Honoring them

This past year our Deacon Body dedicated a plaque in honor of the men who answered the call to become deacons and have since been called home to be with their  Father in Heaven.

Jim Rizer, a beloved deacon, is now home.

As we have with these other men, in honor of his service, please share any stories or comments you may have of how he impacted you life. As with each of these men, be it in big ways or small ways, their legacy lives on and we want to honor their legacy.

Please simply email your story or comments to Rkeithsimmons@gmail.com or turn it in to the church office. We will post these stories on our website (Grawoodbc.com) in honor of these men who loved God, and other in work and action.

Jim's name will be added to the plaque during a commemorative portion of a Sunday service, at a pre-announced date. May we never forget the sacrifices, hard work, and the servant leadership of these men of God.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7

  • William & Gloria Leach

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  • Doug clarke

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  • jimmy & audrey edwards

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  • al & chris


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  • ferrell holt

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  • carl & jeanette


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  • allen & sharron


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  • joseph & susie


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  • richard mcinnis

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  • c.h. & marilyn


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  • buddy & peggy


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  • c.d. & gerthie


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  • j.r. & ann


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  • j. allen & ann


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  • norman & marie


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  • elbert & rose


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  • george & viola


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  • h.h. & clara


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  • NED & selby


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  • Jim rizer

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our memories

Mr Bogan was my Mother’s, Margie Dupree, assigned deacon. We had never been a part of a church that assigned deacons to the elderly members and we were so pleasantly surprised at what that would mean to us. Mr and Mrs Bogan were faithful to my Mother. They visited and showered her with gifts. They did not miss one holiday that came up. They were always at church ready to help and assist her in whatever she needed. Mr Bogan always came immediately to us and made sure she was comfortable, gave her a big hug and handed her a program. His smile and soft spoken words each Sunday was so infectious and soothing. A perfect God fearing Gentlemen!  My Mother is now bedridden at The Glen. She knows Mr Bogan has gone to be with the Lord and she constantly worries about Mrs Bogan. Having lost her husband she knows what Mrs.Bogan is experiencing. Therefore, she worries about her and constantly ask about her. Now, we try to soothe Mrs Bogan by sending cards to her. Margie Dupree has always been faithful to the Lord and in return he has continued to provide and take care of her. Looking back, Mr and Mrs Bogan was a blessing sent from God to us and they faithfully followed his directions! God knew my mother had come to live with us and was now faced with emotional difficulties in changing churches. So he sent us Mr and Mrs Bogan which walked with her thru the transitional period.

We miss Mr Bogan but rejoice for him. I know my Mom will see him again.

Martha Rogers

Mr. Edwards was the closest person to John Wayne I would ever meet. He had the walk, talk, and style of John Wayne. Every Sunday as a young child or teen I walked through the foyer and would be welcomed by Mr. Edwards. He would start with a goofy joke and then end with a big hug. It’s crazy how the smallest things are impactful but I never forgot about Mr. Edwards as I grew up, but rather thought of how much I missed seeing his face those college Sunday’s in Ruston.

Cassidy Richardson

If you visited C.D. at home, you would find him in his overalls, but when he came to church, he usually wore a suit or sport coat, dress pants, tie and dress shoes; but he was also a man who loved his “cowboy” attire and boots. He was awarded the Purple Heart due to injuries sustained in World War II. Although C.D. was sometimes loud and outspoken, he had a pure Servant’s heart and reflected that in his position as a Deacon, Sunday School teacher, church member and sometimes choir member (in the “old” days when there were
only a few in the choir). When he prayed he always opened with, “Be still and know that I am God” (from Psalms 46:10). Now that I have fully researched that scripture, I have greater appreciation for his statement and I encourage you to research that scripture as well. He read his Bible daily and studied it carefully; he was always willing to share with others. He loved his church, the church family, his family members and friends. C.D. would attend church visitation, hospital visits, the men’s Sunday prayer group and church fellowships. I know that he is rejoicing in heaven and looking forward to meeting us all again when we depart this earth or Jesus comes again!

