Dr. Jarrett Bryant Millsaps, Sr., took flight into the arms of our Lord Jesus on June 13, 2022, from his back porch sanctuary surrounded by his family after a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s.
We rejoice that he is no longer bound by the limits of this earth, is fully healed, and is reunited with many friends and family members in Heaven.
Bryant/Dad/Papa was born on March 2, 1947 in Chattanooga, TN as the second child of William Hobart Millsaps, Sr., and Myra Sue (Bryant) Millsaps.
On a modern day map his hometown will show up as Soddy-Daisy, TN, but longtime Hamilton County, TN residents will know that Soddy and Daisy are two different places — and Bryant was from Daisy.
A child of career educators, he attended Daisy Elementary and Central High School in Chattanooga where his father served as Principal. While at Central, he played football and had the distinction of being part of the 1962 Central High Purple Pounder team that went undefeated, including a shut out of Steve Spurrier’s Johnson City team 14-0.
Bryant attended Middle Tennessee State University and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Secondary School Administration there. After brief stints with the Balfour Company and in the classroom, Bryant began working in the Department of Alumni & Government Relations of MTSU. While in that role, he began his doctorate at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College for Teachers and obtained his Ed.D in 1979, with the ultimate goal at the time of being a University President.
A phone call in 1978 changed that plan. Ned Ray McWherter, who was Speaker of the House at the time, called and asked Bryant to join the House staff as Assistant Chief Clerk. What was going to be a temporary job turned into a 15-year career in Tennessee State Government, serving as Assistant Chief Clerk of the House from 1978-1982, and Chief Clerk from 1983-1990. In 1990, he was elected Secretary of State by the General Assembly and served in that role from 1990-1993.
After leaving state government, he was a small business owner, educational consultant, and Director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for two years until he answered God’s call to full time ministry in 1998. That same year, he went to work for Dr. Gerald Stowe, the President of the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes, as his assistant.
Bryant succeeded Dr. Stowe as President/Treasurer of TBCH on January 1, 2000 and spent the next 15 years working to bring children and families in need closer to Christ. He was always quick to tell you that every previous role had prepared him for the privilege of leading the TBCH ministry through a tremendous season of growth, and his passion for the children in their care was unsurpassed. He spent his time traveling the state, speaking to any congregation he could, about the mission of TBCH and the lives impacted by those faithful to the ministry. He was a mentor to so many, and a father figure to even more in this season.
He was blessed to have a group of men in his life for over 30 years that met for Bible study nearly every Wednesday at lunch. The Brothers Of Other Mothers (BOOMers) shared a love for Jesus, life, travel, golf, and well timed practical jokes.
The family wishes to publicly mention this group and thank them for their love and support of Bryant and his family for so many years. Never has God revealed himself quite like He revealed himself through the BOOMers.
In 2016, he retired to a small cottage on the edge of Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville and spent as much time as possible taking in as many games/concerts/recitals/plays of his grandchildren as he could. He was a member of First Baptist Church Hendersonville, a proud member of the Kunce Sunday School Class, and until the last year of his life could be seen regularly in the choir on Sunday morning singing for God’s glory.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother William H. Millsaps, Jr. He is survived by his wife, Robbie, and their children Stacy (Jason) Eubank, Jarrett B. (Leigh Ann) Millsaps, Jr., and Kari (Jeff) Baker; grandchildren Grace, Jacob, Faith, Turner, Luke, Caleb, Brooke, and Elijah; and great-grandchildren Bryson and Brentlee.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, July 9, 2022 at 1:00 P.M. from First Baptist Church Hendersonville with Dr. Bruce Chesser officiating. Visitation with the family will be from 11:00 A.M. until time of service.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes at https://tennesseechildren.org/donate/.
Arrangements Entrusted To Sumner Funeral & Cremation Lakeside, Hendersonville (615) 822-4442 www.sumnerfuneral.com
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