Greg Long is retiring after 30 years as pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Maryville at the end of December. He has been the longest tenured serving pastor in Pleasant Grove’s 191-year history. Before coming to Pleasant Grove, he pastored two other churches in Tennessee. Greg and his wife, Susan, will continue to reside in Maryville.
John Thomas “Tom” Everett, former pastor of Lonsdale Baptist Church, Knoxville, and retired director of Western Heights Baptist Center in Knoxville, died Oct. 22. He was 81. Along with his late wife, Shirley, they served at Western Heights for 30 years. He is survived by two children and a granddaughter.
Joseph “Joe” Edward Wiles, retired director of missions of Stone Association of Southern Baptists and pastor of University Heights Baptist Church, Cookeville and former TBMB collegiate Ministry specialist at Tennessee Tech University where he served for 22 years, died Nov. 21 at the age of 80. Wiles was a Vietnam War era veteran and served for 22 years with the Putnam County Fire Department including service as the Battalion Commander for western Putnam County. He also served as a Christian counselor. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Anna Lee; three children; six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Russell Gene Flatt, 77, of Cookeville, died Nov. 30. He was a pastor, jack of all trades and licensed electrician. At the age of 15 he surrendered his life to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Throughout his 60 years of ministry, he pastored churches in Tennessee, Louisiana and Kentucky. He was pastor emeritus of University Heights Baptist Church, Cookeville. He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Dorothy Birdwell Flatt, three children, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Thomas Wayne Mattox, retired pastor of Center Point Baptist Church, Leoma, died during the summer at the age of 72. He is survived by three children and seven grandchildren.
Carson-Newman University, Jefferson City, celebrated some 190 graduates during its Winter Commencement on Dec. 7. Gatlinburg’s Ken Jenkins, a natural history photographer and author delivered the commencement address.