Submitted by his loving daughter,
Gloria Lewis McKinney

Also called Papoo, William Leach was someone I always admired and strived to be in his genuine love and kindness for others. He always had a smile on his face and welcomed us with open arms. He constantly prayed over us and shed tears each time. I remember a time down in Hornbeck when a new family had moved in down the street. We rode our four wheelers down to their house because Papoo wanted to introduce himself and let them know they could always call on him if needed. They were complete strangers to me, but to Papoo they were people created by God, loved by God, and loved by him. He exemplified Christ in all aspects of His life and left a legacy that will never be forgotten because he reflected the legacy of Christ.

Cassidy Richardson

One of the names on that Deacon list is a person I miss every single day, one of the original founders and charter members of Grawood Baptist Church, my Papa ( Grandfather ) Elbert Norris. Glad to see him being recognized for his many years of dedication to the church!

Chirstopher James Norris

This is so touching. My dad Buddy Mathenny loved Grawood so much and especially his church family there. He loved Mr. William like a brother and especially loved serving our Lord with many other deacon friends. We would love to join y’all in honoring all the other special men of God.

Thanks so much!!

Michelle Matheny Thomas

Growing up at Grawood Baptist Church provided me the privilege of knowing most all of these men. I was saved at this church, participated in Bible Memory Association, and discipled in a wonderful youth program. I will always be grateful for the influence these leaders had in the Grawood fellowship.
Of course, my father, Jimmy Edwards, had the greatest influence in my life. I know how fortunate I was to be his daughter. I realized at a young age how much my father loved the body of believers at this church. He taught Sunday school, ushered, and served as deacon for many years. Serving was a responsibility that he took pride and pleasure in doing. He looked
forward to not only seeing his brothers and sisters in Christ each Sunday but hugging as many folks as possible. He also enjoyed visiting people in homes and hospitals. My father was a servant at heart throughout his life. He lead with a gentle spirit but with an unwavering conviction.  The most impressive thing I noticed about the deacons was their faithfulness. Obviously, they
weren’t perfect but each one was committed to serve their Lord by serving others. They were faithful to attend church, to lead in various capacities, and to minister to the body. Mr. Connell would usually end all of his prayers by asking the Good Lord to bless all of us real good and I believe the Lord answered his prayers. The people of Grawood Baptist Church have been blessed indeed!

Lisa Edwards Falcon

William Leach, to know him was to know love. He showed us how to love hard (like he loved our Gram), how to work hard and how to love God.His laugh would light up the room and we never left him without a “love you babe”. Our tears are for us, not him, for he made this world better and brighter. 

Olivia Robinson

I have fond memories of these men that served as deacons. Beginning with Mr. Connell who my children referred to as the “candy man” because he always welcomed our family by giving our children candy when we came to church. He made it fun for them. 

I recall Allen Jinks as a quiet man that faithfully attended and served. He didn't say much but when he did, we listened. A role model.

There was C.H. Maulden who would go to camp with the youth and try to corral all those rowdy teenagers during camp week. He would open up his home to the college and career young people for a place to hang out, play billiards, and have bible studies. He was a generous man. (We still have his old pool table that he gave to my wife and I)

J.R. Stephenson had an incredible work ethic and a love for the people and the facilities of Grawood Baptist Church. A humble man that loved through countless acts of service.  

C.D. Lewis and his wife helped my wife and I move into the home we presently live in. I will never forget how that big old man took a vacuum cleaner wand and vacuumed the banisters of our new old home. When I look at those banisters, I am often reminded as to how humbly he served that day.

I can still see Ferrel Holt with those big old glasses and that bigger smile. I remember countless miles that he spent driving that old school bus for the youth on countless trips. Now he’s traveling streets of gold! 

Ned Elzey was a big man with a big heart. He meant so much to the Leach family. Mrs. Leach still shares stories of the love their families had for each other. 

