LITHIA SPRINGS — Cornerstone Baptist Church was filled to near capacity on Saturday, Feb. 25 for the memorial service for Terry Braswell, Sr., who had ministered in the area for more than four decades and died three days earlier.
Beginning at age 16, Braswell began working with the Gene Davis White Columns Funeral Home in a variety of roles, remaining close to the business throughout his adult life. His involvement there was a ministry, but as a young adult God called Terry into full-time Gospel ministry.
Braswell was a graduate of Douglas County High School and New Orleans Seminary. He served as pastor of Austin Avenue Baptist Church in Marietta and Doss Memorial Baptist Church in Powder Springs prior to being called to be the associational missionary for West Metro Baptist Association, where he served for 16 years until his retirement.
Significantly involved in the life of the denomination, Braswell was elected as first vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention. In addition, he served as a trustee of Brewton-Parker College and LifeWay Christian Resources as well as on numerous other committees in the state and national conventions.
The memorial service for the Baptist minister was beautifully accented by a large choir led by Terry Perryman, minister of worship at Beulah Baptist Church in Douglasville. Lifelong preacher friends Johnny Foster and Dan Houston addressed the congregation with fond remembrances of personal experiences with Braswell.
Foster recounted Braswell’s call into the Gospel ministry and Houston reviewed some adventurous experiences he and Braswell had while traveling to and attending the School of the Prophets at First Baptist Church in Dallas and the Pastor’s Conference at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville.
Braswell also had his Muslim physician, Dr. Yahya Khalid Siddiq, add his comments at the memorial service. The Braswells had befriended Siddiq, who recalled a meal shared at Wallace’s Bar B Q where Terry recommended the pork plate as the best item on the menu.
While some may have identified Terry Braswell Sr. with his characteristic bowties, matching handkerchiefs or his love for Wallace’s Bar B Q and Brandi’s hot dogs, his greater love was for preachers and preaching. He often talked about the art of crafting sermons, the great preachers he had heard, and the joy he experienced at every opportunity he had to proclaim God’s Word.
However, most of all he loved his wife, Kathy, and his family. But no one rivaled the love he had for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Harris Malcom, Georgia Baptist regional missionary and friend of Braswell, commented, “My friend Terry Braswell was a gentleman, a servant, and a lover of preachers. He loved to preach and sit under God’s preachers. He was a loyal Georgia Baptist and Southern Baptist ready to serve and support anytime he was given opportunity. I always loved visiting with Terry. Terry made it extremely obvious that he cared for his friends. Although he loved to talk, he also loved to listen. Whether on the phone or in person he encouraged me.”
Kenneth Hennesy, pastor of Union Grove Baptist Church in Lithia Springs, was a friend and significantly involved in the association Braswell served. He stated, “Brother Terry was a godly servant of the kingdom of God. He was selfless and sacrificial in everything he did. His life was an example of surrender and servitude.
“He invested himself in our association and its churches, and especially in the pastors. He often did it at great sacrifice. He saw the value and importance of taking time with each person he encountered, no matter who they were. Everyone mattered to him and he made everyone feel important.
“He befriended me many years ago when I was just beginning at Union Grove and has been a great source of encouragement, advice, and help over the years. Whenever I had a need, he was there to help. He and Kathy have been such a blessing to my family and me.”
Where strength is found
Hennesy continued, “He worked tirelessly as our associational missionary as he ministered to churches and pastors. He sought to lead us to work together in partnership for the good of the Kingdom. He believed our strength and ability to share the gospel all over the world as Southern Baptists was grounded in our strength at home manifested through our ability to work together.”
Terry Braswell Sr. suffered primarily from diabetes and had been on dialysis for months, but the dialysis ceased to be effective a month prior to his death. The doctors predicted that once the dialysis was no longer effective he would die in approximately a week. But, he continued to live for almost a month due to the care of his wife and family and the peaceful atmosphere of the home.
They may have well been another contributor to his additional weeks of life. He seemed to have absolutely no fear of death. In fact, people commented that while Terry Braswell Sr. taught us how to live, he also taught us how to die.
He was survived by survived by his wife of 46 years, Kathy Sebren Braswell; children Terry and Stephanie Braswell of Villa Rica, Julie and Mike King of Douglasville; grandchildren Mary Kate King and Andy King; sisters and brother, Martha and Harvey Riggins of Douglasville Janie Kidd of Lithia Springs, Jerry and Gloria Braswell of Douglasville as well as cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.