The Rev. Steve Sallee, who pastored the two largest churches in the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church, died Thursday in Knoxville.
At the time, he was senior pastor of Cokesbury Church in Knoxville, the largest church in the conference with more than 4,000 members. From 1982 to 1996, he was pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Chattanooga, which now has around 4,000 members.
Sallee, who spent his youth in Chattanooga, also had been an associate pastor at First-Centenary UMC from 1978 to 1982 and an associate pastor at Tyner UMC from 1970 to 1972 while attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
He was appointed to pastor St. Paul's UMC on Graysville Road in 1982 but eventually shepherded it to a merger with Shallowford Road UMC. The combined church, Christ UMC, purchased 32 acres at the corner of East Brainerd and Morris Hill Road, where it has flourished.
Sallee's father, the Rev. Clarence D. Sallee, also was a United Methodist pastor and was chaplain at Moccasin Bend Psychiatric Hospital for 22 years.
The younger Sallee is survived by his wife, Lynda, and one grown son.