R.G. Puckett to retire Dec. 31 from N.C. Biblical Recorder

RALEIGH, N.C. (BP)--R.G. Puckett, editor of North Carolina Baptists' Biblical Recorder newsjournal since 1982, will retire Dec. 31 of this year.

Puckett, who has served as editor of three different state Baptist papers, turned 65 Sept. 22. He met privately with the chairman and vice chairman of the paper's board of directors Sept. 24 and 25 to advise them of his plans.

Puckett was editor of the Maryland Baptist from 1966-79 and editor of the Ohio Baptist Messenger from 1958-61 and was associate editor of the Western Recorder in Kentucky from 1963-66. While editor in Maryland, he assisted in the birth of The New England Baptist and The Penn/Jersey Baptist by volunteering his services without salary as managing editor of the papers in the two new state conventions.

Puckett came to the Biblical Recorder from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, where he was executive director from 1979-82.

He succeeded J. Marse Grant at the Recorder, who served as editor 22 years, the longest tenure in the 165-year history of the paper. Grant was preceded by L.L. Carpenter who served 19 years. The three men edited the Recorder for almost 60 years of the 20th century.

He is a former president of the Southern Baptist Press Association and former board chairman of Associated Baptist Press. He chaired Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's trustees from 1976-78. He was a pastor in Ohio and Florida during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

In a letter addressed to board chairman Don E. Bolden of Burlington, and copied to all members of the board, Puckett said the timing of his retirement was the result of his age, years in the ministry and consideration of his family.

"It has been the highest honor of my 50-year ministry in the gospel and four decades in working with state Baptist papers to serve as editor of the Biblical Recorder," Puckett said in his letter to the board.

"Long before I came to North Carolina, I admired and respected the Recorder as one of the four best state Baptist papers in the United States. I am indebted to those who preceded me for their wisdom, courage and insight in launching, properly structuring and maintaining a voice of truth for Baptists in the state and beyond."

Puckett said the 57,000-circulation Recorder "has been on the cutting edge of issues, unafraid to take a stand -- however controversial -- and to provide an open forum for the exchange of Baptist perceptions and views on church, denominational life and trends in society."

Puckett, a native of Green County, Ky., added in his letter, "The Pucketts fell in love with North Carolina long before we moved here," Puckett wrote to the directors.

"Both our daughters attended Baptist schools in North Carolina, and that brought us to the state frequently. Here we found wonderful people, an exciting, growing state and a rich Baptist heritage.

"We are exceedingly grateful for the love and kindness shown to us by so many Tar Heels."

Puckett earned degrees at Campbellsville (Ky.) University, Western Kentucky University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Wake Forest University honored him with a doctorate in 1990.

He and his wife, Robbie, married 43 years, have two daughters, Janet Wade of Charlotte, and Jeanne Fishlike of Roanoke, Va., and three grandchildren.

The Pucketts will continue to make their home in Raleigh in retirement.

Download Story