Church was a family tradition for Vernon Harrell Sr.
Mr. Harrell grew up the child of a Pentecostal Holiness pastor. His father's passion for the ministry must have rubbed off on him.
Mr. Harrell was active in Pentecostal Holiness churches throughout the Augusta area, where he led the music ministries and played guitar and sang.
"My grandmother played the piano while my granddaddy preached. The whole family was involved," said Mr. Harrell's daughter, Susie Hopkins. "He loved to learn new music and church songs."
Mr. Harrell, 69, died Wednesday at his residence. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. today at Elliott Sons Funeral Home, Telfair Street. Burial will be in Hillcrest Memorial Park.
People who knew Mr. Harrell say he may as well have been a pastor because he loved people and never met a stranger.
"He would go to (restaurants) in the morning and just sit and talk to whoever was there," Mrs. Hopkins said. "That's just the kind of person he was. He was very outgoing."
Mr. Harrell retired from the maintenance department at the Augusta-Richmond County Recreation and Parks Department. It was a job he was passionate about, his daughter said.
His former boss agreed.
"He was a dependable and dedicated employee," said Tom Beck, the director of the Recreation and Parks Department.
Mr. Harrell was also a member of South Augusta Pentecostal Holiness Churchand a veteran of the Korean War.
Other survivors include a son, Vernon R. Harrell Jr., Albany; three brothers, Joe W. Harrell, Ronald Harrell and Donald Harrell, all of Augusta; and four grandchildren.
Reach Jennifer Hilliard at (706) 823-3220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.