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Cedar Bluff church mourns sudden death of Pastor Creed Penlandcomment (0)

January 5, 2006

William Creed Penland, pastor of Farill Baptist Church, Cedar Bluff, died suddenly Dec. 16 while at work at the Cherokee County Jail. He was 57.

His death, thought to have been caused by sudden death syndrome due to coronary artery disease, came as a shock to those close to him.

Penland, who had served as part-time pastor of the Cherokee Baptist Association church for the past six years, was well-loved by church members, co-workers and inmates alike, said Lewis Conaway, fellow corrections officer and pastor of Salem Baptist Church, Piedmont, in Cherokee Association.

“He had only worked full time as a Cherokee County corrections officer for eight months, but the people here loved him,” Conaway said. “It’s been a great loss for all of us here at the jail.”

Penland’s wife, Kay, said it is comforting to her and the couple’s 13-year-old son, Brian, that their husband and father impacted lives through his ministry at both his occupations. “He did a lot of wonderful work, and we are all taking it hard — even the inmates are grieving,” she said. “Nothing’s going to make [this time] easy, but it is comforting to know he did touch so many people.”

Penland, a native of Leicester, N.C., was ordained in 1969. He spent the first half of his more than 30-year ministry preaching and doing missions work on a Cherokee reservation in North Carolina. He and his family then moved to Alabama, where he served as pastor of an independent church in Jamestown before moving on to Farill Baptist.

“We really hated to lose him. He had a good spirit about him — always laughing and always willing to help,” said Wendell Dutton, director of missions for Cherokee Association.

Dutton added that Penland was “a good guy to have as a friend” and made friends easily with everyone he met.

Conaway agreed. “He was fun-loving and easygoing. He always played the guitar at church, and his church had good relationships with the other churches in the association,” he said. “And at the jail, most of them (the inmates) talk about how he understood them and could relate to them. He was a good man.” (TAB)

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