Buddy Matheny was my Father in laws running buddy. They made countless visits together sharing the love of Christ with folks that visited Grawood. Those were two guys you wouldn't mind them dropping by! 

We loved going by Richard McCinnis’s house to sing Christmas Carols at Christmas. That family was an unforgettable part of our family's Christmas tradition. Now he gets to have Christmas every day with our Savior! 

I will always remember Carl Hawkins as the first man to give me the means to witness to others by giving me a gospel track to give to others. Something that scared me to death the first time I handed one out and something that he did consistently for the rest of his life.

Douge Clarke was a gentleman that I knew from afar. A godly man, a family man, a man whose reputation and legacy remains as what a deacon should be. 

Al Bogan was a mess, a good mess! He was the kind of guy you always liked seeing coming. He was quick with a smile and people still mention his name as a standard for what Grawood greaters should be! I think we should name the foyer after him!

 Mr. Leach, quite simply, was one of the greatest men I’ve ever known. He was in private what he was in public. A kind man that each time he prayed you were touched with the sincerity in which he did so. He was a leader in his home and a leader in his church. I miss him much and still can’t believe he let me marry his daughter.  

I never saw Jimmy Edwards without a smile. Hearing the recording of him praying by having it played at his funeral was one of the most powerful testimonies of a person's life that I have ever experienced. 

I am thankful for the impact these men had and are still having on my life as well as the lives of so many others. Grawood would not be what it is today, and what it will be, if not for the service of these great men. 

Keith Simmons

My dad, William Leach, the very first man that I loved! He left his imprint on my life and many others.  Dad was instrumental in many building projects at Grawood.  He knew that Grawood was special and had an amazing future.  Dad literally left his blood, sweat and tears on the grounds of our church. His goal was to grow a strong church in our community, to spread the Gospel thru Grawood and for Grawood to be a beacon in our community.  Dad was the cornerstone of our family and a cornerstone at our church.  A couple of years ago Dad and I were talking and he was telling me that every morning he would get up and get in his favorite recliner and read his Bible. Once his Bible reading was over he prayed daily and individually for his wife, children, their spouses, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  It meant so much to know that Dad was praying for all of us.  I’m sure Dad had to talk to the Lord a lot more about me than he did my brother and sister, Glynn and Fontaine!  In Dads obituary we wrote “Williams passion for the Lord leaves a legacy of a life well lived-a testimony of faith, family, and friendships.”

Colleen Mcdaniel

When I think of most of these deacons, they were here to hear Bro. Johnny Tipton who came to GBC in 1964. He seldom preached a sermon that we did not hear, without a vision, the people perish” from Proverbs 29:18. Soon the church was building the single-story building, parsonage, and the two-story building. Many members worked their jobs, came home and worked all hours on projects, and Bro Tipton worked as hard or harder than they did. He was knocking on doors during the day, too; although there were not nearly as many houses then as you see now.

Mr. George Giddings was the community barber. While he was cutting Bro R.O. Bazer’s hair they would talk about starting a church in the area. Mr. & Mrs. Giddings were the first members under the brush arbor. If folks went for haircuts, they got invited to church. When they chose deacons, he was the first. He was living on Haywood in one of the only eight houses on the street when William and I moved there.

Mr. Elbert Norris headed up the committee to build the first auditorium for the church (now Haywood Hall) He was a very quiet, kind-spirited man. He and his wife, Rose expanded their family by ministering to other children through foster care and adoption. Their son, Bobby and his bride, Milly, were the first couple to marry at GBC.

Mr. & Mrs. Rust built on Haywood in sight of the church, they joined GBC. He had been a deacon for years, and he was a founding member of Broadmoor Baptist Church.  He was a very humble, soft-spoken man with a servant spirit. He was a tremendous asset to GBC during those growing years.

Mr. & Mrs. Connell moved to Haywood from south Louisiana after being displaced by a bad hurricane. He had served as deacon in Buras, LA church before joining GBC. They were great neighbors and a loving, caring couple. 

