February 14, 2010 - Pickelsimers serving Union County and Blairsville, Georgia for over 35 years
Earl Pickelsimer has been pasturing churches, preaching at funerals, and performing wedding ceremonies in Blairsville, Georgia for over thirty five years. Wife Dorothy has been right beside him the whole time.
Earl was born in 1932 and Dorothy in 1934. They married fifty-four years ago. Earl says, “God called me to preach but I ran from the calling a long time. I would work eight hours, go home and couldn’t sleep at night. Then go back to work the next morning. Kind of like Moses, I would argue with God. I told him I was slow of speech, I didn’t have much education, and I could hardly read.”
Finally in 1978, Earl stopped running. He says, “I was licensed in 1978 and then ordained in 1987. God has never failed to give me the words I need to preach.” He explains, “I read out of the King James Bible. I tell people that if the Bible doesn’t back it up, then don’t believe it.”
Earl and Dorothy are of the Baptist faith. Dorothy was saved at the age of 15 and Earl was saved at age 42. Dorothy says, “Earl has been baptized three times! The first two times he was mislead.”
Earl explains, “I went down a dry sinner and came up a wet sinner twice, but in 1974 it was for real. Dorothy and I were already going to funeral homes regularly to comfort people. In 1974 I went in the funeral parlor and looked at the dead man lying there in the coffin. He seemed to have the strangest look on his face. Maybe it was just the way the undertaker had him fixed, but to me it was a message straight from God. It was like God was saying, ‘Earl, if you were in that man’s place, where would your soul be right now?’ I will never forget that experience. That very night I went home and called Preacher James Rice of New Liberty and he invited me to come over to his house. I was saved that night and there was a change in the way I saw things. I told Dorothy, ‘You got a new husband now.’ Everything looked different. I was baptized for the third time shortly afterwards in Bald Mountain Creek. It was spitting snow that day.”
Shortly afterwards, Earl went to preaching. Through the years, he has pastured Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Coopers Creek Baptist Church, and Friendship Baptist Church. He still preaches whenever someone asks. Sometimes Earl preaches three times on Sundays. Earl also takes turns preaching at Union County Nursing Home.
Earl adds, “Dorothy has always been by my side. She keeps a record book with all the times I have preached at funerals and weddings. She has a box full of mementos.”
Earl doesn’t carry a gun, even when he travels out of state to preach. He pats his Bible and says, “My sword is my weapon and it’s always with me.” Earl has preached at 62 funerals and 24 weddings. Dorothy has kept records of every event.
Earl says, “Weddings are sometimes harder than the funerals. It bothers me if they later divorce or separate.”
Besides preaching, Earl is a wood craftsman. He makes beautiful home accessories such as toy boxes, chests, small furniture, rockers, swings, night stands, baskets, and picture frames. Before becoming a preacher, Earl worked as a saw miller, a logger, chicken farmer, and at Georgia Boot. Earl and Dorothy have three children, six grandchildren, and eleven great grandchildren.
Dorothy adds, “I met Earl when another boy came to see one of my sisters and Earl was with him. My mother wouldn’t let my sister go with them without me so I tagged along. Six months later, I married Earl. There were nine kids in Earl’s family and nine kids in mine.” (Dorothy was a Mason before she married Earl Pickelsimer).
Earl adds, “Dorothy sings. She has sung at over sixty funerals - sometimes solo and sometimes with a group. She has a beautiful voice.”
Earl has many stories to tell. One time while baptizing Matthew Pirkle in the Toccoa River, Earl slipped and almost went under. He says, “I have played in that river all my life and thought it had a good sandy bottom. I got a good soaking when I slipped on a mossy rock. Everyone got tickled that day. It’s funny when I think back on it. Someone even took pictures of it."
Earl’s hobby is woodworking and he does custom work on request. Earl and Dorothy are also available for services, weddings, and funerals.