REV. JERALD RAY GANT SR.

76

June 19, 1952-July 6, 2017

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:6

“To everything there is a season: a time to be born.” Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2

Jerald Ray Gant Sr. was born in Natchitoches June 19, 1952, to O. B. and Alta Breazeale Gant. He shared his life with one brother. “When I was a child” – 1 Corinthians 13:11 Jerald was educated in the Natchitoches Parish School System, graduating with the class of 1970 from Central High School. He furthered his education at Grambling State University obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in 1973. He accepted Christ at the age of 12 and was baptized at the Goodwill Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor G.B. Scott. His spiritual journey was influenced by his mother and by the saints of Goodwill Baptist Church. Jerald answered the call from the Lord in 1989 when Jesus said, “Who will go and who shall I send?” He told the Lord, “Here am I, send me.” His first sermon was preached in October 1989 at the Goodwill Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Robert Ridgley. Rev. Gant was ordained as a minister in July, 1990 at the Goodwill Baptist Church under Pastor Robert Ridgley. During his years as a faithful member of Goodwill, he served as one of the sons of the church in the ministry and Sunday school teacher. Pastor Gant was installed as Pastor of Goodwill in May of 1996. He served humbly and faithfully in the church. He led by example and encouraged and fed his flock with the Word of God. Understanding that a pastor needs to be fed as well as his flock, Rev. Gant united with First Baptist Church Amulet under the leadership of the late Rev. Michael Callahan. Rev. Gant obtained both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Theology from United Theological Seminary and Bible School. “A time to love” – Ecclesiastes 3:8 He met and married his wife Debra Gary June 9, 1979. This union was blessed with two beautiful children: his compassionate son, Jerald Jr. and his adoring daughter, Sarah. For 38 years he was blessed in his marriage. Pastor Gant loved the Lord with a fierce and special love. He cherished his family and friends. He touched the lives of many people through his ministry and through his interactions with people in all walks of life. He loved to joke and laugh. But when he was working for the Lord, he was serious and sincere. Jerald was employed with Winnfield Funeral Home, United Parcel Service, Natchitoches Parish Drug Court and United Theological Seminary and Bible School. “I am now ready to be offered” – II Timothy 4:6 On July 6, 2017, Pastor Gant heard the voice of the Lord and he answered. His earthly battles are no longer important. His last days were spent with family and friends and of course his church family. There was no task that was beneath him when it came to working at Goodwill Baptist Church. He is preceded in death by both his parents, O. B. and Alta Gant. “I will not leave you comfortless” – John 14:18 Jerald leaves a legacy of love and precious memories to his loving and devoted wife, Debra; son, Jerald Jr. and daughter, Sarah Gant; his beloved and only grandson, Jaylen Gant; brother, Bernard Sr.; and nephew, Bernard Dale Gant Jr. He loved Betty Daniels as a sister. Jerald was also blessed with the wisdom and guidance of Mrs. Pearl Payne who was like wonderful aunt to him. Jerald leaves a mother-in-law, Mrs. Nancy Smith, and numerous in-laws, cousins and friends and of course his dedicated and loyal church families. Jerald was blessed with many lifelong friends and classmates who loved him dearly… Until we meet again! The First Baptist Church, 1116 Amulet St., Natchitoches, will form the setting for services celebrating the life and legacy of this memorable man of God and Pastor of Goodwill Baptist Church on Holmes Street, Thursday, July 13 at noon. A public visitation for viewing of the remains will be convened at the church Thursday from 10 a.m. until service time. Interment will be at the Lawrence Serenity Sanctum. Final care entrusted to the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home of Natchitoches. In lieu of floral tributes, the family is asking for contributions to be made to Grambling State University in Rev. Gant’s name.