I remember the Mauldins as being a very missio-minded couple. They moved to help out at the Westwood mission, supporting them and helping to make sure our mission survived during hard times.

Mr. Stephenson was a very humble, hard-working man.  When the beautiful hydrangeas bloom at the end of the two-story building. I have to pause and remember all the things he planted on our church grounds.  He and Mrs. Stephenson were so kind, and they loved all the children.

My best memory of Mr. Holt is hanging on for dear life when he drove the old school bus which served as the church bus. He and his wife were tremendous workers… always at the church and willing to help.

Ned Ellzey was a lifelong friend of mine.  We started 1st grade together and graduated from high school together.  When he and Shelby came toGBC, Ned could always see what needed to be done to create additional space to accommodate our growth. He would make it happen.

Buddy Matheny came to GBC as a deacon, and he knocked on doors in his job with Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office. He loved to knock on doors to share Jesus, and he was good at it, too.He loved people! He and William were best buds, and he has been sorely missed.

Mr. & Mrs. Richard McInnis were our precious neighbors across the street.  We loved them so much, and they loved our family.  They were just such good people. He was a great at hospital visiting, ministering in his quiet way to folks in need.

Mr. Hawkins came to GBC as a deacon, and my first thought of him is, “a soul winner.”  He loved people, but he had to know if they knew where they would spend eternity; and he would be so excited to reach a lost soul.  He had a heart for missions., and Westwood was one of them. He and Jeanette worked with others surveying the area out around Johns Gin Road to see if people might be interested in a church in the area.  The Lord blessed, and it was a vision that came to be a church.  Mr. Hawkins loved music, and he was a member of a quartet that I would love to hear now.

Al Bogan was the all-time greeter at Grawood.  He could sell you an automobile and sell you on coming to GBC… it just came naturally. He loved people, his family and his church family.  He helped people, and he always knew when there was a need.

To our kids C.D. Lewis was Paw Lewis and his wife was Lewisie.  He was a “worker” at church, painting probably every room and doing anything that needed to be done.  If someone was sick or had passed away and they found there was a need, off they went; and they would stay up all night or nights… whatever was needed, They were wonderful neighbors and our first visitor when we moved to Haywood in 1962.    They sort of “adopted” us and blessed our family so very much. 

From the days of a brush arbor meeting under a makeshift tin roof in 1961, Grawood Baptist Church has been blessed and God has honored by the commitment and faithfulness of these men and so many others who had a vision. To God be the Glory!

Gloria Leach

William Leach was a rare man who spent his entire adult life serving Grawood Baptist Church. Most of those years he was a deacon. In 1980, my family moved to Keithville, and William Leach and his wife Gloria came by my house to invite us to church. In 1985, he became my father in law when I married his daughter Colleen. Though he had plenty of reasons to be concerned about his daughter’s choice of a spouse, he always treated me with patience and kindness. He was the epitome of a man who devoted his life to God, his family, and his church. In 1986, Mr Leach became my employer, and from him I learned how to use a hammer, a saw, and all types of woodworking equipment. He taught me the importance of hard work, keeping the work sight clean, planning ahead, and sharing my faith. He was a man who could do anything…build a house, make cabinets, fix a water heater, figure out why an electric panel wasn’t working, or get a broken down car started. He was always ready for a crisis, carrying his tools everywhere he went, and he was always ready for a spiritual crisis by carrying a New Testament in his pocket at all times, ready to pray for someone in need, or read them a portion of scripture. He did not miss church…Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights, and on Monday nights he went visiting church prospects. He visited church members who were in the hospital whenever necessary, and he did this tirelessly into his 70s. As a man who valued the Bible above all earthly things, he became a Gideon and gave away hundreds of Bibles.

