The Rev. Joseph Lafayette Giles, former senior pastor of University Baptist Church, died May 2 of cancer at the Broadmead retirement community in Cockeysville. He was 81.
Dr. Giles, the son of a millworker and a homemaker, was born and raised in Spindale, N.C. After graduating from Rutherton High School in Spindale, he served from 1948 to 1952 as a staff sergeant in the Air Force.
He earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1954 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and four years later, he graduated from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pa.
In 1964, he earned a master's degree in theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and a doctor of ministry degree in 1976, also from Southeastern.
From 1958 to 1961, Dr. Giles was minister of education and associate pastor of the First Baptist Church in Waukesha, Wis.
He was pastor of Berea Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Va., from 1964 to 1967, when he came to Baltimore as associate pastor of University Baptist Church on North Charles Street.
From 1978 until retiring in 1990, he was senior pastor of University Baptist.
A longtime resident of Overbrook Road in Rodgers Forge, he had lived for the past five years at the Cockeysville retirement community.
He was a member of the Eclectic Club, Civitan and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Giles was an avid reader and book collector, said his wife of 53 years, the former Alice LaRue Cowles. He also enjoyed travel.
A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. June 12 at Broadmead, 13801 York Road.
Also surviving are a daughter, Laura Giles Longacre of Cheshire, Conn.; three brothers, Franklin D. Giles of High Point, N.C., James Billy Giles of Raleigh, N.C., and R. Lamar Giles of Paris; two sisters, Statia Giles Eplee of North Wilkesboro, N.C., and Margaret Giles Hill of Columbia, N.C.; and a granddaughter.