The Rev. Otis Lavay McCullough, 92, formerly of Cornelia, Georgia, passed away January 4, 2022, following a short illness. A retired Southern Baptist minister, Lavay had served as full-time senior pastor from 1959 to 2003 for churches in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas. In addition, he served as interim pastor for various churches in Northeast Georgia through 2014.

A Funeral Service will be held Saturday, January 8, at 4 p.m., with a viewing beginning at 2 p.m. at Whitfield Funeral Homes & Crematory North Chapel, 245 Central Avenue, Demorest, Georgia, The Rev. Al Gilbert will officiate.

Lavay is preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Gladys Marie Padgett McCullough, his beloved partner in ministry and life.

Born April 16, 1929, in Porterdale, Ga., to Ernest McCullough and Esther Louise Baird McCullough, Lavay grew up in Rockmart, a thriving mill community in northwest Georgia. Fond childhood memories include playing golf and caddying for mill executives and business owners, participating in Boy Scouts and the Rockmart High football team as manager, and delivering the Atlanta newspapers on his bicycle.

His life was marked at age 12 when he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior at the leading of a faithful Sunday school teacher at Rockmart First Baptist Church. Lavay received his ordination as pastor at Rockmart First Baptist after surrendering to preach in 1957.

He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Ga., and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He pastored Georgia churches: Oxford Baptist, Oxford; Blackshear Place Baptist, Flowery Branch; Sisters Baptist, Sandersville; Central Heights Baptist, Mt Airy; Alto Baptist, Alto; Higher Ground Baptist, Baldwin.

Lavay was author of “Studies in Revelation,” a self-published verse-by-verse Bible study, and a member of Level Grove Baptist Church in Cornelia.

Since 2017, Lavay has resided in an assisted living community in Alpharetta, where he led Bible studies, sang hymns, and loved to pray with and for the residents and workers. He was known for his strong faith and love for Jesus. Occasionally asked to deliver a sermon during Sunday worship services, he always had one prepared just in case.

He is survived by his children and their spouses: Belinda and Greg Smith of San Marcos, Calif.; Laura and Jose Berrios of Alpharetta, Ga.; Andrew and Robin McCullough of Lafayette, Colo.

His grandchildren include Isaac Berrios, St. Louis, MO.; Joseph Berrios, Dallas, Texas; Clarisa Berrios and Elizabeth Berrios, Alpharetta, and Luke McCullough, Jack McCullough and Drew McCullough, all of Lafayette, Colo.

In place of flowers, and in honoring Lavay’s greatest desire to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, the family requests you give generously to your local church or a ministry of your choosing.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Whitfield Funeral Homes & Crematory, North Chapel at 245 Central Avenue, Demorest, Georgia 30535.