Billy J. Christian
Billy J. Christian of Athens, Georgia, and Memphis, Tennessee, 86, died at home on Sunday June 6, following a brief illness. Mr. Christian was a U.S. Navy Veteran, a graduate of Athens High School and of the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia and a graduate in music studies of the School of Sacred Music at Union Seminary, New York City.
Among his professional accomplishments, Billy served as Organist/Choirmaster at Idlewild Presbyterian Church from 1959 to 1982 and served both as interim and permanent Organist/Choir Director at Germantown Presbyterian Church from 1984 to 1993.
Billy, the youngest of eight children, son of the late Katie Lee Norris Christian and Robert Franklin Christian, is survived by brother Leard Hughes (L.H.) Christian and sister Elma Ruth Christian Erb. Billy is preceded in death by Iris Christian Lanum, Larry Christian, Curtis Christian, Ora Lee Christian Gadell and Robert Felton Christian.
He leaves to cherish his memory numerous cousins, nephews and nieces, grandnephews and grandnieces, ecclestiastical music devotees in congregations across the country as well as “extended” family members in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and other Mid-Atlantic communities.
As a life-long and active member of the American Guild of Organists, Billy practiced the tenets set forth in their Declaration of Religious Principles epitomized by these words: “We believe that the office of music in Divine Worship is a Sacred Obligation before the Most High.”
A memorial service for Billy will be held at Idlewild Presbyterian Church on Monday, June 20, 2011 at 2 p.m.
Memorial donations in Billy J. Christian’s name may be made to the Bell Fund, Idlewild Presbyterian Church, 1750 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN, 38104.