James Jerry Lail

September 23, 1940April 12, 2021
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Rev. James Jerry Lail, age, 80, went home to be with the Lord April 12, 2021. He had ongoing cancer since March 2008. Jerry was born to the late Rev. James R. and Faye Chapman Lail on September 23, 1940 in Taylorsville, NC. He was a 1958 graduate of Taylorsville High School, Taylorsville, NC. Mr. Lail served in the US Air Force August 1958 to June 1962. After being discharged from the military, he was employed by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, retiring in 2006, after 35 years as manager of the Materials and Tests Laboratories in Statesville, NC and Asheville, NC.

August 1971, Jerry gave his life to the Lord and in 1973 the Lord called him into the ministry. He served as a bi-vocational pastor throughout his ministerial career. Pastoring churches in Alexander, Iredell and Wilkes counties in NC, Tarrant and surrounding counties in Texas.

Jerry is a graduate of Mitchell Community College, 1976, Statesville, NC, Gardner-Webb University, 1978, Boiling Springs, NC, Southwestern Theological Seminary, 1982, Fort Worth, Tx. While attending the Seminary, he served as bi-vocational minister and was employed by Texas Alcohol and Narcotics Education.

Those preceding him in death, along with his parents were a brother, Bobby Lail, a sister, Brenda Lail, Paternal grandparents, Troy and Julia Lail, Maternal grandparents Lon and Lucy Chapman.

Those left to cherish his memory are his wife of 59 years, Linda Russell Lail, one daughter, Tonya Lail Millsaps, three grandchildren, Aaron (Heather) Millsaps, Jonathan (finance, Jesse Bost) Millsaps, and Matthew Millsaps, four great grandchildren, Cheyanne Millsaps, Braydon Millsaps, Stormalynn Millsaps, and Serenity Millsaps, brother, Jack (Brenda) Lail, sister, Linda Lail, brother-inlaw, Donald (Arlene) Russell, two aunts, Mary Leigh (Fred) Jolly, Sarah Ann Chapman Gentry, a number of nephews, nieces, cousins, special friend, Wyndell (Anna Mae) Hollar and many other very good friends.

Visitation and service will be held at Corinth Reformed Church, Hickory, NC. Visitation will be from 2pm to 3pm with a memorial service starting at 3pm on Sunday April 18, 2021. Rev. Dr. Robert Thompson will officiate. A private graveside service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to Corinth Reformed Church, Carolina Caring or charity of choice.

Condolences may be left at

The family is under the care of Catawba Memorial Park, Funerals & Cremations.


  • Corinth Reformed Church
  • Carolina Caring


  • Visitation

    Sunday, April 18, 2021

  • Memorial Service

    Sunday, April 18, 2021


James Jerry Lail

have a memory or condolence to add?

Narriman Ladd

May 4, 2021

Linda and Tonya...we are so sorry to hear about your loss..We just found out today..Jerry was daddys best friend at the state lab....He preached at daddy`s funeral...Praying for your family...Sweet memories of your family while you were at New Bethany..
Love...Willa Dean and Narriman

Barry Hartness

April 20, 2021

I always enjoyed working with Jerry. He was a mentor and a friend. Whenever we had to go to Raleigh for a meeting or week long conference at Atlantic Beach, the trip was made more bearable with Jerry also there. We would go out to eat together and he would always look so happy while he was eating and going through several cups of coffee.
Every time I talked to him or had a question , my first words were always “ hey Lail”. Just saying that brings a smile to my face. Jerry also had such a fun sense of humor.
Jerry will be missed and I am happy that he was my friend.

Barry Hartness

Charles Bartlett Jr.

April 18, 2021

It is with my deepest condolences for the family. Jerry was a great mentor and undoubtedly one of the best bosses I have ever had. You Will Be Missed!

