By Ralphine Major

He came to our church in the mid-sixties.  Rev. James “Preacher Jim” McCulla was called to pastor Fairview Baptist Church in Corryton, Tennessee.  Back then, Fairview was a small church with an active membership around two hundred plus.  Rev. McCulla accepted the call from a packed congregation to lead our church.

With his wife, Dottie, and their five children, Becky, Mary, Carol, Jimmy and John, the McCulla family became an important part of our church family.  For several years, they ministered with their love and talents.  McCulla was pastor when the Billy Graham Crusade came to Knoxville in the early seventies.  For nearly every service, our church provided bus transportation for church members.  I remember Preacher McCulla saying that Rev. Graham would probably not be back in Knoxville to hold another crusade which took years to plan.  It was an incredible event in Knoxville’s history.

A Knoxville native, James McCulla was president of his senior class at Central High School where he graduated as valedictorian in 1944.  McCulla served in the United States Army in the South Pacific where he was a “south paw” pitcher for the Army baseball team.

Later, he attended The University of Tennessee where he pitched ball before transferring to Carson-Newman College.  James McCulla graduated from Carson-Newman in Jefferson City, Tennessee, and from Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

He embarked on a life journey of ministry to mankind that would take him far from his Knoxville roots, pastoring churches in Texas, Montana, and California before returning to East Tennessee as pastor of Fairview in Knox County and later pastoring in Blount County.

Rev. James McCulla passed away June 20, 2020, at the age of 93, nearly a month shy of his 94th birthday.

Words of Faith:

A favorite verse of Preacher Jim’s that he quoted often is Philippians 4:13 (KJV): “I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.”


(To be continued)