William Hankerson was fondly known as the father of Liberty Baptist Church.
His daughter, Willie Mae Coleman, said her father was born the same year Liberty Baptist was built and organized, and grew up attending the church.
The 87-year-old Richmond County native died April 3 at Beverly Manor Nursing Home.
It was the mid-1950s and Mr. Hankerson was working at the former Oliver General Hospital when he decided to join a quartet known as The Chora-liers.
"They sang spiritual and gospel music," Ms. Coleman said. "He sang bass and it was a fun thing to do because he enjoyed singing. Singing was one of his hobbies."
With an interest in educating others about religion, Mr. Hankerson was an avid reader of the Bible and loved to talk to people and give his interpretation of the book.
Mr. Hankerson also loved watching the television show Gunsmoke.
"I remember we had to watch that on Saturday nights or else," Ms. Coleman said, laughing.
When Mr. Hankerson wasn't singing, reading or watching television, he was tinkering around his home searching for broken items to repair.
"He was someone who could fix a lot of things," his daughter said. "He would fix old lawn mowers and old chairs. Sometimes he'd make new bottoms for them."
Mr. Hankerson served in the Deacons Board and Senior Choir of Liberty Baptist.
In 1942, Mr. Hankerson joined the U.S. Navy and served during World War II as a chief petty officer. He was discharged in 1946.
Funeral services for Mr. Hankerson will begin at 1 p.m. today at Liberty Baptist Church with the Rev. Don A. Darden officiating. Burial will follow in Cedar Grove Cemetery.
Other survivors include his sister, Dorothy Thornton; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Reach Amy Connell at (706) 823-3220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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