Donald Allen Harp, Jr., died Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the age of 82. He was born September 13, 1938, in Inman, Georgia, the oldest son of Doris and Donald Allen Harp, Sr.
He was a farm boy from humble beginnings who grew up to become a dynamic and well-loved minister who touched countless lives in the communities and churches he served across the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. He loved to tell stories about his upbringing in Inman and regularly wove them into his sermons.
Don was recruited to Young Harris College to play baseball under the leadership of then-coach Zell Miller. He also attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, where he was a star baseball player and student leader.
There, he met the love of his life, Mary Ellen Dendy. They were married for almost 59 years and were partners in ministry.
While attending seminary at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, he served a six-point church circuit in Butts County. Under his leadership each congregation he pastored grew and flourished including St. Andrew UMC (Carrollton), Northwoods UMC (Doraville), Sam Jones UMC (Cartersville), and Gainesville First UMC.
When he was appointed to Peachtree Road United Methodist Church (PRUMC) in Buckhead in 1988 he balked at leaving Gainesville where he loved fishing on Lake Lanier. Don led the resurgence of PRUMC and became a towering figure in Buckhead because of his commitment to people first and to community.
While he received his doctorate and many accolades and honors, his greatest legacy was his gift for connecting with people. He was at home with rural folks and Buckhead CEOs. He was smart, funny, and generous beyond measure, a trait he learned from his parents. He came to the assistance of those in need without reservation.
His cooking was legendary, and he was the life of every party and family gathering. He was an accomplished fisherman and golfer and a beloved child of God, friend, minister, husband, father, and grandfather.
A graveside burial will be held on Sunday, April 25 at 2:00 PM for family and close friends at the Inman Cemetery (151 Hills Bridge Rd, Fayetteville, GA 30215). In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Young Harris College (the Don Harp Memorial Fund), the baseball program at Huntingdon College, or to the “Don Harp Memorial for Christmas Kindness” fund at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church.
A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, May 15 at 11:00 AM at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church (Atlanta). COVID precautions will be in place and a livestream of the service will be available on the church website (www.prumc.org).
Don is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen Harp of Brookhaven; two children and their spouses, Allen (Julie) Harp of Fayetteville, Georgia, and Robin Harp (David Bennett) of Decatur, Georgia; five grandchildren, Donald Allen III, Harrison and Sarah Nell Harp of Fayetteville, and Josh and Issabel Bennett of Decatur; brother, Mickey (Tammie) Harp of Fayetteville; sisters Jane Harp of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Carolyn Coleman of Lilburn; many cousins, nieces, nephews and extended family and friends.
Mowell Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Fayetteville — www.mowells.com