Gatlinburg, Tennessee’s First Wedding Pastor Ed Taylor Is Among 50 Still Missing After The Sevier County Fire

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, wedding pastor Rev. Ed Taylor Ph.D. is among the people missing after the Gatlinburg fire. Rev. Taylor conducted about 85,000 wedding ceremonies over more than three decades. Taylor, who also specialized in marriage counseling, is attributed with pioneering the wedding industry at least in his region. Today Gatlinburg is the third most popular wedding destination in the United States.

Rev. Ed Taylor, or “Rev. Ed” as his neighbors call him, was ordained in 1958 and set up his famous Wedding Chapel in 1978. Rev. Ed created the Gatlinburg’s Little Mountain Church Village. The Church Village featured three wedding chapels, a music concert hall, and a biblical museum, according to Church O Mania.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, just like Las Vegas, does not require any waiting period or physical exam before the wedding, as explained in the San Diego Tribune. Over 600,000 people come to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, each year for traditional Christian weddings and lovely honeymoons.

The Gatlinburg, Tennessee, wedding pastor was filling a huge need back in 1978 when he started his wedding services. Before Rev. Ed Taylor built a chapel and started performing wedding ceremonies, tourists who wanted to get married quickly in Gatlinburg had to have their wedding at the farm supply store, performed by a justice of the peace.

Rev. Ed Taylor received his theological education at East Tennessee State University, Tennessee Temple University, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. Rev. Ed later received a doctorate from Emanuel University in North Carolina according to Church O Mania.

As Gatlinburg, Tennessee’s first wedding pastor, Rev. Ed Taylor Ph.D. performed many weddings for celebrities including Billy Ray Cyrus, Patty Loveless and Jeff Cease of the Black Crowes. Rev. Taylor also performed affordable services for so many other people from all over the world.

Gatlinburg Tennessee Extensive Fire Damage
Gatlinburg Tennessee Extensive Fire Damage [Image by Erik Schelzig/AP Images]

Rev. Ed Taylor retired only last year, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. Rev. Taylor, now 85, is missing from his 644 Woodland Drive home in Gatlinburg. His family and community fear they have lost their patriarch in the devastating Gatlinburg, Tennessee, fire according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee’s Mayor Mike Werner once said Rev. Ed Taylor had made quite an impact on the Sevier County community.

“Rev. Ed has made a huge impact on our community. His name and weddings in Gatlinburg are synonymous.”

Lone Gatlinburg, Tennessee Church Survives, but neighboring buildings
Lone Gatlinburg, Tennessee Church Survives, but neighboring buildings [Images by Brian Blanco/Getty Images]

Rev. Ed Taylor’s Gatlinburg, Tennessee, home and his car are completely destroyed by fire according to WBIR, and there is no sign of the hearty octogenarian anywhere. His dog, a toy poodle named BeBe, was found walking alone. His son Eddie told WBIR News 10 reporters that he feared the worst after the dog was found.

“He would never have gone anywhere without that dog. It was like his kid. We knew the worst when we heard the dog was found alive.”

Rev. Ed Taylor’s black toy poodle BeBe was found wandering down the road Wednesday morning. He was taken to the vets and later picked up by one of Rev. Ed Taylor’s friends Beverly Black.


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The Gatlinburg, Tennessee, fire has claimed the life of at least 13 people, many of them unidentified. AL reports, Alice Hagler, aged 70-years-old, John and Janet Tegler, 71, and John and Janet Summers, 61, of Memphis, Tennessee are among the dead. Their three sons Branson, Jared and Wesley are being treated for burns at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Branson is in critical but stable condition. At least 80 people have been treated for injuries.

Getting updates from the military unit he is retired from. Brad is still missing. #Gatlinburg. #Gatlinburgmissing

— ChrisStevens (@Padoozles) December 3, 2016

About 50 people including Rev. Ed Taylor are still missing. Constance Reed, 34, and her two daughters Lily and Chloe have also been missing since Monday. Officials have searched at least 90 percent of the area, but have not found the remainder of the missing people. To report missing persons related to the Gatlinburg, Tennessee fire, call 1-800-TBI-FIND.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, wedding pastor Ed Taylor and 50 other people are still missing after the Gatlinburg fire.

[Featured Image by Wade Payne/AP Images]