Vernon Eaton, director of Johnson’s degree completion program (LAMP), died on December 3, 2012, after a 6-year battle with esophageal cancer. A Johnson graduate of 1967, Vernon also received the M.Div. from Emmanuel Christian Seminary and the D.Min. from Vanderbilt University. A wonderfully gifted preacher and teacher, Vernon planted churches and held preaching ministries in both Virginia and Tennessee. From 1991-1996, Vernon served Platt Bridge Church of Christ in Wigan, England, and also taught at Springdale College and assisted area churches.
He taught at Mid-South Christian College before coming to Johnson in 1997 to teach speech and church history and to help start the LAMP program. In 2001, he became the director of LAMP.
Following his death, many of the former LAMP students sent heartfelt messages of appreciation for the tremendous impact Vernon had had on their lives and studies, as well as the completion of their degrees. Vernon was a strong advocate for adult students and was honored as Outstanding Adult Educator by the East Tennessee College Alliance in 2010.
Shortly before he died, he sat in a chair and preached a powerful sermon from Revelation in chapel as part of the faculty sermon series on the University’s theme for the year.
His life was bound up in his family, his Johnson ministry, and the Gap Creek Christian Church, where he served as elder. His wife Denny, also a Johnson alumnus, has served as periodicals clerk in the University’s library for 17 years. The Eatons have two daughters and five grandchildren, whom Vernon referred to as “his wonderful hobby.”
The Vernon Eaton Preaching Scholarship Fund was established in honor of Vernon just before his death.
Listen to Vernon’s final chapel sermon before the Johnson community.
Dr. David Eubanks
President Emeritus Johnson University