Carver, Gary Linn

Longtime Minister And Author Cherished His Family

  • Monday, March 27, 2023
Gary Linn Carver
Gary Linn Carver

Dr. Gary Linn Carver, 76, lost his battle with vascular / kidney disease on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 while at CHI Memorial Hospital of Chattanooga.

Gary was a minister for over 50 years; served multiple churches in Indiana, Alabama, and Tennessee; and was blessed as a gifted “storyteller” of faith and God’s love. Unlike his parables, his life cannot be compressed into 60 seconds.

Gary was born April 28, 1946, in Gadsden, Al., to Lavoid and Louise Boyles Carver. He graduated from Sardis High School in 1964. He is a graduate of Samford University (B.A.) in Religion & History and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville where he achieved a M. Divinty and D. Ministry. He also performed additional study at the Candler School of Theology with Fred Craddock and also received the Charles E. Merrill Fellowship to study at Harvard with Harvey Cox. Gary also authored several books: Out from the Ordinary, Acting on the Absurd, Distinctively Different, Search for Serendipity, Living a Victorious Life with Tom Garrison, Stories That Live-The Parable of Jesus, and Gotta Minute.

He received the Freedom’s Foundation at Valley Forge’s Principal Award for Public Address in 1986. His radio spot “Gotta Minute?” ran almost continuously for over 35 years. Gary’s ministerial career spanned over 50 years and he served with a dedicated spirit to multiple churches with the last three being First Baptist Church Tuscumbia, Al., First Baptist Church, Chattanooga, and First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga.

Gary’s most cherished achievement is his family. He is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years, Sharlon Davis Carver; his sons, Chris Carver and Brad (Amy) Carver; grandchildren, Brandon, Katelyn, Hadley, and Alyssa Carver; great grandchild McKenna Smith; brother Frank (Janine) Carver; sisters Bonnie (Mike) Rains and Barbara (David) Morton; his faithful dog, Saban; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his son, Richard Scott Carver and his parents, Lavoid Edward and Mildred Louise Boyles Carver.

Besides reading and studying for his profession, Gary loved traveling and visiting restaurants with Sharlon. He became a connoisseur of hamburgers and fries throughout their travels and could grill the best steak you ever tasted. He enjoyed all genres of music and loved to dance with his wife in their living room. He was a devoted fan of Alabama Crimson Tide football and Atlanta Braves baseball teams. He could challenge anyone with trivia about sports and culture.

He enjoyed his grandchildren and always let them know of his love and pride for them. His ability to tell a story and make it pertinent to you was a gift from God and he used that gift both professionally and personally.

If Gary could tell one more story, its one-minute message would be to love one another and go tell THE story of God’s love, grace, and peace.

The family will be having a Celebration of Dr. Gary L. Carver’s Life on Saturday, April 1, at 1 p.m. at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church 1505 North Moore Road, Chattanooga, Tn. 37411 (casual attire). Dr. Jeff Mathis and Dr. Jonathan Crutchfield will be leading the celebration of life.

Memorial contributions may be made to Kidney Foundation of Chattanooga at 931 McCallie Ave., Chattanooga, Tn. 37403, 423 265-4397,

Memorial contributions may be made to Humane Educational Society at 4155 Randolph Circle, Chattanooga, Tn. 37406, 423 624-5302,

Visit the online obituary to post tributes and share memories.

Arrangements are by Heritage Funeral Home, East Brainerd Chapel.

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