October 24, 1929 ~ March 4, 2005

Born in: Reidsville,
Resided in: Asheville, NC

REV. J. HOLT MADISON The Rev. J. Holt Madison, 75, of the Givens Estates, Asheville, died Friday, March 4, 2005. Rev. Madison was born in Reidsville and was a son of the late John William and Martha Purgson Madison. He received his Bachelor of Theology in 1957 from John Wesley College, a B.S. from High Point College in 1960, and a Masters of Divinity from Emory University in 1963. He joined the WNC Conference of the United Methodist Church in April, 1957. He served Hopewell church in Trinity from 1957 to 1960, Clarks Chapel, Alexander Chapel, South Fork Chapel and Pleasant Grove United Methodist Churches in the Weaverville area from 1960 to 1964 and Emma and Green Memorial United Methodist Churches from 1964 to 1984. He then moved to Charlotte where he served Purcell and Big Springs United Methodist Churches until his retirement from the Conference in 2000 at the age of 70. He is survived by one daughter, Joni Madison of Raleigh; one son, James Craig Madison of Asheville; a granddaughter Chelsea Madison; his former wife and the mother of his children, Linda Madison Johnson; three sisters, Ruby Stone of Greensboro and Verena Reynolds and Hazel Hill of Summerfield, NC and a brother David Bea Madison of Reidsville. A funeral service is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Monday in the Patton Avenue chapel of Groce Funeral Home with the Rev. Donald Davis and the Rev. Karen F. Miller, Asheville District Superintendent, officiating. Burial will be at Green Hills Cemetery. His family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Memory Assessment Clinic at Givens Estates, 2360 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28803.

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  1. I served as Music Director with Holt at Big Spring UMC for 8 years and at Purcell UMC for 1 year. I will never forget a scripture he used on many occasions, ‘He will never leave you nor forsake you.’ And he was right.

  2. I am sorry to hear of Holt’s death. He was a wonderful man — you couldn’t help but like him. He sort of ‘lit up the room.’ I knew him when he was at Big Spring — the church I grew up in, and where my mother is still a member.
    I know he’s where he wants to be now!!

  3. We send our condolences to all of Holt’s family and friends. While serving at Big Spring UMC, he meant a lot to the McIntosh family, and conducted the funerals of Melvin’s father and mother. He will be missed by many, but we take comfort in the fact that he is now with his Lord.

  4. To Joni, Craig, and Aunt Linda
    Our love and prayers are with you at this time. We are so sorry for your loss, we loved him dearly and will miss him too, his joking especially, he was such a character. We are thankful for all of the memories that we have with him and would not trade them for anything. He was a very unique and special person who had a way with people. One of those who never met a stranger, and he always had a smile and something nice to say. We could all learn a lot from his life.
    Love and Prayers,
    Wendell, Rhonda (Madison), David & Daniel Edwards.

  5. Craig & Joni,
    We are saddened to hear of the loss of your dear, sweet father. He was a wonderful model of joyful, Christian living. We especially remember the beach trips with the youth at Emma UMC, the intimate talks with him as we defined our faith, and the fun we shared when he officiated our wedding. Ed and I are praying for your family during this difficult time and are celebrating with you that Holt is with God in heaven and is no longer suffering. We love you!

  6. Craig and Joni
    What wonderful experiences we have shared thanks to your dad and family. They will always be cherished.His struggles are over,but he will always live on through the many lives he touched.
    I hope I can arrange to be with you during the service; but if not, always know you are in my thoughts and prayers, and how grateful my family is for having been touched by your dad.
    Love to all,
    Ginny Penley Bullock

  7. I was so sorry to learn of Holt’s death. He was a wonderful man.He was there for the children and I when we lived in the Asheville area. He will truly be missed by all who knew him. He truly was a man of God.

  8. Dear Members of Holt’s family,

    In your loss and heaven’s gain, I offer you my heartfelt sympathy. You are truly blessed to have had such a wonderful father and family member.

    He had such a genuine pastor’s heart and was there for people when they were in their darkest hour as well as in their most wonderful times. He held the hands of the sick, the broken hearted and frail and took the time however long it took to be with them to comfort, encourage them through the love of God and also to make them laugh.

    His newsletters are classic pieces. Hopefully they will appear in book form one day in his honor and to God’s glory.

    One could feel he was there for them because he wanted to be out of a true sense of love and compassion instead of being aloof or doing his duty just because he was a minister. It seemed he knew deep sadness and joy first hand and because of that could identify with another person’s experience.

    I remember when my mother, Alice Warner was in the hospital and was gravely ill, how he came often to see her and would sit by her bed,listen,talk and pray with us even though he was battling heart problems himself.

    It must have been a personal sacrifice for him to go out in that February icy cold weather to take the trip to the hospital but he never indicated it was a problem.

