Rev. Virgil Caldwell

On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, God called the Rev. Dr. Virgil Julius Caldwell to his heavenly home and to be united with the love of his life, his wife, Ruby.
Virgil was the son of the late Rev. James A. Caldwell and Mrs. Scottie V. Caldwell of Jackson.
He was preceded in death by two sisters, Nellie J. Foust and Jimmie R. Warford.
Dr. Caldwell attended the former Merry High in Jackson. He completed his undergraduate work at Lane College in Jackson, where he earned his bachelor of arts degree. He then served two years of military service in Korea. In 1957, he received a master of arts degree from Columbia University in New York. He continued his education by earning his doctorate degree of ministry from Luther Rice Seminary in Jacksonville, Fla.
Dr. Caldwell was a kind, stern, but soft-spoken, multi-talented man who touched the hearts and lives of many individuals who were fortunate enough to know him. With his Christian principles and genuine interest in equal rights and humanity, he kindled a spark in the lives of all who knew him. He had a dynamic personality and his belief in the potentiality of his past students contributed to their success, both from an academic, religious and personal development standpoint.
Dr. Caldwell was the author of 18 books and also had written and performed numerous plays. He had written Sunday school literature for more than two decades for the National Baptist Convention. He was an outstanding musician. He had recorded three albums, while playing the saxophone and the piano.
Dr. Caldwell discontinued his employment as a public school social studies teacher, choir director and band instructor in Union City when he was called to be the pastor of New Monumental Baptist Church in 1968. He served that congregation, as did his first lady, Ruby, for 40 years. He retired in 2008 and was given the honor of pastor emeritus.
Dr. Caldwell has served as moderator of the Chattanooga District Association and president of the Tennessee BM&E Convention.
He loved to travel and had gone all over the United States to preach the gospel. He had traveled to several countries, but his most rewarding experience was the opportunity to visit the Holy Land and to preach in Liberia in Africa. Not only traveling for religious purposes, he enjoyed driving long distances with his family every summer and holidays with his family. The family trips were always teachable moments aimed at enhancing their learning experiences to assure his four children would be well-rounded individuals.
Dr. Caldwell’s kindred spirit always believed the best in everyone. He never missed an opportunity to make others happy. Not only did Dr. Caldwell love this song, he lived this song: “If I can help somebody, as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody, with a word or song, if I can show somebody how they’re traveling wrong, then my living shall not be in vain.”
The family requests that memorial contributions be made to “Hands on Productions” in care of Cedric and Victor Caldwell, 517 Copperfield Way, Brentwood, TN 37027; or Lane College, 544 Lane Ave., Jackson, TN  38301, in memory of the Rev. Dr. Virgil J. Caldwell.
Dr. Caldwell is survived by his four children and their spouses, Cedric J. and Angie Caldwell of Brentwood, Victor W. and Sharon Caldwell of Franklin, Scottie B. Caldwell and Alan Knox of Chattanooga and Christy C. and Carlous Drake of Chattanooga; his  grandchildren and the spouse of one, Christian Allana, Carlous and Janelle, Julius, Ryan, Camille, Jade, Jaylon and Christopher; his great-granddaughter, Jourdyn; several nephews, nieces and cousins; and a host of family and friends.
Funeral services were set for today at noon at New Monumental Baptist Church, with Pastor Rodrick Ware officiating and the Rev. Kenneth Scaife as eulogist. Interment was to follow in Chattanooga National Cemetery at 2:30.
A musical and memorial and musical celebration was held Thursday at the church.
John P. Franklin Funeral Home at 1101 Dodds Ave. in Chattanooga was in charge of arrangements.

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