By Toby Crowder
On Thursday morning, August 17, 2023, “Preacher Bob” McCurry finally beheld what he had spent over fifty years preaching about. When I received the news that he had passed, my heart was broken, but I rejoiced for my friend as I began to realize that he had finally made it home.
I told someone that day that I felt sure Bob was finally at the intersection of Hallelujah Avenue and Glory Boulevard just as we’d heard him say so many times. Robert L. McCurry was born on January 3, 1943, in Erwin TN to Hanford and Bonnie McCurry. As a young man, he met the love of his life, Carolyn, through a relative and they were later married on July 8, 1967. After five or six years of marriage, Bob and Carolyn were attending Unicoi Baptist Church where Bob served as a Deacon and Sunday School Teacher and eventually announced his calling into the Gospel ministry. His son Bryan was five, and daughter Beth was two, when the Lord opened the door for Bob and Carolyn to be called to Spring Creek Baptist Church in Buladean where they would faithfully serve as Pastor and wife, for almost 50 years. Bob was working at Magnavox at the time, and he continued there until July of 1975 when they stepped out on faith and entered full-time ministry. Their younger son Israel came along later in 1983. Together they built a life and ministry, along with their three children Bryan, Beth, and Israel and later became “Pappy & Mimmie” to their six grandchildren: Peyton, Gabriel, Jackson, Deegan, Zoey, and Judson. Bob liked to say that your family was the only thing that you could take with you to Heaven, and he was able to lead all nine of his children and grandchildren to the Lord and baptize them.
Bob and his family faithfully made the commute across the mountain to Buladean until June of 1976, when they moved into their home just below the church which had been started earlier in the Spring of that year. Over the next several decades, Bro. Bob faithfully preached the Word of God as he continued to Pastor Spring Creek, and preach revivals that called him to Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and all over both Carolinas. Bob also had a burden for the people of Jamacia and made at least twenty-six trips there over his ministry, faithfully preaching the Gospel.
Bob was a friend to everyone, and especially to other men of God and preachers that he encountered. Most preachers and members alike were amazed at Bob’s ability to memorize Scripture and quote several passages without opening his Bible. Bro Bob was able to “read it off the walls of his mind” and his sermon titles were always unique and memorable. One of his favorite phrases was “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills” and “Your problem is never too big for God.” Bro Bob had a gift for keeping the message simple and focused on Jesus. His wife, Carolyn, told me recently “We are just simple people, and I am amazed with all that the Lord could do with just simple people. I just want to brag on the Lord and how he used him.”
When asked if Bob had a favorite Scripture, Carolyn said that it would be hard to choose because he had so many favorites, but she always remembered that Bob would use John 14:6 when he was talking to people about salvation and letting them know that “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” If that was Bob’s favorite Scripture would be hard to say, but “Lamb” was Bob’s favorite name for Jesus, and that certainly was his message… that Jesus, the Lamb of God, is the only way.
As we celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month, I am so thankful for the time that I knew Bob McCurry. My first memories of hearing him preach were on a borrowed cassette tape of the message “Eagle Christians” when I was a teenager. Later, he and I formed a friendship as he did with many other Pastors in this area, and that friendship was a great blessing in my life. Bro. Bob was a very special servant of God and will long be remembered in this area and Association as Pastor, Friend, Mentor, and Man of God. It was always a blessing to hear him close a service by thanking God for what he was “doing for my friends around this altar.”
Preacher Bob made a big impact on this area, and on the many lives that he touched. May we follow his example in our ministry, and never lose sight of the simple truth of the Gospel that he preached for over fifty years. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life!
Pastor – Mt. Carmel Baptist Church
Toby Crowder serves as Pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Spruce Pine. He and his wife Leslie have been married for 28 years and have two daughters, Emilee, and Katy. He can be contacted via the church’s website MCfamilyforChrist.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read more from Pastor Crowder here.