Rev. Daniel Thomas Earnhardt
1939 - 2020
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Rev. Daniel Thomas Earnhardt

October 2, 1939 - July 30, 2020

Greenville, NC

Rev. Daniel Thomas Earnhardt, 80, of Greenville died Thursday, July 30, as the result of an accident in his home.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Camp Don Lee in the coming weeks. A private graveside interment will be held in Manning, S.C. Due to concerns for the health of family and friends, a traditional visitation and service will not be held at this time.

Dan was born in Durham in 1939 to the Rev. D. E. and Esther Earnhardt.

He was a graduate of High Point University where he joined the Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity, a brotherhood legacy he proudly shared with his son. He received his Masters of Theology and Doctorate of Divinity from Duke Divinity School. Dan was a retired elder of the United Methodist Conference of North Carolina. He followed a long legacy of Methodist service as the son and grandson of United Methodist pastors, serving the faith for 52 years. He began his calling as a Duke Endowment student minister, serving congregations in rural central North Carolina. Upon ordination, he joined the Western Conference.

In 1969, Dan was appointed as the campus minister for the Wesley Foundation at East Carolina University. He cherished his 28 years at the Wesley Foundation. He often referred to himself as a reverse Methodist; his congregation changed every four years and he stayed put. Guiding students to Christ and service to others was his life's calling.

Dan was instrumental in bringing VISTA to Greenville in the early 1970s and housed their staff within the Wesley Foundation. Dan and a cadre of campus ministers were vital to the social justice movement in Greenville. He had a compassion for the lives and souls of all people and it led to a legacy of peace and compassion in Greenville. In addition to campus ministry, Dan took appointment of the Grimesland charge, serving Grimesland, Chocowinity and Warren's Chapel for many years. Serving these congregations drew Dan to a calling to return to congregational leadership full time. He retired from campus ministry and accepted appointments to Carrboro United Methodist Church and then West Nash United Methodist Church in Wilson before his second retirement.

Dan and Pat returned to Greenville in retirement. He continued to serve appointments at Jarvis in Greenville, Jacksonville, Bailey and Rehoboth UMC in Jackson. Dan and Pat enjoyed traveling and were led to spend a summer on the island of Matinicus, Maine, where he served the church and community.

Dan led numerous mission trips locally and internationally. He led faithful followers and his family on journeys to Mexico, Jerusalem and Russia.

Dan was a longtime member of the Greenville Evening Rotary Club. He lived the Rotary motto "Service Above Self" through the entirety of his life.

From college to adulthood Dan was a skilled card player. He and Pat were longtime bridge players with their Greenville club. It may have been the easiest time to catch him in mischief and see that wry grin come across his face.

Whether in faith or mischief, often both, Dan was a charismatic leader of people. He was in the midst of lives of others, celebrating bonds, guiding, comforting and loving them better than he loved himself.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, the Rev. Edwin Earnhardt and sister, Evelyn Davis.

Dan is survived by his wife of 55 years, Pat Stogner; son Thomas and wife Kelli, of Vass, N.C.; and daughter, Patricia and husband, Russell, of Wake Forest, N.C.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests gifts to the Camp and Retreat Ministry of the NC Conference, 700 Waterfield Ridge Place Garner, NC 27529 or the Roberts-Earnhardt Endowment at Duke University, Duke Divinity School, Box 90966, Durham, NC 27708-0966. Those who wish, may pay tribute to him with a flag placement at the Rotary Field of Honor in Greenville by visiting

Arrangements by Wilkerson Funeral Home and Crematory.

Online condolences at

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Published in The News and Observer on Aug. 5, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Wilkerson Funeral Home and Crematory S.G. Wilkerson and Sons, Inc.
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3 entries
August 6, 2020
Rev. Dan was a wonderful pastor with the ECU Wesley Foundation. He was a wonderful guiding force during my time in college. I have thought about him over the years. I pray for peace and comfort for his family. He touched so many lives during his life. I am blessed to be one of them
LuAnn Bryan
August 5, 2020
Rev. Daniel Thomas Earnhardt was known to me as "Uncle Dan," for 69 years. He was a wonderful man. We had many conversations over the years, about versions of the Holy Scriptures. We had many conversations about the necessity of repentance and faith, to have Jesus' substitute payment for your sin debt, applied to your account. Yes, he was truly a wonderful man and I will miss him.
Daniel Edwin Earnhardt
August 5, 2020
My Uncle Dan was a Pastor. At Duke University he played the huge pipe organ in the gothic edifice. He had albums of Dr Albert Switzer playing the pipe organ and he shared these with me and others. He also introduced me to "Inavada da Gitta" by Iron Butterfly back in the 60's. He had a dog named Rex that he left in the care of Granddaddy Earnheardt when Dan went to school at HIgh Point College. Uncle Dan, while at the Wesleyan Center at East Carolina University was a mentor. He held informational classes for those who needed to learn about "The Draft and My Rights", it was 1969 and my lottery number was 56. He counseled me, consoled me and taught me. I discovered a large wagon wheel in the woods while working and Uncle Dan made it a project to hang that wheel in the common area of the Wesleyan Center and turn it into a chandelier. The time at the Wesleyan Center was an oasis during my college years. I went on several retreats and shared and learned about growing up. I embrace his memory. I cherish his lessons. I am better for having had him in my life. My mother, his sister Evelyn, encouraged me to spend as much time as I could spend with my UNcle Dan.
Edward Davis
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