In 1987, I worked construction, and work was slow. That fall, I needed a full time job, so I applied for the Sheriff’s Office. There was no guarantee of getting hired, so while I waited, I worked for anyone I could. One week, I worked for Ned Ellzey who was a contractor. Ned and his wife Shelby grew up in Sabine Parish with my father and mother in law William and Gloria Leach. Ned was a tall, imposing man, but he was a good listener and had the habit of looking a person in the eye when he spoke to them with his slow, country accent. The way he communicated with people conveyed the fact that he cared about them. During the week I worked for him, Ned asked me about my application with the Sheriff’s Office. I told him I was reluctant to be a deputy because it could be a dangerous job , and I did not want to leave my wife uncared for. Ned told me, “Wel-l-l-l, I wouldn’t worry about that. The way I see it when it’s your time to go…it’s your time to go.” I didn’t know much about theology in those days, but what he said made good sense to me. Last year, I retired from the Sheriff’s Office after 34 years. 

I met Buddy Matheny on March 1, 1988. It was my first day as a Deputy Sheriff. I was working the jail, and Buddy was one of the deputies who transported prisoners. Another deputy told me Buddy was a Christian and very quiet. I remember thinking the deputy’s comment was unusual because he inferred Buddy was the only Christian who worked in the jail. Later, I found out there were Christians in uniform as well as behind bars, and I also found out Buddy Matheny was not an average Christian, nor was he as quiet as some people thought. Buddy was old enough to be my father, but we became close friends. He was concerned about the spiritual condition of everyone he met, and he talked to people about their only hope in this life and the one to come: Jesus Christ. Buddy worked in the Civil Department, getting up early in the morning to catch people before work and working late to catch them when they got home. Between those hours, he often came by and we talked, sometimes about wood working, knife making, and world events, but mostly about the gospel. He once told me that as a Christian, he was continually learning and growing closer to Christ, but two things happened to him the moment he was saved. Before salvation he had a foul mouth, but when he was saved, the Lord took that away. This was my experience at salvation as well, and in Buddy’s case, it was the reason people identified him as a Christian. The second thing that instantly changed in Buddy’s life was his desire to give to the church, and he continued to give to God’s Church without compulsion for the rest of his life.

Usher: an officer or servant who has the care of the door of a court, hall, or chamber. When I see this definition, I instantly think of Al Bogan. For decades, he was the keeper of the “door”. Al was the quintessential usher at Grawood Baptist Church. While a person could fulfill the duty of an usher by handing a visitor an order of service and pointing out a seat, Al systematically preformed his duties and added to them kindness, humor, and concern. For many members, he was the first impression and friend made at church. 

Jimmy Edwards was the epitome of humility. From a distance he resembled a gunfighter in cowboy boots and a western suit, but as you you got closer, you found a man with a smile and a firm, friendly handshake. Jimmy never seemed to have concerns of his own, instead he was concerned about what was going on in my life. Like Al Bogan, he was a faithful usher, providing service, friendship, and security all at the same time. As a young man, I often carried one of my three crying babies out of the auditorium and found Jimmy in the foyer. He always came to check on us. While I was frustrated and impatient with my rebellious, squirming children, Jimmy looked at them with wonder. Many times he asked me if he could kiss my babies on top of their head, and I consented. Each time his gentleness seemed to calm them, and each time he delighted in their presence. His perspective changed my perspective. I thanked God for it then, and I still do.

For decades, J R Stephenson was the church custodian and a deacon. After J R graduated from high school, he had a football scholarship to Louisiana Tech, but instead, he joined the army and fought in World War II. He was a quiet, soft-spoken man who always seemed to be at the right place at the right time. In addition to his duties as a custodian, J R was a gifted gardener who planted trees, flowers, and bushes which continue on the church campus to this day. I was converted at the age of 21, and the youth director at that time, Scott Camp, had regular prayer meetings with a handful of us in attendance. J R was always a part of those prayer meetings.

CD Lewis was a veteran of World War II who fought at Normandy on D-Day and carried shrapnel in his leg until the day he died. He was a truck driver and contractor who built houses which still stand in Breckinridge subdivision. Though he was a large, imposing man, he had a tender heart for children and those in need. 

