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Ira Vinson "Jack" Birdwhistell

The Scoop on 'Doc' - 2006

July, 2006

Ed: Another one of the occasional updates he wrote to faculty members.


Ira (Jack) Birdwhistell


Personal and Educational Information:


            Born May 31, 1946 (my dad got back from the war in August, 1945—go figure!) in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Baptized at age 10, committed to ‘whatever God wanted me to do’ as a 14-year-old kid (a very significant decision, looking back!). Graduated from Anderson High School in 1964, attended Georgetown College, 1964-1968—majored in math (gag!), minored in English. Southern Baptist Seminary, 1968-1975—married Nancy (G’town sweetie) in December, 1969. M. Div. from Southern in May, 1971; Ph.D. from Southern in December, 1975 (dissertation on Baptist-Catholic relationships, 1917-1972).


Vocational Information:


            Went to G’town to become a math teacher. ‘Called to ministry’ at KY BSU Convention in Lexington, September, 1964. BSU was main deal while at G’town (youth revivals, etc.). Called as Youth Minister at Sand Spring (home church) in 1966. Called as pastor at Canmer Baptist (Hart County) in early 1970. Ordained May 12, 1970 at Sand Spring. Experiences at seminary led me to seek out a teaching position, but all those doors shut tight. Called to pastor at Drakesboro Baptist Church (Muhlenberg County) in May, 1976—daughter Cory born June 23, 1976 in Louisville (we moved to Drakesboro in September). Son Dan born January 30, 1979, while we were in Drakesboro.

After a couple of occasions when moving to a larger church did not work out, we came to Georgetown in 1980 in the Campus Minister role (part KBC/part college employment). Worked primarily through BSU, Chapel services, and teaching until the fall of 1997, when I became part of the full-time faculty of the Religion Department, one of the major blessings of my life.

The Last Ten Years:


            A bittersweet time: first, the sweet. Cory (1998) and Dan (2001) graduated from good colleges. April, 2001, I received academic tenure at the college (a major deal!). October, 2001, Cory, a Ph.D. student at UK, married a good guy. Cory works for the state of Tennessee; her husband cyber commutes for UK. They live in Nashville. Dan spent a year at Cambridge, a year in Belgium, three years in California, and now seeks his fortune in Nashville as well.

The bitter: October, 2000, Nancy filed for divorce (not totally unexpected, but still a shock). March, 2001, my father died of heart failure (he’d had a history of heart trouble, but was still up and around). Divorce finalized in August, 2001; I moved to an upstairs apartment in my mother’s home in Lawrenceburg. I provided some care and ‘safety’ until my mom’s death in August, 2004. I now live in a small house which belonged to an aunt, next door to two eighty-something never-married aunts, also in Lawrenceburg. So each day I drive the thirty-mile trek to Georgetown to hang out with some of the neatest kids on the planet, reading and teaching what I love to read and teach.