Ira Vinson "Jack" Birdwhistell
Ira Vinson "Jack" Birdwhistell, known as "Doc" to most, was a prominent Baptist minister and professor of Religion and Church History. Descended from a long line of Kentucky ministers (including Rev. John Rice and Rev. W.D. Moore), Jack received a calling in 1964 while a Freshmen at Georgetown College. He initially served as the Youth Minister at Sand Spring Baptist Church before going on to pursue a M.Div and Ph.D. in Church History from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Jack was ordained at his home church in Lawrenceburg, Ky in May, 1970, after which he served as the Pastor at Canmer Baptist Church in Canmer, Kentucky and then at First Baptist Church in Drakesboro, Ky. Jack then became "Doc" in 1980 when he was hired as the Campus Minister at Georgetown College, his alma mater. He would go on to serve in this role for 17 years before moving to teaching full-time in the Religion Department.
Known to his students, family, and friends as a great encourager and teacher, Doc built a lasting legacy that is best summed up by his own favorite saying: "Shine On!" Doc passed away suddenly in February of 2014 - this page is our attempt to further extend his life and message.
Letters and Writing
Causes and Donations
Doc had a habit of helping students afford special trips and projects by little "micro grants". Georgetown College established this fund to continue the effort.
Clippings and Articles
Quotes and Sayings
Each year during the offseason, the Cincinnati Reds Caravan comes through Cynthiana. In 2014 Doc was supposed to come with me to the caravan but was unable to attend at the last minute do to a schedule conflict at Georgetown. While at the caravan I had the players and front office personnel in attendance sign this ball for Doc. I was able to give it to him a few weeks before he passed. Doc's son Dan was gracious enough to return the ball to me a few weeks after Doc's passing and I now keep it in my office at work as a reminder of the influence Doc has had on both my life and the lives of so many others.
Dad loved beautiful places, and Shaker Village in Kentucky was among his favorite. The good people there helped us make a fitting tribute with about a 1/2 acre that is now known as "Doc's Grove." If you'd like to visit, you can find the spot right next to the Scale House and Old Ministry's Shop, facing East. It most certainly is a place of perfect peace.