Rev. Dr. Claude Jackson Kayler

The Rev. Dr. Claude Jackson Kayler died in a no-fault cycling accident while riding backroads of Western North Carolina on Friday afternoon, July 16, 2021. He was 58 years old.

Claude was a United Methodist pastor whose impact is impossible to measure. After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill and Duke Divinity School, he began his ministry in the Charlotte area, serving at Zoar and Aldersgate UMC before founding Good Shepherd UMC in 1991. He served as lead pastor there until 1999, then went on to serve appointments at Myers Park UMC (Charlotte), Tyro UMC (Lexington), Covenant Community UMC (Asheville), and Main Street UMC in Kernersville. He was well-loved in all these communities, known for his joyful enthusiasm, goofy jokes, and gifted preaching. His passion for social justice and global outreach inspired connections between his congregations and partners around the world. He travelled to work with pastors and churches in Nicaragua, Tanzania, and especially Cambodia, where he maintained close, long-lasting friendships.

Claude is preceded in death by his father, Rev. Ralph “Jack” Kayler, and his father-in-law, James F. Carlisle, Sr. He is survived by his mother, Dr. Claudette Taylor Kayler of Greensboro, NC; his wife of 36 years, Lorie Carlisle Kayler of Lake Junaluska, NC; his daughter, Mary Kayler of Waynesville, NC; and his son David, daughter-in-law Lauren, and grandsons James and Owen Kayler of Asheville, NC. Also surviving are his brother Dayton Kayler and wife Mary Katherine of Leland, NC; his sister Dr. Jacqueline Kayler DeBrew and husband Clint of Greensboro, NC; his mother-in-law Martha Palmer Carlisle of Winston-Salem, NC; his brother-in-law Jim Carlisle Jr. and wife Kim of Washington, D.C.; and 7 nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held 1:00PM Saturday, July 24, 2021 at Main Street United Methodist Church, Kernersville (, with a time of sharing and fellowship to follow.

Memorials can be made in Claude’s honor to Living Water International or Rise Against Hunger, two global organizations that Claude loved to support with his congregations.

Smoky Mountain Cremations and Funeral Service of Clyde is caring for the family and the online register is available at


Friends and family may view, and sign the guestbook at