Jasper Williams Jr., pastor emeritus of Salem Bible Church in Atlanta, who is regarded as a pastor among pastors and embodies the flaming tradition of the black church, will deliver the eulogy at the funeral of Aretha Franklin on Aug. 31 at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit.
The charismatic minister known for his masterful weaving of the teachings of the Bible with social issues was also the eulogist at the funeral of Franklin’s father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, when he died in 1984. His eulogy of Franklin, titled “A Good Soldier,” documented his many contributions to the civil rights movement.
“Rev. Jasper Williams is absolutely the right man at the right time. It is marvelous that he is giving the eulogy at Aretha’s funeral,” said former Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, who has been a longtime friend of Aretha Franklin.
“He was an ally and a close friend of Rev. Franklin. It is prophetic and profound that he is giving the eulogy at her funeral,” Watson said. “Aretha trusted him to eulogize her father, so how fitting that he has been selected to eulogize her.”
Watson called Williams a standard bearer among the African-American clergy in the nation.
“He is held in great regard. In fact, he was the guest speaker at the last revival that Aretha presented at New Bethel Baptist Church,” Watson said. “At the revival there was a line of ministers from across the city seated at the front row to hear him preach.”
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