Elder Ovit G. Pursley, Sr. departed this life peacefully at home in Knoxville, Tennessee on Tuesday January 17, 2023 after a long illness. At the time of his passing, Elder Pursley was enjoying his retirement and served as an Associate Minister at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Knoxville. Ovit Glenn Pursley was born on November 20, 1940 in Leesburg, Florida, the seventh of 16 children born to the late Ovit Pursley and Catherine Sparrow Pursley. Growing up he enjoyed activities such as boxing, golfing, swimming, playing football and singing. After accepting Christ at a young age and having received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, God began to speak to him in dreams and visions which continued throughout his entire life. The roadmap of Ovit’s life was dramatically altered when he was drafted into the United States Army on August 9, 1966 to serve in the Vietnam War. Ovit served three years in the U.S. Armed Forces including one tour of duty in Vietnam in 1967. He was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia and worked as an Aircraft Mechanic and supervised a 12-man aircraft maintenance crew responsible for inspections on all helicopters and small fixed wing aircraft. Among his many military service medals and accomplishments, Ovit ranked as a ‘Sharpshooter’ using the M-14 Rifle. Ovit was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army on August 8, 1969. On this altered roadmap, “Glenn” met the love of his life on a blind date, Miss Patricia Ann Williams, in Savannah. (The first and last blind date either of them had ever had.) The two married on October 30, 1969. To this union were born two children, Ovit Glenn Pursley, Jr. (August 6, 1974) and Stephanie Loraine Pursley (June 1, 1977). Having developed an aptitude for electronics technology at Savannah State University after his military service, “O.G. Pursley” joined Union Carbide (K-25) in Oak Ridge, TN in 1975 and later retired from Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc. (Y-12) in September of 1993. Throughout his professional career, however, the call of God continued to be on his life and Ovit G. Pursley, Sr. accepted his call into the Christian Ministry and became licensed in the ministry on September 23, 1979. Elder Pursley then accepted the role of Pastor of the Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Niota, TN in 1980. Elder Pursley was ordained into the Christian Ministry on May 17, 1981. During an illustrious 14-year tenure, God used Elder Pursley mightily making the theme of his ministry, ‘The Word, The Spirit and The Name of Jesus Christ’. In addition to his pastoral duties, Elder Pursley was a leader within the Loudon District Association and served one year as Second Vice Moderator and seven years as First Vice Moderator. Elder Pursley then built upon his passion for ministry and established From Darkness to Light Ministry ® for nationwide evangelism and authored three books, ‘Salvation - What Must I do to be Saved?’, ‘Counseling With God’s Word, From A to W’, and ‘The Baptism with the Holy Ghost’. On Sunday September 23, 2012, Elder Pursley was a featured author at The Word on the Street Toronto, Canada’s largest open-air book festival. Elder Pursley served his country, his community and his family with distinction and honor. His legacy and spirit will live on in the memories of all those who loved and labored with him. He leaves behind a caring wife, Patricia, and their two grown children, Ovit Jr. and Stephanie. Not to be forgotten, his children from his first marriage, Cynthia Yvette Pursley (deceased) and Dawna Felicia Pursley Mallory (F. Brandon), seven grandchildren (Johnathan Brooks, Fallon Brooks, Shannon Brinson, Ashley McElroye, Ariel McElroye, Ashleigh Mallory and Westleigh Mallory), and five great grandchildren. His brother, Bishop Paul Pursley (Linda), his sisters, Elvea Delois Pursley Shaw (Chris), Clementine “Tina” Pursley Follins (Ray), Mary Pursley Copeland, Elizabeth “Liz” Pursley Ivery, Evelynn Pursley Simmons McGauley; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends .
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Elder Ovit G. Pursley Sr., please visit our floral store.