Family-Placed Death Notice
GEREN, William ,Dr. DR. WILLIAM HARRISON GEREN Dr. William Harrison Geren, affectionately known as Brother Bill, 89, of Roswell, GA passed away on October 20th at his retirement home, Longstreet Farm, in White County, GA. He was preceded in death by his parents, Hiram Marion Geren and Julia Goodwin Geren; a sister, Marion Geren Blyton; and three brothers, Dr. Paul Geren, Hugh Geren, and John Henderson Geren. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Dr. Peggy Ahrens Geren; daughters Catherine (Ned) Etherington of Roswell, GA and Dr. Peggy Ruth Geren of Augusta, GA; sons John Paul Geren of Cleveland, GA and William Marion Geren of Roswell, GA; grandchildren Natalie Geren Broadnax of Charlottesville, VA, Brook Ahrens Etherington of Boston, MA, John Martin Etherington of Roswell, GA and Diana Julia Geren of Alpharetta, GA; sister Ruth Lacy of Flagstaff, AZ; and 12 nieces and nephews. Dr. Geren was born in Lancaster, TX, where his father was a Baptist pastor. He grew up in Cleveland, TN and El Dorado, AK. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from The Ohio University where he was president of his senior class. He received the Th.M. from Southern Baptist Seminary and the Ph.D. from The University of Chicago. He served as a Chaplain in the U.S. Navy, pastor of Lake Geneva Baptist Church, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and professor of Religion at Limestone College in Gaffney, SC and Mercer University in Macon, GA before settling in Atlanta in 1953. He served as pastor of three congregations in Atlanta, GA: West End Baptist Church, Dogwood Hills Baptist Church, and North River Baptist Church. While serving as a pastor he taught Biblical Languages and Theological Studies at several Atlanta area colleges, including Mercer University and Morehouse College. He became a full-time Professor of Religion at Mercer University, Atlanta in 1975. Dr. Geren's life was devoted to active community service. He served several terms on the Baptist Home Mission Board and the Georgia Baptist Children's Home Board. He served as president of the Christian Council of Metropolitan Atlanta, and chairman of the Southern Baptist Chaplains Commission. He was an active member of an Atlanta ministers' coalition to promote social justice during the Civil Rights Era. Dr. Geren travelled to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War in a temporary capacity as an appointed Brigadier General to support U.S. Army Chaplains in the field. Dr. Geren was a humble sweet spirit who used his intellectual and spiritual gifts to support his congregations, his students, his community and his family. He loved to sing and play the harmonica and to take care of his herd of goats and his dogs. His Mercer students voted him their favorite professor and nicknamed him "Dr. Dolittle" because of his habit of bringing a goat or two to school to graze on the campus lawn.A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 25th at two o'clock at Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church Atlanta, GA, where Dr. Geren taught a men's Bible class. Drs. Duane Davis and Colin Harris, presiding. A fellowship gathering will be held at the home of Catherine and Ned Etherington following the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Georgia Baptist Children's Fund or The Parkinson's Research at Emory University.
Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Oct. 23 to Oct. 24, 2008.