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Reverend John Gilbert Courter Olive

Reverend John Gilbert Courter Olive, age 81, died at Johnson City Medical Center on Wednesday, December 3, 2014, following a brief illness with leuk emia. He was born January 26, 1933 in Tampa, Florida. He had lived in Florida, North Carolina and Alabama, before living the last twenty years of his life in Unicoi, Tennessee. He was licensed to preach on October 30, 1951; and received his Deacon’s Orders in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church on June 7, 1959. He subsequently was ordained as an Elder on June 9, 1961. Reverend Olive served in the Alabama – West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church from 1953-1958, and in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church from 1958-1968. Reverend Olive served in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church from 1968 until his retirement in 1993. He pastored several churches in these Conferences during his forty years in ministry. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of fifty-one years, Lula Mae Smith Olive, in 2006.

He is survived by two sons, Dr. Kenneth Olive and his wife, Janine, Johnson City; John James “Jim” Olive, Winston-Salem, NC; and two daughters, Linda Rhodes and husband, Kevin Fennel, Knoxville, and Darlene Wegert, Knoxville; his sister, Shirley Williams, Madison, FL; six grandchildren, Elizabeth Benson and her husband, Jordan, Susan Olive, Bradley Rhodes, Holly Cook, Courtney Fennel, Lauren Rhodes; and three great-grandchildren, Jeremiah Jonathan “JJ” Rambo, Kylee Dean and Trinity Besanceney.

Reverend Olive’s family will receive friends from 1:00 P. M. to 2:00 P. M. Saturday, December 6, 2014, at the Unicoi United Methodist Church. John’s Celebration of Life Service will be at 2:00 P. M. at the church. The Reverend Roger Mathess will officiate. Interment will follow in Roselawn Memory Gardens. Music will be provided by Martha Pinner, Becky Cummings and Pat Vanover. Buddy Jones, Robert Martin, Rick Newman, Alan Peake, Terry Roller, Kenneth Vandyke, Tommy Vanover and Rocky McInturff will serve as pallbearers.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Unicoi United Methodist Church, 702 Virginia Street, Unicoi, TN 37692 or the American Cancer Society, 508 Princeton Road, Suite 102, Johnson City, TN 37601.

The family extends grateful appreciation to Dr. Paul Brown, Dr. Devapiran Jaishankar, and the staff at Pine Oaks Assisted Living for their compassionate, excellent care of John during his life and recent illness.

Online condolences, photos and memories may be shared with the family through our complimentary, interactive Book of Memories at

Unicoi Funeral Home, 4428 Unicoi Drive, Unicoi, is privileged to serve the Olive family. (423) 743-1380