Charles Stewart Gatwood, a leader in music ministry for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) for 20 years, died Sept. 18. He was 88.
Born in Albion, Ind., May 31, 1921; he was the son of the late Charles Adam Gatwood and Nettie Mae Stewart Gatwood.
He earned the bachelor of music degree in music education and a master’s degree in music theory at Indiana University. He married Mary Carolyn Threatt of Kershaw, S.C.
After graduation he became chairman of the music department at North Greenville Junior College in Tigerville, S.C. He was minister of music at First Baptist Church, Greer, S.C., and at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church, Fayetteville, N.C. He was associate director of the Church Music Department of the BSC for 10 years before serving another 10 years as director. He retired in 1987.
During his tenure at the BSC he formed and directed the “Singing Churchmen,” a men’s choir consisting of ministers of music from across the state. He organized the Cary Community Chorus and directed their performance of “Messiah” for 30 years.
“Charles knew how to help ministers of music train their leaders and to also involve lay persons in the learning process of becoming better musicians and also in giving their lives to God through worship,” said Dan Ridley, who retired in December from the role Gatwood once held at the BSC.
“Time and time again I hear music leaders share how Charles visited them in their church and helped to connect them to the learning opportunities on the associational or state level. Charles taught us how to live and he taught us how to die. Thanks be to God for Charles Gatwood,” said Ridley, now minister of music at Hayes Barton Baptist in Raleigh.
Gatwood was invited to teach several semesters at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Campbell University. He was ordained a deacon at First Baptist Church, Cary, and was an active member of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh for many years.
He is survived by Carolyn, his wife of 63 years; daughter Ann Blackmon of Kinston, N.C.; son Elden Gatwood of Raleigh; daughter Susan Snyder of Hollidaysburg, Pa.; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.