Reverend Arthur McCoy Carlton

Published 12:57 pm Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Rev. Arthur McCoy Carlton, 96, of Fairhope, passed away, Thursday, April 28, 2016. He was born February 19, 1920, in Eufaula to parents, the Rev. A. B. and Myra Stewart Carlton. Arthur grew up across south Alabama, graduating high school from Clayton. He completed Birmingham-Southern College, graduating in three years, and then began a Master of Divinity Program at Duke University. Arthur was admitted to the Alabama/West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1944. Arthur Carlton was a man of strength, character and determination which was revealed in his first pastoral appointment and continued throughout his life.

Assigned to Ramer, Alabama, Arthur learned some residents were plotting to lynch an African American man that was held in the local jail.

Arthur alerted the sheriff and assisted in securing the safety of a deputy and prisoner getting across the county line. A community uproar ensued over the next few days and included a cross burning in the parsonage yard. Arthur received numerous recognitions from around the U.S., including Governor Chauncey Sparks who noted that “Arthur Carlton prevented another stain on the good name of our great State.”

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Bishop Costen J. Harrell determined it was not safe for Arthur to remain in Ramer. Arthur was then reappointed with honor to another congregation. Twenty-one years later, Bishop Kenneth Goodson selected Arthur to become District Superintendent of the Selma District for the next six years during the tumultuous times following the 1965 Selma Civil Rights march.

Arthur served United Methodist Churches in Ramer, Columbia and Curtis Memorial-Dothan.  In 1946, he married Mary Evelyn Hughes of Slocomb.

Later, he served churches in Mt. Vernon, Hurtsboro, Opp, Atmore, Demopolis and the Selma District. In 1970, Evelyn passed away and Arthur later married Mabel Caley Kelley from Marion Junction. Arthur continued in ministry serving Brewton, Hartford and Wetumpka, retiring in 1979. For the next 25 years, Arthur and Mabel provided staff and leadership for Blue Lake Camps for intellectually and physically challenged adults. Arthur resided in the Marion Junction community at the Caley-Kelley-Carlton home for 33 years until Mabel’s passing in 2012.  He enjoyed his remaining years living with family in Fairhope.

Arthur is survived by eight children, Arthur M. Carlton Jr. (Pat), Kay Carlton, Pat Carlton-Ramakrishnan (Dinakar), Charlie Carlton (Kelly), Bill Kelley (Barbara), Helen Phillips, Betty Kelley and Kathleen Smith; a host of grandchildren, great grandchildren; and dear special friend, Jean Attaway.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at Fairhope United Methodist Church at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 4, with Dr. Karl Stegall and Dr. Ed Glaize officiating. Visitation will be one hour preceding in the Christian Life Center. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Stegall Seminary Scholarships, P. O. Box 241661, Montgomery, AL, 36124. Expressions of condolence may be made at Arrangements are by Hughes Funeral Home, 7951 American Way, Daphne, AL.