Frank LaPrade Padgett
June 09, 2019
The Rev. Dr. Frank LaPrade Padgett was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to parents the Rev. Dr. Robert T. Padgett and Samie Bowman Padgett. He was survived by his wife of 24 years, Allison Hancock Padgett; three children: William Robert Padgett (April), Justin Satterfield Padgett (Mairi), and Heather Barkley Padgett Futch; one stepson, Steven Gentile (Solvig); five grandchildren; and a sister, Therese Padgett.
Frank was born into a loving Methodist parsonage and named for his father’s first two district superintendents. It can be no wonder that he grew to love the heritage of the Methodist traditions of worship, discipline, and service. He joined the church at the age of 10 at First Hinesville Methodist church, South Georgia Annual Conference and by his teens he committed to going into the ministry.
A BBS graduate of Georgia Southern University (1966), Frank earned an M. DIV from Candler School of Theology at Emory University (1969), and a D. MIN from Drew University (1982). He also studied at Edinburgh University in Scotland where William Barclay became one of many mentors. He was ordained deacon, June 1967 and elder 1969 in the South Georgia Annual Conference. In 1971 he transferred membership to the Western North Carolina Annual Conference.
Appointments that Frank served include the following: United Methodist/Presbyterian Campus Ministry and Director of Wesley Foundation, GSU (1969-71); Associate Minister and Director of Youth Ministries, Centenary UMC, Winston-Salem (1971-77); Minister of Education, Providence UMC, Charlotte (1977-83); Pastor, Oakview UMC, High Point (1983-85); Pastor, St. Paul UMC, Charlotte (1985-88); Developmental Pastor, South Mecklenburg Mission (later Saint Francis UMC) (1988-93); Stallings UMC (1993-1995); Cullowhee UMC (1995-2003); Stanley UMC (2003-2005). He retired in 2005.
Leadership in civic activities beyond the local church were so numerous that at one point his young children, whom he was raising as a single parent, asked him to resign those roles so as to have more time with them. While Frank did comply, it would not last as he was drawn to the welfare of the people of God above personal desires, ego; or career. In 2003, the city of Sylva named Frank as one of the Grand Marshals in the Catch the Spirit of Appalachia’s Parade of Many Colors in recognition of his many services to the community.
The entire outdoors was the retreat Frank sought for relaxation and reflection. He would go hiking, camping, or fishing and return home to write an article for the church newsletter where his words would flow onto paper like an artist painting on canvas.
When asked what he would do if he couldn’t be a pastor, Frank replied, “Find a way to help people understand themselves as God’s beloved. Many of our problems, personally and socially, stem from our tendency to self-rejection. We change when we truly understand that God loves us unconditionally because we are God’s children.”
A lifelong friend, John McCormack, describes Frank as follows:
“Frank was a singularly intelligent, unique and passionate man who affected my life early on as a person who cared about justice and was not afraid to take strong stands for what was right. I remember him leading the anti-Vietnam war moratorium march at GSU (Nov. 1969) and receiving threats for his stand. I would say he was the first of my peers to present a model of how to live a principled life. Reading later about his work on the internet and reviewing his obituary, it is very obvious he never gave up in his quest for a better world."
A celebration of the wonderful life of Frank L. Padgett was held on April 20, 2019, at Cullowhee UMC, Cullowhee, NC.