• W. Austin Gardner

Purple Hearted Pastor

The pastor who led me to Christ was Carlton Flowers. I was saved on May 6, 1962 and baptized the following Sunday. I have loved this man all these years and think of him often. God used him greatly in my life.



I have searched for information on him many times. Today I had the privilege of preaching at Wrigley Baptist Church in Lyles, Tennessee where I was saved. One of the members mentioned that Carlton Flowers had lived in Spokane, Washington.


With that info I searched and found his obituary on line in old copies of the Spokesman Review of Spokane, Washington. I learned many things. According to his obituary; " He served in the Army during the Korean War and was awarded the Purple Heart.

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The Purple Heart comes at great cost. It is only awarded to someone who has been wounded by enemy fire. Many are only awarded posthumously. My pastor was awarded the Purple Heart before I was born because he was discharged in 1952. From what I gather from the obituary he died on December 1, 1994 at the age of 66.


Carlton and Gloria Flowers served several churches in Tennessee and Washington. I did not know that he worked as a carpenter while he was studying at Belmont Baptist College.


When I think of my pastor, Carlton Flowers, I meditate on I Thessalonians 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.


I think that I was about 8 or 9 in this pic, not sure! But that little boy had his eternity changed by the message preached by his pastor, Carlton Flowers and I do highly esteem and love him. Thank God for the work he was used to do.