Dr. Thomas A. Gratton

1935 - 2015

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Philippians 4:4 (KJV)

SCHENEVUS - Pastor Tom A. Gratton, God's faithful servant, went to meet his Lord and Savior early Tuesday morning, October 13, 2015, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown. He was 80.

Born October 9, 1935, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he was a son of James and Minnie (Ross) Gratton. Raised in Pittsburgh, he later moved to Rhode Island. 

Called to the ministry of his beloved Savior, Pastor Tom brought countless people to the Lord, including some who themselves became pastors. In 1973 he received his Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary School of Theology. 

During his ministry he served churches in various places throughout the country, including Michigan and Texas. After serving the Spring Woods Baptist Church in Texas, he moved to the State of Maryland and for twenty-one years served as pastor to the First Baptist Church of Suitland, helping to grow what started as a small group of faithful Christians into the strong and vibrant congregation it is today. It was during his pastorate there that he presented his Doctor of Ministry thesis on strategizing an effective ministry in an urban, evangelical and racially integrated Southern Baptist Church. Dr. Gratton envisioned a totally new approach for ministry and commitment to being God's people on mission, and encouraged his colleagues to get excited about pastoring in multi-racial neighborhoods. He received his Doctor of Ministry from the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1989, and retired from full-time ministry in 1993.

Throughout his years of ministry, he was accompanied by his first wife, Nancy A. Hall Gratton. They were united in marriage September 6, 1958, in Battle Creek, Michigan, and spent almost 50 years together until her passing on June 11, 2006.

Tom later met Karen Ann Olmstead McMahon, a native of Cooperstown living in Virginia who had also recently lost her spouse. Karen and Tom were married January 12, 2008, in a ceremony at Mount Hermon Baptist Church in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. In 2010 they moved to upstate New York and Tom became a member and served as a supply preacher at the West Davenport Free Baptist Church and Stamford Baptist Church.

"Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Pastor Tom is survived by his loving wife, Karen A. McMahon Gratton, of Schenevus; one daughter, Rachael Moore of Tennessee; his faithful friend, Norma, whom he considered to be his daughter; two step daughters, Autumn Black Jewell of Orange, VA, and Stephanie Black of Middlefield; and several grandchildren, all of whom called him "Pops".

He is further survived by two sisters, Judy Parfitt and Lois Bott; a sister-in-law, Kathleen M. Olmstead-Mummert; two brothers-in-law, Richard L. Statler and Keith D. Olmstead; and several nieces and nephews.

In addition to his first wife, he was predeceased by two sisters, Betty DeJidas and Dorothy Mae Statler, and a brother, James "Jimmy" Gratton.

Pastor Tom will be laid to rest with his first wife, Nancy, in a private graveside service in the Garden of Reformation at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Waldorf, Maryland. 

A memorial service will be offered at 2 pm. on Tuesday, October 20, 2015, at the First Baptist Church of Upper Marlboro, 7415 SW Crain Highway, Upper Marlboro, Maryland, with Rev. James L. Burcham, pastor, officiating.

Locally, a memorial service is being planned for the near future, and will take place at the West Davenport Free Baptist Church, 211 Charlotte Creek Road, with Pastor Steve Estes, officiating.

One of the people Pastor Gratton inspired to enter the ministry is Pastor Daniel Conrads, whose love of the Lord came from a seed planted by Pastor Tom. Not only did he become a pastor himself, Pastor Dan is now forming a new church. So in lieu of flowers, Pastor Gratton would be pleased if people would donate in his memory to Pastor Daniel Conrads for the benefit of the Richmond Church Plant, 1842 Valley Drive, Richmond, IN 47374. Your donation in memory of Pastor Tom will help grow this new church. 

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.