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Seminary founding faculty member, LU’s first tennis coach passes away at 83

Dr. Carl Diemer in 1977

Liberty University is mourning the loss of longtime professor and tennis coach Dr. Carl John Diemer Jr., who died on Monday, March 28, at age 83.

Diemer played a significant role in Liberty’s growth in its early years. He helped establish Lynchburg Baptist Theological Seminary (now the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity) in 1973 as one of four founding faculty members. He taught church history and other courses within the School of Divinity and held various leadership roles, including overseeing the Master of Divinity program, until he retired in 2018.

Dr. Diemer was married to the late Gayle Carolyn Sparks Diemer, who taught in Liberty’s School of Education for 27 years.

Diemer was a lifelong tennis player and was rated professionally. In 1987, he helped start the men’s tennis program at Liberty and served as head coach for 11 years (1987-97). In that time, he posted four 10-plus win seasons, including a 16-5 record during the 1990 season, which remained the winningest season in program history until the record was broken last spring.

According to his obituary, Carl Diemer was born on July 2, 1938, in Mobile, Ala., and accepted Christ in 1954 before sensing the call to preach in 1958. He received a B.S. degree from Virginia Tech in Mechanical Engineering in 1960 and went on to receive both a Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Theology degree from Southwestern Seminary.

He was a pastor for many years and served as an interim pastor for several churches in Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. He was most recently the pastor of Leesville Road Baptist Church in Evington, Va. (1997-2008).

A visitation will be held Friday, April 1, from 6 until 8 p.m. at Diuguid Waterlick Chapel. The funeral service will be held Saturday, April 2, at 1 p.m. at Leesville Road Baptist Church. Burial will follow at Fort Hill Memorial Park.

Dr. Carl Diemer conducts class in the upstairs lobby of the original Thomas Road Baptist Church in 1975.
In 1987, Diemer helped start the men’s tennis program at Liberty and served as head coach for 11 years


Lynchburg Baptist Theological Seminary founding staff, Carl Diemer, Robert L. Hughes, Gene Williams, Frank Schmidt in 1974.
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