Dr. James Milton "Jim" Pitts
1937 - 2021
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Dr. James "Jim" Milton Pitts

Greenville - Dr. James "Jim" Milton Pitts, 83, of Travelers Rest, went to be with the Lord on January 18, 2021, at Greenville, SC. He loved talking with people, spreading God's Word, running his steam trains, going to circuses, and spending time with his family and friends.

Dr. Pitts was born August 28, 1937 to Milton Pitts and Sarah Prater Pitts in Washington, DC. He was a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, SC, Southeastern Seminary at Wake Forest, NC, and Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. He served Furman University from 1967 to his retirement in 2003 as Assistant Chaplain (1967 to1981), University Chaplain (1981 to 2003), and Professor of Religion (emeritus). According to Dr. Elizabeth Davis, president of Furman University, he was a "Furman icon."

As Chaplain, he guided Furman through the challenges of integration, race relations, the Student Protest Era, Vietnam, and the draft lottery. A devotee of building understanding between the races, he was instrumental in hosting tours to Koinonia Farm in Americus, Georgia and developing the Furman Civil Rights Tour. He also actively developed travel programs to Israel and other parts of the Middle East for students and the larger community. He initiated internships through Church Related Vocations for students engaging in ministry. He hosted Billy Graham, Jimmy Carter, John Kerry, Benjamin Mays and a host of other notable guests on Furman's campus. A man of deep faith, he challenged and inspired Furman through his teaching and his leadership to model the best of the Baptist heritage.

In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by his son, J. Stewart Pitts. Jim is survived by his wife, Nancy Stewart Pitts of the home; his son, Jonathan Pitts and wife, Jackie Pitts; a daughter-in-law, Kelley Ellison Pitts; four grandchildren: Will Pitts, Jon Walker Pitts, Colton Pitts and Lilli Pitts; brothers: Don F. Pitts and Bob Elliott; and sister, Barb Pitts. He is also survived by countless students, friends, and colleagues who made his life's work so very fulfilling. His guidance gave so many students, ministers, and countless others a hope and a future.

An experienced pastoral counselor, he worked in both congregational and hospital settings. His professional expertise includes crisis counseling, substance abuse intervention, and career guidance for persons in ministry. He most recently served as Minister of Pastoral Support at First Baptist Church, Easley, SC.

His sermons and essays on biblical and pastoral themes are published in books, magazines and on NextSunday.com. One of the founders of Smyth & Helwys, Dr. Pitts served as Chairman of the Board for the past 26 years. In addition to serving as the editor of www.NextSundayWorship.com, he is the principal photographer and editor of www.NextSundayGallery.com, an educational resource with a comprehensive collection of high quality photos illustrating the geography and archaeology of the Biblical World.

The family will hold a private graveside service. A memorial service to celebrate his life and those who loved and admired him will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to United Ministries, info@united-ministries.org, 606 Pendleton Street Greenville, SC 29601.

Arrangements are being handled by the Mackey Funerals and Cremations at Century Drive.

Condolences can be shared at www.mackeycenturydrive.com

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Greenville News from Jan. 19 to Jan. 24, 2021.
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 Mackey Funerals and Cremations at Century Drive
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5 entries
February 20, 2021
Jim always had a kind word for everyone. I enjoyed chatting with him including just before his passing. I will miss his southern style, his smile, and his positive attitude.
Goodbye Jim
John Polen
January 26, 2021
Nancy and family, Robert and I are so sorry to hear about Jim's passing. He was a delightful man. Sammie and Robert Tate
Sammie T Tate
January 21, 2021
We were so sorry to hear about Jim's passing. He was a great man and did so much for so many. Our deepest sympathy to Nancy and the family.
Brian and Peggy Dulaney
Brian and Peggy Dulaney
January 21, 2021
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David and Beth (Bonner) Taylor
January 20, 2021
I am a former student and attended Furman when I was in my late 40's. Dr. Pitts led me through an independent study that was life changing for me. I will always be grateful for the work he did as a mentor and friend.
Betty Hall class of 89.
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