Rev. Ernest A. Stiles, Sr., 97, of Robbinsville, NC, eldest son of Oliver and Earie Stiles, went home to be with the Lord on Monday, November 19, 2018.
Funeral Services will be held at 3:00 pm Sunday, November 25, 2018 at Fontana Community Church in Fontana Village Resort, Fontana Dam, NC. The family will receive friends from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Sunday at the Church, prior to the service. Committal services will be held at 11:00 am Monday, November 26, 2018 at Old Mother Cemetery with Military Rites conducted by the NC National Guard Honor Guard.
This is Rev. Stiles’ accounting of his life, in his own words, published in the 1992 Graham County Heritage, North Carolina, Vol. 1: “Ernest Stiles, Sr. was born at Tuskeegee, lived first seven years in Swain County, moved back to Graham County with his family at the age of eight. I grew up in the Sweetwater section on my Dad's farm. My family attended Sweetwater and Mountain Creek Baptist Church. I was converted at the age of eighteen and joined the First Baptist Church, Robbinsville, during a spring revival. I graduated from the Robbinsville High School in 1942 and was drafted into the Army shortly thereafter. After completion of basic training I was sent to the Pacific for further training in Hawaii. I participated in three beach landings, New Guinea and the Philippines.”
“After discharge I attended and graduated from Columbia Bible College with a B.A. degree. While there I met and married Juanita Shuford. We have one son, Ernest, Jr.; seven daughters: Brenda Joyce (deceased), Gloria (Hardy), Loretta (Craven), Linda (Buttram), Angela (Old), Jacqueline (Wilson), and Melissa (Whitaker). We have seven grandsons, Tyson, Rob, Jonathan (deceased), Bryan, Joshua, Jack Ernest, and Zachary; eleven granddaughters, Debbie, Cindy, Christie, Casey, Jodi, Jessie, Sarah, Amanda, Heather, Lacy and Ashley; two great Granddaughters, Molly and Katie.”
“I graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1951 with a B.A. Degree, and from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1955 with a B.Div. and M. Div. Degree. I was ordained as a minister of the Gospel in 1952 by the Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky…”
“For the next 30 years I served as full-time pastor of six Southern Baptist churches; ten years in Mississippi, three years in Tennessee, thirteen years in eastern North Carolina, and four years in western North Carolina.”
“At the age of 70, in semi-retirement, I am presently serving and have served for six years. as pastor of the Fontana Community Church of Fontana Dam, N.C. and presently residing on what was once my father's farm.”
Rev. Stiles continued in the ministry at Fontana to the spring of 2009 when he retired at the age of 87.
Since 1992, his family increased to 26 grandchildren, 40 great grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren. He is also survived by 2 brothers, Garrett “Bud” Stiles of Orlando Florida, and Charles W. Stiles of Robbinsville, NC and Tennessee.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Juanita Shuford Stiles; daughters, Melissa Stiles Whitaker and Brenda Joyce Stiles; grandsons, Jonathan Hardy and Ryan Craven.
“Go rest high on that mountain. Your work on earth is done.”
Townson-Smith Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Stiles family. An online register is available at www.townson-smithfuneralhome.com.