Funeral service for Reverend Willie J. “Gospel Willie” Baker, 76, of Opelika was held at 12 p.m. on Oct. 18, at Green Chapel Missionary Baptist Church with interment in Garden Hills Cemetery. Pastor Roland Austin, Rev. Arthur Thomas and Rev. Sterling Wright officiated.
Reverend Baker passed on Oct. 13, at the East Alabama Medical Center. He received his calling into the ministry while he was a member of Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church. During his tenure as a pastor, he served several churches in this area. In later years, he joined New Spirit Baptist Church. Many will remember him as a singer, musician, radio broadcaster and a carpenter.
The family received friends that evening at 5 p.m.
His remains laid in state at the church one hour prior to the service.
Survivors include his wife, Nora Baker, Opelika; five sons, Winfred Baker, Atlanta, Sedrick Harkins, Memphis, Tenn., Ellis (Medelyn) Harkins, Honolulu, Hawaii, Reginald (Amanda) Harkins, Opelika and Jeremy Harkins, Lillington, N.C.; three daughters, Brenda Covington (Van Biggers), Opelika, Tara (Darryl) McAdoo, Augusta and Lakeshia (Jaylin) Jones, Frederickburg, Va.; five special grandchildren, Tonya Covington, Jaylen Snipes, Makayla McAdoo, Nicholas Covington and Frika Watkins; 21 grandchildren, five great grandchildren; two brothers, John A. Harris, Miami and Roland (Ruth) Harris, Atlanta; two sisters, Vyvine Reese, New York, N.Y. and Minister Ethel Harris, Auburn; nine sisters-in- law, Beatrice Harris, Auburn, Alice Bryant, Opelika, Esther Middleton and Jean (Gus) Osborne both of New York, N.Y., Rosie (Ira) Maxwell, Christine McKinney, Ruth (Lee) Burns, Luvenia Richardson all of Alexander City and Trecia Harkins, Madison, Ala.; three brothers-in-law, Rev. Leonard (Mary) Bryant, Opelika, Taylor (Essie) Bryant, Gary, Ind. and Darcy (Christelle) Hicks, Jackson, Miss.; a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and special friends.
Peterson and Williams Funeral Home directed.