Doug Caldwell was a Charlotte native, but he made his mark as a leader of the Moravian Church in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.
For more than a quarter-century, Caldwell was pastor of the largest Moravian church in northeast Pennsylvania, and his influence reached into other parts of the world.
Caldwell, 72, died Thursday of an apparent heart attack near his home in Hanover Township, Pa.
“I believe his heart could no longer contain the magnitude of love, joy, peace, and satisfaction he felt in his life,” his daughter, Ashley Caldwell, wrote in a Facebook post Friday.
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As a youth, Caldwell attended Little Church on the Lane, the Moravian congreation in Charlotte’s Myers Park community. In a 2009 newspaper story, Caldwell recalled how he and his family would travel to the Moravian community in Winston-Salem every year at Easter to clean graves in the cemetery.
“Moravians have been referred to as the Easter people,” Caldwell told the Allentown (Pa.) Morning Call. “We profess our faith in the resurrection and in life eternal.”
He went north after high school, attending Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., and graduating in 1966. His wedding came a few weeks later, and the marriage with wife Barbara lasted until his death.
Caldwell graduated from Moravian Theological Seminary in 1969 and served as pastor at College Hill Moravian Church in Bethlehem for several years. In 1983, he was called as pastor of Central Moravian Church, which was founded in the early 1800s and is the largest Moravian church in the Lehigh Valley. He remained as pastor until retiring in 2009.
Caldwell was also a board member of Moravian College, St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem and the Bethlehem Area Chamber of Commerce. He won the John Hus Award in 2008, named for the founder of the Moravian Church.
His interests stretched to Africa, as he was a leader in the effort to build Sikonge Moravian Church in the east African nation of Tanzania.
Ashley Caldwell said her father left the house Thursday afternoon for a bike ride and collapsed a short distance away.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Caldwell had a son, Doug Jr. A sister, Mary Lynn Caldwell Morrill, lives in the Charlotte area and is married to local historian Dan Morrill.
Full funeral plans have not been announced, but Ashley Caldwell said a memorial service for her father is scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday at Central Moravian Church. A private burial will follow.