The Rev. Dr. Glenn L. Ethridge, 57, United Methodist pastor, died of complications from cancer Monday, November 9, 2020. He was born and reared in Elberton, Georgia, the youngest of three children of John and Thelma “Ted” Ethridge.
In high school, Glenn was a student leader, tennis player, and state champion chess player. He was an Eagle Scout and became the sports editor of the local newspaper at age 17.
Glenn attended the University of Georgia in the honors program and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Grady School of Journalism. He was a member of the Student Judiciary and was inducted into Mortar Board. At UGA, Glenn was president of the Wesley Foundation. His affiliation with this campus ministry influenced his call to the ministry, and it was here he met Cathy Ethridge (née Kadingo), love of his life, future wife, and ministry partner.
After UGA, Glenn earned a Master of Divinity from Yale University, again winning scholarships and awards. Upon graduation he was selected by the facility to receive the Nuremberg prize for excellence in preaching. Later, he earned a Doctorate of Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary.
Glenn and Cathy served United Methodist churches across North Georgia, including Gainesville, Starrsville, Blue Ridge, Wesley in Evans, Cannon in Snellville, and Oak Grove in Decatur, where he served his longest tenure of 12 years. At Oak Grove he was named Pastor Emeritus when he took medical leave in 2019.
Glenn loved people and was passionate about the compassion and hospitality of Jesus. He and Cathy opened their home to youth and to international missionaries, and they invited over 4,000 people to their house for home-cooked meals. He loved to laugh and be with people whether they were CEOs, homeless, or troubled youth. If Glenn believed in a cause he was relentless. He advocated for the poor and marginalized- most recently working nationally for full inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons in the United Methodist Church.
He was active in civic clubs, hospital ethics committees, and denominational foundations. He served as chairperson of multiple organizations including the Foundation for Wesley Woods, GA United Methodist Foundation, the Board of Ordained Ministry, and the Fannin County Citizens Panel Review.
Through his work with the Board of Ordained Ministry he mentored many young clergy entering ordained ministry. Upon him taking medical leave, the North Georgia Annual Conference endowed a scholarship in his honor to assist young clergy with seminary costs.
He received the Native Son award from Elbert County Chamber of Commerce.
His deep love was for his family. He was gifted with a close-knit family of origin that remains close to this date. With Cathy, he passed that family bond to the next generation. He and Cathy worked hard to foster quality family bonding time, and believed some of the most important work in life took place around the kitchen table. They loved to travel for both education and family time.
Glenn is survived by his wife of 33 years, Catherine Ethridge; his son Glenn Ethridge Jr. “Lee;” his mother, Thelma “Ted” Ethridge; siblings, John Ethridge Jr. (Cindy) and Kathy Jossey (Joe); as well as numerous nephews, nieces, and other family.
He was preceded in death by his father, John Ethridge, and his son, Andrew William Ethridge.
A Memorial Service will be held at Oak Grove United Methodist Church at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Oak Grove UMC, 1722 Oak Grove Road, Decatur, Georgia, 30033 to build an inclusion playground at Oak Grove Park for children with special needs and disabilities.