Pastor Robert L. Gaines Jr., age 54, of Erie, pastor and founder of Abundant Life Ministries and the Parade Street Community Center, transitioned from this physical existence on Thursday morning, June 5, 2014.
Robert L. Gaines, Jr. was born to parents Annabelle Nelson (Ponder) and Robert Gaines, Sr. on August 22, 1959.
Pastor Gaines graduated from Strong Vincent High School and attended Northern Virginia College for 2½ years before returning back to Erie to follow what he quotes as a "divine calling".
He was preceded in passing by his grandfathers, Willie R. Ponder and Daniel Gaines; his grandmothers, Bertha Ponder and Cozette West; his father, Robert Lee Gaines, Sr.; his uncles, Jackie Ponder, Johnny C. Ponder, Willie Earl Ponder, David Gaines, Larry West, James West and Darius Clanton; and his aunt, Dorothy Purdue.
Pastor Robert L. Gaines, Jr. is survived by his beloved wife of 32 years, Claudette Gaines; his children: Robert III, Amorie (April), Ryan, Rasheeda, and Sheena (fiancée, Rashawn); his loving mother, Annabelle Nelson (Sam); his stepfather, Robert Pierce; his brothers, Alexander Pierce, Aaron Lee Pierce, Anthony (Michelle) Pierce; his sister, Tina Johnson; four stepsisters and three stepbrothers; his uncles, Quincy (Edna) Ponder, Steve Ponder, Tony Ponder and Stan Ponder; his aunts, Joan Ponder, RoseMelondy Warren, Odessa Ponder, Roslyn Ponder, Marlene Cochran and Loretta Wright; four grandsons, five granddaughters, numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and a host of other family and friends.
The Memorial Celebration will be held at Greater Bethlehem Temple Church, 4103 Washington Ave., Pastor Joyce Moses, with keynote speaker Bishop Adolphus L. Cast of Life Application Ministries, located in Warren, Michigan, on Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. (with the memorial service beginning at 6 p.m.). The Homegoing Service will also be held at Greater Bethlehem Temple Church, Pastor Joyce Moses, with Bishop Jesse N. Gavin of Greater Calvary Full Gospel Baptist Church officiating, on Wednesday at 11 a.m.
Interment will be at Erie Cemetery, and the repast in the Martin Luther King Center's Green Room.
Arrangements entrusted to Burton Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 602 West 10th Street.
Published in the Erie Times-News on June 8, 2014