Cover photo for Rev. Phillip A. Gaines's Obituary
Rev. Phillip A. Gaines Profile Photo

Rev. Phillip A. Gaines

September 12, 1956 — September 26, 2018

Rev. Phillip A. Gaines

The Rev. Phillip Alexander Gaines, known to family and friends as “Phil”, born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta on September 12, 1956, finished his course in faith at his sister’s residence in Elberton on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, two weeks after his 62nd birthday.

Son of the late Winford Alexander Gaines and Tommie Lee Taylor Gaines, Phil was a 1974 graduate of Madison County High School and attended Georgia Southern College for two years. Following his tenure at Southern, he moved to Atlanta and gained employment at the Atlanta Journal Constitution as a classified advertising typist. During his time at the AJC, Phil attended DeKalb Community College and graduated from Georgia State University in 1988 with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and English. This allowed him to work his way up to an Outside Advertising Executive, a position he held until 1992 when he felt the Lord’s call to ministry and enrolled at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC. He graduated there in 1996 and was ordained at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Atlanta on November 15, 1996. His first call as Rev. Gaines was at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Melville, Long Island, NY, where he served from 1996 until 2000. He served at Georgetown Lutheran Church in Washington, DC from 2000 until 2013 as his second call. In 2013, Phil moved back to Atlanta where he lived until he retired to the family farm in the Coldwater Community of Elberton in 2015. Here, he accepted a part-time assignment at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, and served there until his death.

Although a Lutheran by faith, he never formally moved his letter from Coldwater United Methodist Church and was currently a member there. Phil attended Lutheran Church of the Redeemer for many years and was active in the church choir, meals on wheels, and AIDS ministry. His passion was music, especially playing the piano, and he often sang church solos and in weddings. “Uncle Phil”, as he was known to his family, enjoyed gardening, a good game of golf, traveling, being the number one fan of the Atlanta Braves, and could be seen mowing his grass any chance he got!

Survivors include his sister and brother-in-law, Jane and Tom McCall; niece, Katie McCall and her fiancé Bristol Archer; nephew, Al McCall, his wife Rachel, and their two sons Winn and Wilkes; and countless friends and extended family members.

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his husband, Jack Strauss; nephew, Bud Gaines McCall; maternal grandparents, Steven Olin and Bessie Turner Taylor; paternal grandparents, Ira Alexander Gaines and Ora Anne Adams Gaines.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, September 29, at 2 o’clock in the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church with the Rev. Mary Peters officiating.

Interment will follow in Coldwater United Methodist Church Cemetery with Al McCall, Bristol Archer, Derek Thomason, Hunter Blackmon, Sid Adams, Eli Arnold, Stanley Shubert, and Dave Kummer honored as pallbearers. Pastoral friends are asked to serve as honorary pallbearers.

The family is at the residence of Tom and Jane McCall in the Fortsonia Community and will receive friends at Berry Funeral Home from 6:00-8:00p.m. on Friday evening.

Flowers are accepted and contributions may be made in his memory to Friends Helping Friends, % ECCHS, 600 Abernathy Circle, Elberton, GA 30635 (FHF is an organization started in memory of Phil’s nephew, Bud Gaines McCall, to assist the special needs students of Elbert County).

Those wishing may sign the online guestbook at

Berry Funeral Home & Crematory of Elberton is respectfully in charge of arrangements for the Rev. Phillip Alexander Gaines.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rev. Phillip A. Gaines, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Friday, September 28, 2018

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Berry Funeral Home & Crematory

1 Berry Lane, Elberton, GA 30635

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

20 Forest Avenue, Elberton, GA 30635

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Coldwater United Methodist Church Cemetery

1753 Coldwater Road, Elberton, GA 30635

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