Carl Hawkins was a tireless man. As the owner of several businesses, he was constantly busy, and like most businessmen, he had hobbies; however, Mr Hawkins hobbies weren’t like most men in his position. Instead of jogging, golf, or racket ball, Mr Hawkins hobbies were witnessing to the lost, preaching to inmates, and handing out Bibles, and these things he did as a matter of habit and not compulsion.

Mickey McDaniel

Mr. Bogan! What a big impression you have left on so many people! From the first time I ever walked into Grawood you made me feel so welcome! I can remember like it was yesterday and his smiling face! He always said “ Come on in here girl”! Sweet memories! A special memory was when Christy got married and Mr. Bogan’s granddaughter Melanie was one of Christy’s best friends! In fact Christy spent many hours at the Bogans The one memory that was so near and dear to me and probably Christy was when they were decorating for Christy’s wedding and Melanie called him and told him to bring a couple of Mrs. Christine’s ferns to use for decorating! It was just a few moments and up drove Mr Bogan with every fern they owned and it was a bunch! They used every one of them! Mr Bogan was just like that! Willing to help in anyway he could! I love him and his precious family! I will forever think of Mr. Bogan when I step in this church!

Jimmy Edwards! Mr. Jimmy would always be in the foyer handing out bulletins and peppermints! He always had a smile on his face and always welcomed anyone who came through those doors! He didn’t say much but you could just tell he was a good sweet man!

William Leach: I know Mr Leach loved his family! He was so attentive to Mrs. Gloria and nothing made him happier than to see his grandchildren fill up a pew! He was a very talented man of God and I understand that he helped build Haywood Hall! I enjoyed visiting with him at the bank where I worked or eye doctor whom we both used! Mr Leach loved God and others!

Doug Clark: He was a kind man who loved his wife, son and others with his whole heart! I can remember being on First Impressions Team and opening the door for him and Tammy and he always had that big smile!

Mr. Buddy Matheny! I wasn’t at Grawood at the time of his service as a deacon but I remember him by knowing his wife Mrs Peggy and daughter Michelle! What a beautiful family! I can remember on his last days them bringing him to church in his wheelchair and oxygen! His homecoming services proved how well he was loved! Standing room only! Vickie Crittenden Allen Connell was such a friendly person! He would always come over to me and Charles and shake our hands and welcome us to Grawood! He made people constantly feel welcome.

Vickie Crittenden

Mr. Leach was raised in the same area with my grand father and my wife’s dad. My first real experience with him was in our Gideon camp. He was always a hard worker in the camp and had a heart for providing the Word of God to others. We also served on the finance committee together at a time that no one really wanted that job. He always served with reverence and dignity. His past experience and calm gave everyone around him a sense of purpose. I miss his stories and how they reminded me of the simpler times when he and my grand father were children.

Bentley Evans

After I joined Grawood, I was always greeted with a smile from Al Bogan and Jimmy Edwards in the vestibule, I also remember the sweet prayers of Carl Hawkins and William Leach. Then, I would hear a,"Hi, neighbor" from C.D. Lewis. It was, however, Joe Spigener's Sunday morning kiss that really embarrassed me until i realized that Joe Spigener kissed almost everybody on Sunday mornings! 

The deacon I remember best was Norman M. Hyde, my father. Norman was a quiet, gentle man who served as a teacher and deacon for many years at Calvary Baptist Church before moving to Keithville, joining Grawood and serving here as a deacon. Norman would have been honored to have known that he actually had three pastors officiating at his funeral. His pastor at the time was Bob McCartney who officiated, however, Brother Step Martin and Brother Johnny Tipton asked to speak. Norman Hyde always considered it an honor to serve his Lord in any way possible. 

