Chat Room - Joe Colquitt

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By Lance Coleman

This past Sunday was a busy one for the Rev. Joe Colquitt. While his day job as a staff chaplain at Blount Memorial Hospital keeps him busy, it was his calling as pastor of St. John Baptist Church that held his attention. He celebrated his 26th year with the congregation and much of the day was spent celebrating the milestone with his wife and family.

Colquitt grew up in the Lyonsdale community of Knoxville, graduated from the former Austin High School before it became Austin-East High. He then graduated from Johnson Bible College. He and his wife Gloria have five children and live in Blount County near Greenback.

Colquitt said for anyone accepting the call to pastor a church, they should always make sure they are being led by Christ to
accept that call. They also should be as honest as possible with everyone. "Honesty I think is a great virtue. Be yourself with no faade," he says.

Colquitt has been with the hospital five years and, among other things, has the responsibility of visiting patients and patients’ families and working with staff members. "As a chaplain you can go in and think you got it figured out for the day, but you never know," he says. "There’s all kinds of situations you couldn’t imagine. It’s not what you call a typical day. You never know what is going to happen."

Why did you pursue the career you chose?
"I believe the Lord call me to be a minister. My father was a minister, and I swore I’d never be one. Mainly, it’s the calling. I believe people may try to do it, but if they don’t have the call, I don’t think they’ll be that good at it."

What was your first paying job?
Colquitt’s first job was washing dishes at Louis’ Drive-in Restaurant in Knoxville.

What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
"I guess a blessing. Mostly people say I’m a blessing to them, so that’s how I would like for them to describe me. I always try to bless people with humor."

When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Colquitt says he wanted to become a rock star guitarist. "I always loved the lead guitarist. Man, that was my passion. I never learned how to play, but I could mimic one."

What’s the best thing about Blount County?
"I think it’s small enough not to be a metropolitan city. It’s the best place in the world to rear a child. Everything is a slower pace."

What is your passion?
Colquitt says traveling is his passion.

To what do you attribute your success?
Colquitt says the Lord, his wife and his mother are the factors to his success.

With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
Colquitt says he would want to eat lunch with his dad. "He died in ’86. I’d like to talk to him. He told me what was going to happen in my ministry. I’d tell him how wise he was."

What do you hate?
"Two-faced, so-called Christians."

What’s your favorite quote?
"To err is human; to forgive is divine."

What do you do to relax or for fun?
"I watch old detective shows like ‘Columbo’ or westerns with Clint Eastwood. Columbo played the role of acting like he was not that smart, but he was really, really cunning. Clint Eastwood -- this dude, was quiet and point blank. People say that’s the way I am. I call an ace and ace, and I don’t pull punches."

What is your dream vacation?
Colquitt says his dream vacation would be an Alaskan cruise.

What is your favorite toy?
"My Corvette -- that I don’t have yet. When I was 21, I always loved the Sting Rays in the old movies; it’s just a car that has always intrigued me. When I got out of the service, I was going to buy a Corvette. I was 21, and the insurance was as much as the car payment. I figured out why all the old guys drove them. They’re only ones that could afford them."

Rebels, Tornadoes, Mountaineers or Governors?
" Tornadoes."

What is your all-time favorite movie?
"Which Way is Up" with Richard Pryor.

What is the best book you’ve ever read?
"The Slave Who Freed Haiti."

If you won a big lottery jackpot, what is the charitable donation you would make? How would you splurge?
Colquitt says he would give to the church and then buy a new black-on-black Corvette.

Who has been the best United States president of the last 100 years and why?
Colquitt chose John F. Kennedy as the best U.S. president in the past 100 years.

Coke or Pepsi?
"Coke."

What is your favorite sport and favorite sport’s team?
Colquitt enjoys college football and his favorite team is the Florida State Seminoles. "Bobby Bowden is a class- act coach, and the Seminoles you can expect them year after year to have great quarterbacks, running backs and receiving." Colquitt says the only time he ever rooted against FSU was when they played UT for the national championship. "I wanted UT to finish with an undefeated season."

What is your favorite animal and why?
"A horse. They are so majestic."

What is the best present you ever received?
Colquitt says the best present he ever received was an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii.

What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
"Stay with the Lord, and preach the gospel."

Did you ever get paddled in school and if so, why?
Colquitt got paddled for talking too much. He was talking the teacher threatened to call his father. His father was at work, so the teacher talked to his mother. "Ironically, it wasn’t the teacher who paddled me, it was my momma. I finished my work and was talking, and my momma came over there and busted my rear end in front of everybody."

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