    One day, I went to the next floor with mother while they were performing an ultra sound. He went to visit her but seeing the room was empty went looking for us. I looked up and saw that precious man standing at the door, smiling and waiting for her to go back to her room. He didn’t give up and leave but took the extra time and effort to spend time with her.

    There are many memories of his gentle Christlike love extending to so many people around him.

    To be ‘absent from the body and present with the Lord’ is more wonderful than any of us here can truly comprehend, I think, but knowing he is there dries the tears and offers great comfort.

    May the Holy Spirit comfort each of you with that special comfort in the love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Sandy Sapp

  9. Craig and Joni,

    I will never forget your father. Even today in my mind I can hear him leading us on a summer Sunday evening at Emma UMC in a quiet round of ‘Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank you, Lord, for making me whole. Thank you, Lord, for giving to me Thy great salvation so rich and free.’ It is a refrain that has stayed with me through the years, and been my prayer in times of gratitude, discouragement, exhaustion, you name it. It is always there, as he was for his parishioners. I still remember the story of Barney he used to tell at VBS. I remember the beach trips and the sunrise services. I remember him laughing and crying, but mostly laughing. He was a spiritual father to me in my youth, and helped shape the faith I have today. Thank you for sharing him with me and so many others.
    With prayer, good memories, and much love,
    Steve Q

  10. Joni and Craig,

    I’m sorry for our loss. He was a very good man. He is the best friend I’ve ever had as well as being my adopted Dad. I loved him dearly and I know he loved me. I am only sorry I couldn’t say goodbye while he was still here but he knew how I felt about him. I am praying for your peace because I know he is at peace. If I can ever do anything for either fo you, please feel free to call me. We may not be biological family but we’re family.
    Love ya, Debbie

  11. Dear Linda,

    I also wanted to share my condolences with you, but didn’t know the ‘protocol’ of how to go about that.

    You know that you and Holt were like a second set of parents for me through those growing-up years when Craig and I were so close.

    Whenever I hear my daughter Betsy play piano, I remember your determination and generosity in making sure I got lessons from a real pro. I still play… not as much like a pro as I would like, but more like one than I otherwise would.

    I’m grateful for your kindness to me, and I’m thinking of you in these days, too.

    God bless you.

    Steve Q

  12. Our thoughts are with your family. Holt will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

    Jeff, Charles and Carol Trantham
    Kathy Trantham Lancaster and families

  13. Our thoughts are with your family. Holt will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

    Jeff, Charles and Carol Trantham
    Kathy Trantham Lancaster and families

  14. Craig and Joni,
    It is very hard to let your Dad go. He’s been my best friend and my adopted Dad for more than 30 years. I loved him dearly and so did Brian and Bill. Brian was very upset he wasn’t able to attend his services. He thought of Holt as a grandpa and thought no one could preach like him. After your Mom & Dad split up, Holt was always at our house or we were at his. We helped him through some rough times but not even close to the countless times he was there for us,especially me. It was very hard to see him in the condition he was in when he first came to Givens. That had always been his fear. Someone would have to take care of him and he couldn’t do it himself. He was a very independent man and didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. Now he is with the Lord and has his memory back and his hands no long shake, which really bothered him. He may be gone from us but I for one will never forget him and I look forward to the time I can be with him again.
    I know we are not biological family but we are family. If I can ever do anything for either of you, please feel free to call me.
    I love you both,

  15. Joni & Craig,

    It is very hard to give up your Dad. He has been my best friend and adopted Dad for over 30 years. I loved him dearly and so did Brian and Bill. Brian was very upset he was unable to attend the services. Holt was like a grandfather to him. When he and your Mom split up, he was at our house or we were at his most every night. We helped him through some rough times but nothing compared to what he went through with us, expecially me. He was always there when I needed him. It was hard to see him in the condition he was in when he first came to Givens. That had always been his fear, that he would have to have someone take care of him. He was a very independent man and didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. I knew how miserable he was deep down inside for what he was going through but he never conplained and the nurses always talked about how sweet and kind he was to them. Now he has his memory back and his hand no longer shakes, which was very self conscious about. I will miss him but I will never forget him. I know we are not biological family but we are family. If you ever need me for anything, please feel free to call.
    I love you both, Debbie

  16. Craig, Joni, and Linda,
    My love, thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. I’m sorry I was unable to attend the service or visitation.

  17. Joni and Craig: Our deepest sympathies on the loss of your Dad. Holt married us 12 years ago at Big Springs UMC and baptized our first child. We fondly remember his wonderful sense of humor (we never did refund his ‘$2 marriage charge’!) and the love and compassion he showed to his church members. His love for his family was also evident in his words and deeds. We hope you find comfort in knowing that your Dad made a difference in so many lives, and that he is smiling down on all of us.

  18. Craig and Joni,
    We are so sorry to hear about your loss of your father. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
    Mary and Steve

  19. Craig & Joni, Sorry to learn about your dad. He was a great pastor to mom,dad, me and especially Junior. I will always remember how nice he was to Junior.


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