Presiding Elder Raymond McDonald Dickenson, Sr. born on November 22, 1937 in Russell County, Virginia, attained true freedom when he was called to eternal rest at his home on Friday, June 26, 2020. Presiding Elder Dickenson, affectionately called Johnny by family and friends, spent his formative years in Johnson City, TN and graduated from Langston High School. It was at Langston where he met his sweetheart Ola Marie Rollins. After high school, he served several years in the United States Air Force and then returned to marry Ola Marie in 1959.
Presiding Elder Dickenson was predeceased by his mother, Lillian Dickenson Echols, father, Isaac “Ike” Wade, and sons Raymond, Jr. and Eric. Presiding Elder Dickenson leaves to mourn his wife of 60 years, Ola Marie, brother Herman Echols (Libby) Johnson City, TN, daughters Tina McDaniel (William) Bristol, TN, and Carmen Burton (Jeffrey Sr.) Salisbury, NC, six grandchildren Tyson McDaniel, Matthew Dickenson (Julie), Taylor Glanzman (Tyler), Jeffrey Burton Jr., Anthony Dickenson and Erika Dickenson, three great grandchildren (Eric, Kylie and Everett), daughter-in-law Abbe and special daughter Miriam Luna, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and other beloved family members, friends and colleagues.
Raymond gave his life to Jesus Christ at Friendship Baptist Church in Johnson City, TN and later responded to the call on his life to preach the Gospel. He was ordained as a minister under the leadership of the late Bishop Sylvester Anderson in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and was later ordained as Presiding Elder by the late Bishop James Clinton Hoggard. Presiding Elder Dickenson pastored several A.M.E. Zion congregations throughout East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia (Limestone, Chuckey, and Jonesboro A.M.E Zion Church, Hood Memorial A.M.E. Zion/Bristol TN, Brown’s Chapel A.M.E. Zion/Elizabethton TN, Harris-Anderson A.M.E. Zion/Bristol VA, Bluff City A.M.E. Zion/Bluff City TN, Long’s Chapel A.M.E. Zion/Dante VA, Bundy’s Chapel A.M.E. Zion/Castlewood VA and Lebanon Chapel A.M.E. Zion/Lebanon VA. Presiding Elder Dickenson faithfully led the Bristol District of the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal area and represented the conference as General Conference delegate on several occasions. Upon retirement, Elder attended Jones Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Greeneville, TN and served faithfully until his health declined. He was a faithful teacher and student of the Bible who considered his calling a privilege and honor. Presiding Elder Dickenson was truly grateful for God giving him the opportunity to serve in His Great Church.
While the church played a vital role in Presiding Elder’s life, he retired in 1991 from Eastman Kodak where he was a maintenance repairman. He was an avid learner and completed studies from Moody Bible College in Chicago, IL and graduated with his Associate in Biblical Education from Graham Bible College in Bristol, TN. Presiding Elder Dickenson received his FAA Pilot’s License and was the first black flight instructor in the Tri-Cities. After retirement, Presiding Elder continued his studies by taking courses at Northeast State Community College. Presiding Elder’s love for God, family, people and sense of humor will be missed.
Special thank you to David and Anita with Home Instead Senior Care, community members and many others for the love and care given Elder during the past six months.
Birchette Mortuary in Johnson City, TN is in charge of arrangements. Due to covid-19 restrictions, private services will be scheduled with a memorial at a later date. The family will be receiving friends at the home.