Oakland, CA: Scores of people who never met Walter Hawkins showed up from every corner of the globe this week and squeezed into the Paramount Theater alongside thousands of Oakland natives to bid farewell to the pioneering gospel legend known for creating classic songs such as "Goin’ Up Yonder," "Changed," and "Be Grateful."
Tramaine, Sunny and Jamie Hawkins - photo by Adam Turner
Bishop Walter Hawkins, who cut a string of best-selling "Love Alive" LPs in the 1970s through the 1990s, died July 11th at the Ripon, CA home he shared with his brother Edwin and three sisters, after an almost two year battle with pancreatic cancer. Doctors initially gave him six months to live.
When Hawkins' funeral arrangements were made public, hundreds camped out in front of the Paramount Theater overnight to get the free tickets the Hawkins family made available to the public the next day. Yolanda Adams and a who's who of the gospel world showed up for an all-star concert tribute to Hawkins. The event was televised nationally on the GMC channel and featured performances by Hawkins' former wife, Tramaine Hawkins, Donnie MCClurkin, Ledisi, Mary Mary, and Bebe Winans, among others.
The following morning, Bishop Kenneth Moales officiated the eulogy where he proclaimed Hawkins' only son, Jamie Hawkins, the successor to the Love Center Church his father founded in 1972. In attendance at the ceremony, which drew over 4,000 well-wishers was Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bishop Carlton Pearson, and a host of celebrities. President Barack Obama sent a letter in which he wrote, "Bishop Hawkins touched countless lives, and he will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him."
At the time of his death, Hawkins was working on "Love Alive VI" and had already recorded several demos. Hawkins hand-picked one of his musical mentees, Donald Lawrence, to work with the Hawkins family to finish the CD project. Following the funeral, the family planned to have his remains scattered at sea.
Edwin Hawkins Directing Media - photo by Adam Turner
Bill Carpenter at (202) 441-9870 or firstname.lastname@example.org