The Rev. Dan Gates, who led East Highland United Methodist Church for about 18 years, died Tuesday morning after a nearly year-long battle with cancer.
He was 62.
Gates was surrounded by loved ones in his home.
After his diagnosis proved serious, the church pitched in to cover his work.
“I have had the most remarkable response from the people of East Highland. I’m their pastor and they said, ‘Go home and we’ll take care of things.’ They’re paying me and I’m not working," Gates told the Ledger-Enquirer for a story last spring.
“It’s as close to a New Testament church as I’ve ever seen. Atilla the Hun could show up and he’d be welcome.”
Gates’ long time at the church was an unusually long tenure for United Methodist ministers.
“Every year the church would say, ‘Do you want to move?’” Gates said. “I’d always tell the bishop: ‘You leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone.’
"It’s been a remarkable time of ministry. East Highland is the best-kept secret in Columbus.”
Preliminary funeral plans are for Friday at St. Mark United Methodist Church, but the time will be set Wednesday, Gates' son Alan said.