Aaron Millsaps

April 17, 2021

From the Great Grandkids,

Pawpaw the kids love you so much. They always talk about you. Cheyanne enjoyed setting and talking with you and picking your brain, Braydon loved the airplanes you made and has been begging to learn how to make them, Stormalynn loved setting on your lap and talking with you and Serenity loved playing with you and stealing all of your kisses. They are going to miss you so much and they are glad they got to spend the amount of time they did with you and got to see what a awesome Great Grandfather is like. We love you and miss you, and will see you again in heaven

Love, Cheyanne, Braydon, Stormalynn and Serenity

Aaron Millsaps

April 17, 2021


​Pawpaw Jerry has been one of the best men I knew. As far back as I can remember he has always had that beard and all of us got a good dose of getting beard scruffed even down to his great grandkids. I remember growing up going to his and Mamaw Linda’s house to visit and play. I always loved going their when they lived in Asheville because it was like a vacation. He would take us swimming and play with us, he would show us his tools and try to teach us what they were. I remember us always trying to get away with setting in his chair and he would laughingly tell us that’s the “Daddy Rat Chair and I’m the Daddy Rat”.
Pawpaw also always used to read us Bible stories and talk to us about God and Jesus. When I got saved at the age of seven he was the one that Baptized me. I didn’t realize then how important that was to me let alone how important it was to him to Baptize all three of his grandkids and getting to know that no matter what happened we would always get to be with him even after death. He taught me a lot as I grew up and learned and I always looked up to him and strived to be as good of a man as he was.
When I got to be an adult he influenced me in many ways. One of the things was my love to guitar. He was one of the reasons I wanted to learn. I remember watching him when I was young when he would play at church and thinking I would like to learn one day. Now I try to give back to the Lord the same ways he did by playing the guitar in our church.
One of my most favorite memories of him was the day that I married my wife. Pawpaw was the one to marry us. That was something I had wanted from the time I got old enough to understand what marriage was. That day will always mean so much to me.
Pawpaw we love you so much. Love Aaron and Heather

Linda Lail (Sister)

April 17, 2021

“Heaven, land of peace and love
Oh, it makes me feel like traveling on-
Heaven, eternal, Heaven supernal
I’m so glad it’s real.”

Jerry and I sang this song during Daddy’s revivals, the beginning of a lifetime of a love for Southern Gospel music.

Jerry was a kind and protective brother for a naïve and insecure younger sister.

Although our adult lives were lived mostly at a distance, our relationship remained strong, bound by ties of love and mutual respect.

Later in my life and in my journey with the Lord Jesus, Jerry became my spiritual mentor. Our times of discussion about God’s Word and the deeper meaning of specific verses and doctrines gave me insight and understanding into the heart of God.

I am grateful for the people who had a profound influence on my life and my brother, Jerry, will always be at the top of my list.

At the end of our phone conversations, he always would say “I love you mine sister” and so I say “I will love you forever mine brother.”

Go in the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Linda Lail

April 15, 2021

Jerry and I were in high school together, although he was a senior and I was a freshman. After graduation, Jerry joined the Air Force. We met in a more personal way in December 1960, while he was home on leave after serving a tour of duty with the Air Force on Okinawa for eighteen months. We married September 9, 1961.

The joy of our marriage has been our daughter, Tonya Marie (RN), who was born on February 20, 1964. Our three grandsons and four greatgrandchildren are truly a blessing. A tragic and difficult thing in our marriage was my fight with a rare type of cancer, 1968. Thankfully, the Lord healed me. Jerry and I have been blessed to have had over 59 year of marriage, not perfect. Knowing the Father, we embraced the quiet and leaned into His unfailing love and constant presence. When times were dark and hard, we rested in Him because we felt safe under the shelter of His unchanging faithfulness. He was and is our refuge in times of trouble and when the path ahead seems scary and overwhelming His love envelops us, He hears us, answers us, and stays with us now and forever into eternity (Psalm 91).

