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Rev John Asa Hamrick, Sr
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Birth: Jan. 17, 1916
Death: Oct. 24, 2004
Charleston County
South Carolina, USA

The Reverend Dr. John Asa Hamrick died at his residence early Sunday morning, October 24, 2004.

The friends and family of Dr. Hamrick are invited to attend his funeral service, Wednesday, October 27, 2004 at twelve thirty PM in First Baptist Church, 48 Meeting Street, Charleston. Friends may call from ten until twelve in the church fellowship hall. Interment will be private.

Dr. Hamrick was born on January 17, 1916, the son of Dr. and Mrs. Clarence Thomas Hamrick.

He attended Charleston schools and graduated from the High School of Charleston. After high school, he attended the College of Charleston, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He graduated from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Theology degree. He was ordained by the by the First Baptist Church of Charleston, SC, and he was called to serve this church as pastor in 1940. His last semester at the seminary he commuted by plane from Louisville to Charleston until he graduated. The First Baptist Church of Charleston, founded in 1682 and located at 61 Church Street since 1699 was a fairly small congregation when he assumed the pastorate. During his twenty nine year tenure the pastorate membership grew from 200 to 1400 and the church facilities quadrupled through acquisition of surrounding property, restoration, and construction of new facilities. In 1949, Dr. Hamrick founded the First Baptist Church Day School and served as the Superintendent until 1969. The school has Christian education as its primary goal and today it continues its tradition of excellence as an accredited private college preparatory school of 500 students in grades kindergarten through twelfth grade.

In 1953 Furman University honored Dr. Hamrick with the Doctor of Divinity degree in recognition of his service to his denomination on the local, state, and national level. He also served as a Trustee of Furman University. In 1965 he was awarded the Doctor of Laws degree by the Atlanta Law School. A leader among South Carolina Baptists, in 1948 he and Loulie Latimer Pettigrew, a Greenville historian and author, founded the South Carolina Baptist Historical Society. He was the first President. In 1951, he was the youngest person ever elected to serve as President of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. He was a member of the Southern Historical Society and the Radio and Television Commission, where he served as Secretary.

Dr. Hamrick is probably best known today for his leadership in the founding and building of Charleston Southern University (formerly the Baptist College of Charleston). The College under his leadership from 1964 until 1983 grew from an idea to become one of the largest church related liberal arts colleges in the Southeast. Under his 19 years of leadership, the school became a forty million-dollar institution with over 2,000 students. He describes this beginning and growth in a book published in 2003, "The Hand of God in Building A Christian University." He also led in organizing the Charleston Higher Education Consortium, involving all of the institutions of higher learning in the Charleston area, and served as its first president. In all of these endeavors of Christian ministry and education, Dr. Hamrick was supported and encouraged by his wife of 43 years, Margaret Clare Kelly Hamrick, who died in 1982 after a long illness. Dr. Hamrick's life of service has been recognized by his community as well as his denomination.
He received the Rotary Club's "Service Above Self" Award, The Sertoma Club's "Service to Mankind" Award, The Kiwanis Club's Citizenship Award and the Salvation Army's "Good Samaritan" Award. In 1982 he was given the "Silver Beaver Award" by the Boy Scouts of America for "Service to Youth" Beyond his community, he was named "Man of the South" in 1979 by Dixie Business Magazine and listed in Marquis "Who's Who in America 1980-1981." He was most recently recognized in 1933 when he was named Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Charleston and in 1994 when re received the Order of the Palmetto from the Governor of South Carolina. He also served on the Charleston County Disabilities Board for many years as the YMCA board. In his retirement, Dr. Hamrick continued his involvement in Christian ministry and education. Dr. Hamrick served as Interim Pastor of the Ashley River Baptist Church in 1984 and the First Baptist Church of Charleston in 1993-1994 and 1995. Dr. Mitch Carnell, a Charleston teacher and lecturer in communications said "Dr. Hamrick was the most provocative minister I have ever known. His breadth of knowledge, his razor sharp logic and spiritual insight, combined with his dynamic style always left me eager for more. Carefully choosing each word to convey a specific thought, he did not beat you over the head with it. Instead, he framed an idea and expected you to work through it. He never tired of answering my questions. He had the unique ability to see an issue from all sides and to engage you in taking another look. He personified his credo that if God give you a task to do, He also provides a way for you to do it. The effect he had on my life, my view of God, and my understanding of the responsibility of Christian in the world is immeasurable. He was my pastor, my mentor, and my friend."

Dr. Hamrick is survived by his wife of 21 years, Jane Scarpa Ezell Hamrick; one son, John A. Hamrick, Jr. of Charleston, SC; two daughters, Carol Ezell-Gilson and her husband Tom of Charleston, SC, Mary Nance Ezell McDonough and her husband, Terrence of Knoxville, TN; son-in-law, Dr. John Hollingsworth of Greenwood, SC; eight grandchildren, Margaret Dana H. Marchant and her husband Rob of Charleston, SC, Dr. John Hollingsworth and his wife Lynn of Anderson, SC, Diomeded Franklin Hollingsworth and his wife, Mandy of Fountain Inn, SC, Sarah Hollingsworth Dunagan and her husband Stobie of Boone, NC, Nicholas, Ryan, Eleanor, and Nathan McDonough all of Knoxville, TN; two brothers, Dr. Clarence Thomas Hamrick, Jr. and his wife Sunny and Dr. Fitzhugh Nicholson Hamrick and his wife Nancy Hart both of Charleston, SC; eleven great-grandchildren, Jake and Julie of Anderson, SC, Erin, Reid, Alex, and Clare of Boone, NC, Josie and Annabelle of Fountain Inn, SC, and Elise and Celeste of Charleston, SC.

Dr. Hamrick was predeceased by one daughter, Margaret Clare (Peggy) Hamrick Hollingsworth and one sister, Marjorie Hamrick Borom.

Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church School, Dr. John A. Hamrick Scholarship or Dr. John A. Hamrick Lectureship, 48 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401 or Charleston Southern University, Dr. John Asa Hamrick Endowed Scholarship, P.O. Box 118087, Charleston, SC 29423 
Family links: 
  Clarence Thomas Hamrick (1884 - 1963)
  Myrtle Esman Hamrick (1891 - 1977)
  Margaret Clare Kelly Hamrick (1914 - 1982)*
  Margaret Hamrick Hollingsworth (1943 - 2003)*
  John Asa Hamrick (1945 - 2013)*
  John Asa Hamrick (1916 - 2004)
  Marjorie Hamrick Borom (1917 - 2002)*
*Calculated relationship
Note: He is interred next to his wife, Margaret K. Hamrick.
Live Oak Memorial Gardens
Charleston County
South Carolina, USA
Created by: Juanda Owens B.
Record added: Nov 08, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31233503
Rev John Asa Hamrick, Sr
Added by: Juanda Owens B.
Rev John Asa Hamrick, Sr
Added by: Juanda Owens B.
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Click on image for full size.

- Juanda Owens B.
 Added: Feb. 26, 2013

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