Member Spotlight: The Living Legacy of Claude Grizzard
August 12, 1906 - May 17, 2005
Ever wonder who the Grizzard House is named for? Or how our thriving Weekday Children’s Ministries got its start? Meet the late Mr. Claude Grizzard, Jr.
“Haygood would be a totally different place without Claude Grizzard,” said Dr. Allen Ecker who first met Claude in the 1950s, when Allen began attending Haygood as a teenager. “Claude chaired MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) with his wife, Helen. I remember him teaching us the Hokey Pokey.”
Along with his apparent dancing skills, Claude shared his many gifts and talents in a multitude of ways. Faithfully present, Claude rarely missed Sunday school or Sunday morning worship, throughout his 79 years as a member. Actively involved in the full ministries of the church, Claude’s volunteerism included stints as chair of the Staff Parish Relations Committee, chair of Finance and chair of the Stewardship Committee. When it came to personal giving, Dr. Ecker remembers, “Claude told me, ‘The first 10% comes off the top and the Lord will give you the other 90%.’ And he was right.”
And though his longstanding contributions are many, there’s no place where Claude’s legacy is felt more than within Haygood’s Weekday Children’s Ministries. In the early 1970s, according to Dr. Ecker, Claude felt passionate that Haygood should provide a mission to the community; so he spearheaded the effort to open a daycare. Dr. Ecker remembers that the vote only passed by a narrow margin. “There was opposition to the daycare because people were worried the Sunday school classes would smell like dirty diapers,” he laughed. “The board members promised the classrooms would be cleaned up and ready on Sunday mornings.” This meant that Claude and Dr. Ecker, along with their wives and a few others, personally cleaned the rooms each Saturday morning. But his commitment didn’t end there - he served the daycare for many decades, assuming a position on the board, as well as being a consistent guest reader to 2 and 3 year olds in the Child Development Canter.
“Claude was a patriarch...a leader in the church from both a business point of view and a theological point of view,” Dr. Ecker said. “He remained very active all his fie and lived his Christian beliefs.”
Haygood is blessed to have had such a faithful servant in Claude Grizzard, and we hope his legacy inspires each of us to live as he did, humbly walking with God.