Robert Harrell Culpepper D.Div.1,2

Male, #36255, (8 Dec 1924 - 10 Aug 2012)
Father*James Pickren Culpepper (13 Aug 1897 - 5 Dec 1968)
Mother*Leona Veola Wansley (10 Feb 1898 - 25 Jan 1971)
Name Variation He was also known as Bob.3 
Birth*8 Dec 1924 Robert was born at Tifton, Tift Co., Georgia, on 8 Dec 1924. 
Marriage*21 Aug 1948 He married Kathleen Sanderson on 21 Aug 1948 at age 23. 
Residence*between 1950 and 1980 Robert and Kathleen resided at Japan between 1950 and 1980. (Robert and Kay served as educational missionaries.)4 
Death of Father5 Dec 1968 His father James Pickren Culpepper died on 5 Dec 1968 at Tifton, Tift Co., Georgia.5,6,7 
Death of Mother25 Jan 1971 His mother Leona Veola Wansley died on 25 Jan 1971 at Tift Co., Georgia.8,7 
Photographed*say 1980 He was photographed say 1980.
Robert Harrell Culpepper, DDiv.
Relocation*1980 He relocated in 1980 at Wake Forest, Wake Co., North Carolina,4 
Death of Spouse4 Oct 2007 His wife Kathleen Sanderson died on 4 Oct 2007 at Richmond (city), Virginia.4,5 
Death*10 Aug 2012 He died at Richmond (city), Virginia, on 10 Aug 2012 at age 87.3 
Obituary*12 Aug 2012 Robert Harrell Culpepper, second son of James Pickren and Leona Wansley Culpepper, was born in Tifton, Georgia, on December 8, 1924. After a remarkable life of service on two continents, he died on August 10, 2012.
     Bob was a lifetime learner. His formal education after graduation from the Tifton High School, was at Mercer University with a bachelor's degree in 1944, a B.D. from the Southern Baptist Seminary in 1947 and a Th.D. degree from the same institution in 1950. He studied at the Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, in the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, at the Ruschlikon Seminary in Zurich, Switzerland, and at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. where he later served as a professor.
     He was a brilliant scholar in the Baptist denomination, serving as a professor of theology in the Theological Department of Seinan Gakuin University, at the Japan Branch of the Asia Baptist Theological Seminary, and at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. While the classroom was the focus of his vocational ministry, he was a servant of many churches. He loved to preach. His pastorates varied from his one in Shiloh-Lama Baptist Church in the summer of 1943 while he was a student at Mercer to the ones he helped to establish in Japan, at Hirao, in Tobata, and at Nagazumi.
     Since Dr. Culpepper was the author of Interpreting the Atonement, Evaluating the Charismatic Movement, and God's Calling: A Missionary Autobiography, his scholarship is preserved. However, his greatest influence is found in the lives of his students whom he taught and of his parishioners to whom he preached.
     In April 1980, Dr. and Mrs. Culpepper completed their thirty year service as missionaries of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and moved from Fukuoka, Japan to Wake Forest, N.C. where Bob became a professor at Southeastern Seminary. After more than twenty years in Wake Forest, they moved to Lakewood Manor, a Baptist retirement community in Richmond. There Kay died in 2007.
     In addition to his devoted wife, Dr. Culpepper was predeceased by his mother, father and brother. He is survived by his daughter, Cathy Harvey and her husband, Ken; six grandchildren, Shelton, Beau, Charlotte, Chip, Laurel and Matthew; and a niece, Sarah Christopher.
     A service will be held at the columbarium at River Road Church, Baptist on Sunday, August 12, 2012 at 1 p.m.3 


Kathleen Sanderson (12 Aug 1924 - 4 Oct 2007)
Marriage*21 Aug 1948 He married Kathleen Sanderson on 21 Aug 1948 at age 23. 
ChartsJames Culpepper of Nash Co., NC : Descendant Chart
Last Edited25 Aug 2012


  1. The Rev. Bob Culpepper felt a call,
    one he wasn't sure he wanted to hear at the time.

    Excerpted from an article by Eleanor Lee Yates, The News & Observer, Raleigh, NC, 16 Apr 1999, "The Mission Fields"

    The Rev. Robert H. Culpepper and his wife, Kay, had a rather shaky arrival in Japan as Southern Baptist missionaries after World War II.
         On one of their first nights in Tokyo, they awakened to their baby's bed sliding across the floor. No damage was done, but the couple realized earthquakes were yet another adjustment they would be making.
         The Culpeppers served as Southern Baptist missionaries in Japan for 30 years. Culpepper had been working on his doctorate at Southern Seminary in Louisville when he said he felt an unmistakable call.
         With World War II over, there was momentum on seminary campuses to send missionaries to Japan. In January 1951, after saying goodbye to their disbelieving parents, the Culpeppers headed to Tokyo with their 6-month-old daughter.
         Culpepper would be teaching at the Theological Department of Seinan Gakuin, the Japan Baptist seminary in the town of Fukuoka. The couple would also establish churches. But their first job was learning the language.
         "I feel sorry for my first students," Culpepper said. Though he worked with a translator, it was a struggle. "I didn't allow much time for questions and answers afterward. I prayed the students wouldn't raise their hands."
         Their work turned out to be a seven-days-a-week schedule. The Culpeppers started a church in their home. A red-letter day came a year later after the couple arrived. Culpepper preached his first sermon in Japanese.
         The Culpeppers returned permanently to the United States in the 1980s when he took a teaching position at Southeastern Baptist Seminary in Wake Forest.
  2. Robert H. Culpepper, God's Calling: A Missionary Autobiography, .
  3. Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia.
    Obituary of Robert Harrell Culpepper (#36255), published 12 Aug 2012.
  4. Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia.
    Obituary of Kathleen Sanderson Culpepper, published 5 Oct 2007.
  5. U.S. Social Security Administration, compiler, Social Security Death Index (SSDI), Online database at
  6. Georgia Health Department / Office of Vital Records, compiler, Georgia Deaths, 1919-1998, Online database at, 1998.
    James P. Culpepper, d. 5 Dec 1968 at 70 years in Tift Co., GA; Res. in Tift Co., GA.
  7. Barry Chandler, compiler, Cemeteries of Tift Co., GA, Tifton, GA: B. Chandler, 1999, Repository: LDS Family History Library - Salt Lake City, Call No. US/CAN Book: 975.882 V3c.
    Oakridge City Cemetery, Tifton, Tift Co., GA
    + James Pickren Culpepper, 13 Aug 1898 – 5 Dec 1968
    + Leona Wansley Culpepper, 10 Feb 1898 – 25 Jan 1971.
  8. Georgia Health Department / Office of Vital Records, compiler, Georgia Deaths, 1919-1998, Online database at, 1998.
    Leona V. Culpepper, d. 25 Jan 1971 at 75 years in DeKalb Co., GA; Res. in Tift Co., GA.