With Reverence and Honor, 

Elizabeth Hyde Scott

Al Bogan was a constant presence in our deacon body. He had such a welcoming personality. He was one of the very first deacons that welcomed me in as a believer. When I became pastor I would come to know Mr. Bogan in a deeper way. When I arrived at church on Sundays we would spend time together in the gym talking about his grandsons and them playing football. Many Friday nights were spent at games watching them and supporting their dreams. I would also see the depth of love he had for his church as he gathered every Sunday to pray with me and others. It was always such an encouragement to hear him pray for me as I was getting ready to preach. Al has always been a big part of my life before and during my ministry at Grawood and I am forever thankful for his life and testimony.

Jimmy Edwards was a man with an infectious laugh and a big heart. Often times just being around him and his light hearted attitude would cheer you up instantaneously. I would spend my Sunday mornings praying with him and others for our church service. In those moments I really got to see the love this man had for his church. He loved well and those who knew him felt loved. I always knew he loved my family. Being a father of girls was a connecting point between me and him. He talked so sweetly about his girls and he taught me so much about how to love my girls. When my girls would walk into the church doors, they were met with the smile of Jimmy Edwards and big hugs for them. The man knew how to love well.

William Leach was one of the most gentle men I knew. He spent years serving as a deacon. He was also one of the men that helped physically build our church. He literally poured his blood, sweat and tears into our church and for that I am eternally grateful. On my journey of ministry, William Leach was a constant presence. He would support me financially multiple times on mission trips and afterwards he would ask me what the Lord had done while on mission. Time spent with Mr. William reaped great benefits because you would see his love for the church and his desire to see the kingdom grow. When I became pastor, he would become one of the greatest encouragers in the pastorate. To know him is to know a sincere and compassion filled heart.

Doug Clarke was a man after God’s own heart. My first memories of Doug was playing basketball with him at the church. How he treated me early in my spiritual journey was one of the reasons I stuck around. He was a man that loved life to the fullest. He had a joy and you could visibly see that in his life. He was a man that loved his church family, but more importantly his wife and son. I remember through the years Doug being such an encouragement to me and my ministry at Grawood. He was also the only person I knew that didn’t get mad at me when I joked about his football team. His desire was to always honor God with his service. Many times I would see him at the church working on things and he never asked for accolades or praise. He simply did what he did because he loved deeply. That was just who he was no matter what environment you saw him in.

Chris Willcutt

I am a deacon and if I can represent Christ as well as Carl Hawkins, William Leach, Jimmy Edwards, Al Bogan and Doug Clarke did in their lives I will be thankful!! These are the ones that had an impact on my life. Mr Hawkins never missed an opportunity to share Christ with anyone he came in contact with. Mr Leach was the most humble servant I knew. Mr Edwards and Mr Bogan were always in the foyer with a bulletin and handshake or hug with everyone who came through those doors. Mr Edwards laugh was infectious and I miss it dearly. Mr Bogan was there before the Pastors were on Sunday doing all kinds of service that was seldom seen. My brother in Christ Doug Clarke was a prime example of being a light for Christ. Everywhere he was he would light up the place. I never saw that man without a smile on his face. I am blessed to have known these men and proud to have served alongside them!!

Steve Summerlin

Jim Rizer

I was glad to have shared with Jim this past year, something that I had always appreciated about him over the years, and that was the way he listened. He was obviously a very intelligent and important man but always seemed interested in what I might have to say. He never seemed to rush the conversation or appear disengaged. He had a way of making you feel important and valued. I told him, “Jim, you always make me feel a few inches taller after each time we visit”. Even during our most recent visits in his retirement home over this past year, he never failed to ask how I and my family were doing. He was a very interesting man that was genuinely interested in others. He encouraged, he was present, he was kind and considerate. I will miss visiting with Jim. I will miss the way he listened. I look forward to talking with him again!

