The Reverend Dr. Harold Coulter Warlick peacefully passed away surrounded by family on October 20, 2021. Hal was born to Mr. Harold C. and Mary Estelle (Mamie) Warlick in Wilmington, North Carolina on March 16, 1946. The family eventually moved to North Augusta, South Carolina. While attending North Augusta Senior High School, Hal completed a college preparatory course of study, and earned letters in football, basketball, baseball and track. His speed on the field earned him the nickname “The Sly Fox,” which was later abbreviated to “Fox.” He graduated in 1964 and attended Furman University on a football scholarship. Furman opened a new world for him. According to Hal, “Furman transformed me from an individual concerned primarily with athletics to an individual seeking to find and proclaim truth with integrity.” Hal graduated from Furman in 1968 with a Bachelor’s degree in History and a minor in Religion and was shortly thereafter ordained as a Baptist minister in the First Baptist Church of North Augusta.
Hal continued his education at Harvard University Divinity School, earning a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1971. While there, he married the love of his life, Diane Norman Warlick, in August of 1970. Hal and Diane together moved on to Vanderbilt University Divinity School where Hal completed his Doctor of Divinity degree in 1974. From 1972 to 1982, he served as senior minister of Trinity Baptist Church in Seneca, South Carolina; senior minister of Seventh and James Church at Baylor University in Texas; and then as Director of Ministerial Studies and Lecturer in Applied Theology and Senior Counselor at Harvard University Divinity School.
Desiring to return to the South to raise their children and be closer to their families, Hal and Diane accepted an appointment in High Point, North Carolina, at Emerywood Baptist Church in 1982. It was in High Point that Hal and Diane made their permanent home. Hal served as Senior Minister at Emerywood until 1989, when he was asked to join High Point University as Minister to the University. He later was named Dean of the Chapel and became chair of the department of Religion and Philosophy, from whence he guided generations of men and women through the crossing into adulthood and was affectionately known as “Doc.” Doc’s weekly chapel services were filled to capacity at a time when most college students might shy away from church and/or religion. He was a spiritual pillar and guide for the University for 23 years, and had a gift for delivering educational and uplifting sermons that resonated with the students. Under his care, Hayworth Chapel became a beautiful, welcoming center of faith for the High Point community. Hal remained Dean of the Chapel until his retirement in 2012, and Emeritus Dean of the Chapel thereafter. Upon his retirement, the pulpit in the chapel sanctuary was named in his honor, and friends and colleagues established the Hal Warlick Scholarship Fund, which provides students with financial awards to pursue collegiate studies. The fund has provided over 30 scholarships to date.
Beginning in 2004 and continuing through 2017, Hal also served as Resident Minister of Blowing Rock Methodist Church, in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Under his leadership, this multi-denominational “little church in the mountains” extended its reach far and wide, supporting the local community and others across the U.S. through the outreach ministry of its members. Blowing Rock, and the many friends made there, held an extra special place in Hal’s heart.
By any measure, Hal was one of this country’s most noted preachers, teachers, theologians and humanitarians. He published seventeen books, numerous articles and essays and led many a religious service, wedding, funeral or lecture. Hal received a great number of awards, accolades and recognitions in his lifetime. Among his most valued were those associated with his alma mater, Furman University. Hal was honored with the Richard Furman Baptist Heritage award in 2012. In 2015, he delivered the commencement address at Furman and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities by the University.
In nearly 50 years of scholarly and religious life, Hal used his gifts to build bridges to unite people, ideas and ideals across diverse faiths and cultural backgrounds. Mere words cannot express the ways that Hal emulated his trusted adviser and friend Rev. Peter Gomes (Harvard University) by “having a faith that is not just what you say you believe, but how you live it.” Hal was a servant leader in the truest sense and a faithful servant to every community that was fortunate enough to experience the gift of his presence.
Hal was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Mamie. He is survived by his beloved wife of 51 years, Diane; his sons, Scott (Beth) and Coulter (Ginny); four beautiful grandchildren, Kayleigh, Garrett, Elsie and Hayes; and his dear sister, Mary Jo Gould. He also leaves behind countless cherished friends, family, students, colleagues, church members and lives he has impacted along the way.
A service of remembrance will be held at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church on Sunday, October 24th, at 2 o’clock in the afternoon (masks requested). All are welcome to join the family in the Asbury Room afterward for fellowship. A private family burial is planned in Blowing Rock.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Hal Warlick Scholarship Fund (8225 Bar Harbor Lane, Charlotte, NC 28210) or the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (https://www.alzheimersresearchfoundation.com/).
Hal Warlick Scholarship Fund
8225 Bar Harbor Lane, Charlotte NC 28210
Alzheimer's Research Foundation