Jerry is with Jesus and is dancing with Him, the angels and love ones that have gone on before him. His long painful battle with cancer has ended and he has a new body. My life will never be the same and I miss him terribly but rejoice that he is more alive than he has ever been. I will see him again one day in heaven, our forever home. He has been my love, best friend and spiritual mentor on this earth many years. I will miss studying and discussing God’s word with him. He understood and had the capacity to make application so well. God truly gifted him. Our love for each other was seasoned with God’s grace and mercy. Princess Kate, our flame point white cat, his first ever true pet, misses lying on his lap.

Farewell my love, your darling wife and the “Big Thing’s little darling.

Jonathan Millsaps

April 15, 2021

My Grandfather, “Paw Paw” was a wonderful grandfather, father figure and man of God. He will be missed in our family. I am so fortunate to have had him in my life for as long as I have. Paw Paw was the most caring and loving person, who loved his family more than we can ever imagine. He had a tremendous influence on my life and helped to mold me into the Christian man I am today. I accepted the Lord Jesus into my heart August 7, 1998, and Paw Paw baptized me at Sulphur Springs Baptist Church, Hiddenite, NC.

As far back as I can remember, Paw Paw has called me his “Little Bear.” According to my mother, Tonya Millsaps, he gave me this nickname at birth. As I was growing up, I remember him being an avid Red Skin fan and that had a huge impact on me being a Red Skin fan today. Another remembrance of mine, when I was a young child, I recall Paw Paw having model airplanes that he had built. I would always ask him, “Me see yous hair banes” Baw Baw?” He would get one to look at and tell me all about it.
Paw Paw had a humorous side. One of his legs had atrophy, resulting from past injury and back surgeries. He would joke about his “limpy leg.”

Things will not be the same without Paw Paw’s presence. He will truly be missed by each one of us. I know that he is in Heaven dancing with his Lord and Savior, as he would say “I will one day be dancing with my Lord and Savior.” Paw Paw has left me with memories that cannot be changed, nor replaced, but they have been cherished from childhood to adulthood and will be carried to eternity.

I love you Paw Paw and I know that I will be seeing you again in Heaven.

Your, “Little Bear”

Matthew Millsaps

April 15, 2021

I first want to thank my grandfather (Pawpaw) for being there for me and my family through some of the hardest times in our lives. He was and will always be as a father figure to me. When I needed a glimpse of wisdom, Pawpaw was the one to ask. He was always willing to give great advice on anything and if he didn’t know the answer then that must of been something one of his brothers knew. He always would joke that, between him and his brothers, they knew everything. After accepting Jesus Christ as my savior, I had the honor to have my grandfather baptize me at Linney’s Mill. I will forever cherish that precious moment.

I’ll always remember the many trips to Asheville to see my grandparents. My brothers and I would always race to be the first to ring the doorbell once we pulled up at their house. Trips to Asheville were the best. I always loved when Mamaw and Pawpaw would take us to the local pool, Christmas parades, firework shows and gingerbread house competitions at the Grove Park Inn. I even had a blast sitting at the lab that Pawpaw worked at for hours upon hours playing on an old Windows 95 computer while he would finish work. There was never a dull moment when we would visit them.

Pawpaw will be dearly missed from the entire family and he will be extremely missed by me. I look forward to the day that I can see him again and I am glad the he is without pain. Above all else, I am so glad that I was able to call myself his grandson. I will always cherish the knowledge and wisdom he bestowed upon each of us and he will continue to inspire me throughout the rest of my days.

Tonya Millsaps

April 15, 2021

Daddy was a humorous person, well liked by those fortunate enough to know him. He was not a talkative man by nature, but the message in his preaching was loud and clear. I have no doubt that many souls came to know the Lord through his ministry, and I am sure that he heard “Well done my good and faithful servant”.

When I was young, daddy called me “His Little Princess”. He nicknamed me “Missy”, from birth, I think (laugh out loud). He was the only person to whom I would respond, when called by that name. Daddy’s unconditional, not judge-mental love had a profound affect on me. It portrayed the love that our heavenly Father has for His children. He was my protector, my mentor and my friend. I will miss him deeply, but the pain of his loss cannot eclipse the joy of knowing that daddy will be disease and pain free in the presence of our Lord and Savior.

Love you Daddy