Keith Simmons

Jim Rizer

You could say Jim Rizer beat the odds. Every graph on evangelism shows the likelihood of adults being converted to Christ to be be far lower than that of young people, and the higher the age the lower the likelihood, but Jim was close to 60 when he was saved. I knew him before his conversion and always found him affable with his slow midwestern drawl, and he was a successful business man, well educated, and hard working. In those pre-redemption years, Jim was a good husband and father, and in the eyes of the world (and many Christians) he was a good man. If morality could save a man, Jim was in the upper echelon with the best of them.

However, if Jim was with us now, he would make no claim on his odds of salvation or boast in his morality…no, Jim would speak of grace…God’s grace because it was grace that made all the difference in his life. It made such a difference that it made him a new man. It made such a difference that it gave him eternal life.

Before he was saved, Jim lived in the world and was a product of the world and what it had to offer, but the world did not fulfill its promises. Every human being is born with the pursuit of self pleasure. God made us to please him, but man fell in the garden, and the children of man inherited his nature. The problem is, pleasure never delivers, but unless the Holy Spirit brings a man to this realization, he’ll continue to believe the lie. 

The Holy Spirit convicted Jim of his sin, and he fled to Christ. The moment it occurred, all things became new. Jim was a new man, a redeemed man. Though I still recognized the old Jim, his behavior was transformed. His former pursuit of pleasure gave way to sobriety and charity. He visited the sick and grieving. He prayed for those in need. He was kind to strangers. He worshipped Christ alone.

Just a few months ago, Jim’s transformation was completed. Now he sees Christ face to face. Now he knows fully just as he is fully known, and if he could speak of us now, I believe he would remind us of 2 Corinthians 5:21: “God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God through him.” 

At the end of our lives it won’t be about what we’ve done but about what Jesus has done in our place. This is the hope that Jim Rizer carried with him until the end, and it is the only hope for us all.

Mickey McDaniel

My friend Jim Rizer was a great man who loved his family, friends and the Lord. I came to know him in the 1990s when our family joined the Grawood family. Jim & Bev were welcoming and always made me laugh. Jim was a little different since he was a "Yankee" but we loved him in spite of that flaw. 

  I can remember him cutting grass at his daughter Shanae's house.  Full brim hat, smoking a cigar, riding his lawnmower, oftentimes in the extreme heat. Jim was a happy man. I would imagine that Mr. Jim had plenty of money to pay someone to do that job. But I knew Mr Jim. That was just a little opportunity to express his love for those girls. He loved his family and they loved him. 

   He was a member of the deacon body when I was ordained and was someone I looked up to. To be able to serve with such a great man is an incredible honor. One that I won't forget.

Thank you Jim and Bev for your contribution to me, our family, Grawood Baptist Church and God's Kingdom. 

Well Done.

Clint McCullough

Mr. Jim Rizer:

I did not know Mr. Jim very well, but served with him as a fellow Deacon.  For months Mr. Jim and I would cross paths in the mornings at the same health spa before we realized we knew each other from Grawood Baptist Church!  We would pass one another and greet each other, and then one day it dawned on us both, at the same time, “hey, I know that guy”!  We had a good laugh and from then on, the cordial greetings became an anticipated conversation that I looked forward to every week.  He was funny, very knowledgeable, served the Lord, and was pleasant company.

John B. Edmonds

Mr and Mrs Rizer were a big influence in our life from the time we joined Grawood in 2004. They welcomed us from day one and Mr. Jim impacted my life through Ironmen and Deacon ministries. He served selflessly for as long as his health allowed. My family will always treasure our time spent with Mr and Mrs Jim Rizer!!  

Steve and Donna Summerlin

Jim was such a Godly man, always giving God the glory. My visits were always talking about the stock market and golf!

Tommy Remedies

Jim Rizer,

My fondest memory of Mr. Rizer was playing golf. I don’t play golf and he drew the short straw and got me. He patiently showed me how to hold the club and swing, and laughed loudly as I missed the ball or hit it over my left shoulder. He finally decided that I should just putt. He was a Godly man willing to listen and loved his family. He was very proud of his family and bragged on his grandkids.

Bentley Evans