"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil 1:21) Rev. Alva "Al" Cauley, 84, lived Christ and truly gained on Thursday evening, December 28, 2017. Born April 13, 1933, in Soperton, Georgia, to Samuel Andrew and Ovie Brantley Cauley, Al passed peacefully at his home in Cullowhee, NC.
An honored athlete and graduate of Soperton High School (1952), Al earned a degree from South Georgia College prior to serving in the United States Army from 1954-1956 as part of the 101 Airborne "Screaming Eagles" Division. After discharge, he became an electronic analyst, working in civil engineering at Robins AFB. After an eternal life-changing encounter with Jesus on Easter Sunday, 1958, Al enlisted in a higher calling when he was ordained to preach in 1963 at Northside Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Ga.
He completed a BA degree from Mercer University and served as pastor at three churches in central Georgia before moving his family to North Carolina in 1966 to earn his masters of divinity degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Over the span of his full-time ministry in NC, Al served as pastor at Trinity Baptist Church, Meadow; White Lake Baptist Church, White Lake; Pleasant View Baptist Church, Morganton; and Calvary Baptist Church, Brevard, as well as serving for a year with World Wide Pictures (Billy Graham Evangelistic Films). Al retired from the full-time pastorate in 1994 and moved to Cullowhee, NC, where he served in numerous interim preaching roles within WNC, including East LaPorte's Grace Community Church, of which he was a member at the time of his death. During retirement, he also continued in preaching, teaching, and counseling ministries; conducting Christian Money Management seminars; and leading Grace Life conferences.
Al is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Gladys Johnson Cauley of Cullowhee; four children: Marty (Dianne) Cauley of Sylva, NC, Phil (Susanne) Cauley of Sylva, NC, Debbie (Eddie) Seagroves of Goldsboro, NC, and Janina (Mark) DeHart of Whittier, NC; five grandchildren: Jeremy (Lindsi) Cauley, Jonathan Cauley, Taylor (Grey) Idol, David Cauley, and Sarah Cauley; and numerous siblings, nieces, and nephews.
Receiving of friends will be held on Monday, Jan. 1 from 2-4 p.m. at Appalachian Funeral Home in Sylva, NC. A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. at Appalachian Funeral Home. A graveside ceremony for family members will be held at a later date at Western Carolina State Veteran's Cemetery, Black Mountain.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to The Gideons International (gideons.org; 1-866-382-4253; The Gideons International Processing Center, P.O. Box 97251, Washington, DC 20090-7251).