VIRGINIA BEACH — W. Jerry Holcomb, a Virginia Baptist pastor for nearly 40 years and former president of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, died Oct. 28 in a Virginia Beach hospital. He was 73.
Holcomb was pastor of King’s Grant Baptist Church in Virginia Beach from 1968 until he retired in 2007. During his long tenure, Holcomb was a fixture in the Baptist General Association of Virginia, serving as its first vice president in 1987 and president in 1992.
He was a former member of both the Virginia Baptist Mission Board and the BGAV’s budget committee, and was regularly tapped to serve on BGAV study committees. In that capacity he helped to develop covenants with BGAV partners, to negotiate an end to the BGAV’s ties to the University of Richmond, and to evaluate the BGAV’s governance structure.
A Georgia native, Holcomb attended both Young Harris and Piedmont colleges, and later moved to Athens to pursue a sociology degree from the University of Georgia. While a student at UGA he was pastor of nearby Fishing Creek Baptist Church, which ordained him to the ministry in 1962.
After graduating, he enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and earned a master of divinity degree there while serving as pastor of Webbs Chapel Baptist Church in Macclesfield, N.C.
Years later, long after he had begun his Virginia Beach pastorate, Holcomb was a trustee of Southeastern during the school’s tumultuous shift to the theological right from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s.
Holcomb is survived by his wife, Joyce, and a daughter and grandson. A memorial service will be held Sunday, Nov. 3 at 5 p.m. at King’s Grant Baptist Church.
Robert Dilday ([email protected]) is managing editor of the Religious Herald.