Dr. Gerald Earl McGraw
Dr. Gerald Earl McGraw, age 85 of Deland, Florida and formerly of Toccoa passed away Tuesday, July 18, 2017.
Gerald Earl McGraw, Ph.D., the only child of C. Earl McGraw and Gladys L. (Snyder) McGraw was born May 26, 1932, in Oil City, PA. Gazing at their newborn, his parents could not see the extent of giftedness God had implanted in the very nature of their tiny son.
Gerald received his early training in local schools, graduating from high school in 1950. That fall he entered The Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack College) in Nyack, NY. Noticing their son had been sensing God's call to pastoral ministry, Gerald's stalwart Christian and Missionary Alliance parents had encouraged him to go to Nyack where he earned the first of his academic degrees.
In 1954 Gerald enrolled at Houghton College, earning his BA degree. He went on to attend four more schools of higher learning: Wheaton College, Chicago Divinity Graduate School, Southeastern Baptist Seminary (Wake Forest, NC) and New York University, earning a total of six degrees including an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree. This commitment to furthering his education continued during the summers along with pastoring.
In May of 1956 Gerald was appointed to his first pastorate, a pioneer work at Meridian, PA, near Butler. Not long after, on August 7, Gerald and Martha (Swauger), whom he had met at Houghton College, were married in Syracuse, NY. Together they completed four years of service in Meridian. There followed two more pastorates: Hollidaysburg, PA, near Altoona, and the Pleasantville Alliance Church near Meadville, PA. Pastoring for twelve years was invaluable preparation for Gerald's teaching career at Toccoa Falls College in Georgia (1968-2001).
As students came to Toccoa Falls College from numerous Alliance churches, Professor McGraw viewed them as the "cream of the crop," and took great delight in preparing them for service. His strong motivation to earn more degrees had been humbly aimed at establishing higher and better accreditation for Toccoa Falls College and for the equipping for students for ministry.
Dr. McGraw also wrote several textbooks that became required reading for pastoral training. His 750-page Ph.D. dissertation researched from A.B. Simpson's writings on sanctification plus his own exhaustive study inspired Dr. McGraw to author two of his own books on the subject. During this time he zealously read as many A.B. Simpson publications as could be found.
Gerald, himself, wrote dozens of articles, manuals and papers. He acquired numerous awards and honors, but God had gifted His servant with a quiet, low-key approach to ministry. Gerald's faith and commitment grew as he led a myriad of hurting people to freedom in Christ. His humble passion for God and the desire for God's Word to preeminent were unfailingly evident throughout his life.
This Ph.D. professor, pastor, leader, author, was a caring, loving father and a gentle, affectionate husband, his face invariably framed by a radiant smile that matched his outgoing, charming friendliness. These characteristics clothed this undeniably Spirit-filled man of God.
Yes, Dr. McGraw was first a family man. During his Hollidaysburg, PA, pastorate two sons, Philip Earl and David Keith, were born 22 months apart in the Altoona hospital. A foster teen-aged daughter, Carolyn, also joined the family about a year before they moved to Toccoa and lived with them for several more years. While David and his wife, Barbara (Paul), had no children, Philip and his wife, Vicki (Kelly), have a home-schooled family of nine, most of whom are now adults, three of whom are married with offspring giving McGraw’s four great-grandchildren, many other relatives and friends found loving shelter in the McGraw home throughout their "delightfully happy marriage career," of almost 61 years.
For Gerald and Martha McGraw moving December 2003 to The Alliance Community For Retirement Living in DeLand, FL, has been a positive experience. As of August 2009 Gerald has been cared for by capable and skilled personnel at the Alliance Community's Center for Health Care for the duration of his dementia journey. Characteristically, Dr. Gerald Earl McGraw smilingly, patiently and so humbly awaits his well-deserved pronouncement from heaven: "Well done, good faithful servant...Enter into the joy of your Lord.
Funeral services will be Sunday, July 23, 2017, 3 O’clock P.M. at the First Alliance Church Toccoa with the Reverend Jon Tal Murphree officiating.
The family will receive friends at the Acree-Davis Funeral Home on Saturday, July 22, 2017, 6 P.M. until 8 P.M. and Sunday at the First Alliance Church from 2 P.M. until 3 P.M. Online condolences can be made at www.acree-davisfh.com.
Interment will follow in the Stephens Memorial Gardens with the Acree-Davis Funeral Home in charge of the arrangements for Dr. Gerald Earl McGraw.