Published: July 6, 2021

On the morning of July 5, 2021, Gary Allen Anderson Sr., loving husband, father, grandfather (Baba), and dedicated minister, passed away at the age of 84.


Gary was born on June 6, 1937, in Nashville, Tennessee, to Dimple and J.P. Anderson. He was a native of Nashville and committed his life to Christ at the age of 9 in Grace Baptist Church, Nashville, TN. He received his bachelor’s degree in History and English from Belmont University in 1959, where he met his wife, Sara Joyce (Middleton) Anderson. Gary went on to receive his Masters of Divinity and his Doctorate of Theology from Southern Baptist Theological School in Louisville, Kentucky.


On April 5, 1958, Gary and Joyce were married. Together, they raised two children, Gary Allen Anderson, Jr. of Linden, TN and Agatha Joy Kusenda of Chattanooga, TN.


Gary dedicated his life to preaching the love of God to communities all over Tennessee. He was able to touch the lives of many church members in congregations: including First Baptist Church in Milton, KY, Orlinda Baptist Church in Orlinda, TN, Emmanuel Baptist in Lawrenceburg, TN, First Baptist Church in Dunlap, TN, Piney Grove Baptist Church in Bolivar, TN, Hickory Valley Baptist Church in Hickory Valley, TN, and Bethel Springs Presbyterian Church in Bethel Springs, TN. Additionally, he worked as Chaplain at the Western Tennessee Mental Institution in Bolivar, TN. He also had opportunities to minister to those in the Tennessee State Prison in Nashville, as chief Chaplain. He often said that he always felt great purpose when he had the ability to lead some of those in prison to the Lord. He always preached the value in giving others second chances. As a result of all the years standing behind the pulpit, he struggled to sit in the pews during his retirement. Therefore, he preached up to the Sunday of November 1, 2020, continuing to share the love of God throughout his entire life.


He was very involved in each community that he served. He served as Vice President and Lobbyist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention, was a Trustee of Baptist Hospital, was the President of the Belmont College Alumni Association, was President of the Lions Club in Lawrenceburg and Dunlap TN, Tennessee State Employees Association Vice President and member of the executive board, Free Mason 32nd degree, on the draft board of Wayne County, treasurer of Lawrenceburg and Dunlap Ministerial Association, as well as initiating the Baccalaureate Program for high school seniors in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.


He was known for drinking coffee with friends and talking to them for hours on end. He and his wife took many adventures together to places such as Canada, Maine, and Mackinac Island. When the time came, he chose to retire on Joyce’s farm in Waynesboro, TN. He said, “She traveled from church to church with me, it is only right that we retire on the farm that has been in her family for three generations.”


Gary was proceeded in death by his father, J.P. and his mother, Dimple. He is survived by his wife, Sara Joyce Anderson, younger brother, Ken Anderson (wife, Belinda Anderson), niece Stephanie Richerson, and nephew Brandon Anderson; his children, Gary Allen Anderson, Jr. (wife, Kim Anderson) and Agatha Joy Kusenda; and his grandchildren, Matthew and Megan Kusenda, and Ashley, Elizabeth, and Loren Anderson.


Visitation will be held on July 8 from 5-8 pm and July 9, from 12-2 pm CST at Philadelphia Baptist Church in Waynesboro, TN. Pettus-Turnbo in Lawrenceburg, TN will handle the arrangements. Additionally, the funeral will be held on Friday, July 9, at 2:00pm CST at Philadelphia Baptist in Waynesboro, TN. Following the funeral, a grave site service will be held in the cemetery located behind the church.