Two Beloved Pastors Passed

By Dion Evans,
Religion Editor

Dr. Willie James Smith

Dr. Willie James Smith was scheduled to preach at a church in Natchez, Mississippi on Sunday morning July 11.  When he did not arrive as scheduled, the youth pastor was sent to the hotel to check on him.  Hotel staff opened the room to discover Dr. Smith dead in bed.
Smith served as the Pastor of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church before relocating to San Diego to serve as Pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church.  Dr. Smith, FROM Greenville, Mississippi, was a 1977 graduate of Bishop College in Dallas, TX.  He leaves his wife, Toni Smith and his children  Willie Jr., Kelli and Kristian.
In a Facebook journal entry – Dolores Sims stated to Dr. Willie Smith on July 6, 2010 – “Hey Brother. Got the news of the home going of Rev. Rubin today. Heavenly choir has a great addition. I always loved the way he played the organ. Only had the pleasure to hear him preach a couple of times.” To which Dr. Smith replied to Ms. Sims, “Hi “D” so sad…… we are leaving here….. makes sense to get ready.”

Bishop Walter Hawkins

Hawkins’ first concert following pancreatic cancer surgery at Landmark Theater in Richmond, VA in April 2009. Photo Credit : Robert Shanklin/Teddi Payton.

Bishop Walter Hawkins, Grammy Award winning gospel singer, served as the Senior Pastor of Love Center Ministries in Oakland.  He was born May 18, 1949 and died July 11, 2010. Born in Oakland, California, Bishop Walter Hawkins was one of the most beloved pastors and figures in contemporary Gospel Music today. In the Forty plus years of his career, he created prolific catalogs of recordings and published songs. He is survived by his two children, Walter “Jamie” Hawkins, Jr. and Trystan Hawkins; daughter-in-law Myiia “Sunny” Hawkins; two grandchildren Jahve Hawkins and Jamie-Daniel Hawkins; his siblings Carol, Feddie, Edwin, Daniel, and Lynette.
Two services for Bishop Hawkins will be held at the Paramount Theatre, 2925 Broadway in Oakland.. A musical celebration will be held 7:00pm,Tuesday, July 20. The funeral service will be held at 11:00am, Wednesday, July 21. Attendees are asked to wear cream.Hawkins; daughter-in-law Myiia “Sunny” Hawkins; two grandchildren Jahve Hawkins and Jamie-Daniel Hawkins; his siblings Carol, Feddie, Edwin, Daniel, and Lynette.
Homegoing Celebrations for Bishop Walter L. Hawkins:
Musical Celebration ~ Tuesday, July 20th at 7:00pm; Homegoing Service ~ Wednesday, July 21st at 11:00am.