Bay Area’s Oldest Pastor Passes Pulpit to Grandson
On Monday, March 28, Rev. Will Hardeman will become 99. He will celebrate his birthday and retirement on Saturday, March 26 at 2:00pm at Evergreen Baptist Church, 408 W. MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. Rev. Frank Pinkard will preside over the celebration.
Rev. Hardeman, who organized the Greater New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in 1960, has pastored the church continuously for 50 years.
In 1950, he joined the Evergreen Baptist Church, under the leadership of the Late Pastor J. L. Richard where he met and married Bessie Marshall. They had two daughters, Brenda and Melody, and he adopted her sons Cleveland, Otis and Curtis (deceased ‘96’).
When he was 21, he married Erma Dean Dickerson, his first wife, which ended in divorce. Odessa, their daughter, died in 1997.
He was born in 1912 in Bismarck, Oklahoma. Then Will Hardeman and Mattie Page-Hardeman, his parents, moved their family to Redwater, Texas in 1915. In August of 1925 he fondly recalls how he “walked one mile to the baptizing pool” to unite with the Friendship Baptist Church at Nettles Creek by Rev. C.C.Wilson.