kinds: patriotic (especially singing “The Stars and Stripes Forever”), operettas, folk songs, oratorios, and just singing in general, especially gospel songs, solos, and the beloved hymns of the church in his rich deep bass voice, often breaking into song around the house when the desire struck him, a sound his wife dearly loved. Often they finished the song together.
From the summers of 2009 thru 2014 he served as pastor at Twin Lakes Campground, Mt. Cory, OH, leading the singing and the preaching and enjoying the experiences of continuing his ministry of the Gospel. He always said he loved to preach!
He is survived by his wife of ten years, Susan Jane Snyder. She was 70 and he was 80 when they were married on April 11, 2010. They happily celebrated their “monthiversaries” on the 11th of each month, knowing their time together would be precious, which it has proved to be. One of the thrills of her life was when on their honeymoon members of David’s Fork Baptist Church called her Sister Pirtle, not knowing that she was so longing to be called by that name. Susan knows George is the best gift God has ever given her or ever will, and she thanks God for her husband, his love and his life with every breath she takes.
George trusted in Christ alone for his salvation. He wasn’t trusting in his good works as a pastor. He loved the members of each church he served, and they him, responding to his gentle spirit. He knew Christ died on the cross to pay the price for his sins that George might have everlasting life.
George loved and served his Master Jesus Christ and walked into Heaven with a heart full of blessings and joy to greet his Lord when his time on Earth was over. May God grant him peace and happiness beyond the Golden Gates. Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord!