Dr. William Geren
{ "" }
Share William's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share

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.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Oct. 23 to Oct. 24, 2008.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
11 entries
January 16, 2009
Dear Geren Family,
Dr. Geren was my advisor and teacher at Mercer Atlanta during the mid 80's. I often think of him, his humble ways, and the many lessons that he taught about God's word. He was a great teacher, friend, and mentor. As a high school teacher myself, I often notice gestures and words that I use that relate directly back to my training under Dr. Geren. Also as I teach high school students and teachers in the public schools that I work with and the high school students that I teach in Sunday School, I often refer back to Dr. Geren by name...my students know his name and the deep respect that I have for him.

I remember someone saying that our children are a message to a generation that we will never know. Dr. Geren has sent a powerful message!

God Bless and Keep you!
Harry Stacey Freeman, Mercer/Atlanta 1988
Harry S. Freeman
October 27, 2008
Dear Peggy Ruth & Family,
When grief rains down, remember what a blessing it is to have risen above the storms at the end of a life well lived. May God bless all of you who mourn now with sweet memories.
Camilla Baker
October 26, 2008
Harriet & I remember our Uncle Bill all during our lives near & far from him & from Peggy and our cousins...The funny things, Bill's great humor &the gifts of love & caring during Ann's stay in Eldorado in l950-51. The visits with the twins & Peggy Ruth & John. And last but not least our visit to you on your 50th Annversary and your coming up for Maude's passing & funeral...Sorry we did not come down to see him these last years.Love, Ann (& Charles)Rogers
Ann Rogers
October 26, 2008
I'd like to thank each of you on behalf of the whole family. It's so good to be reminded of the many people who were touched by Dad's life.
John Geren
October 25, 2008
Dear Peggy & Geren Family, I have many Precious Memories of our days of Pastoring Churches in SW Atlanta. I pastored the West Manor Baptist Church until it sold to a Black congregation and Bill was a neighboring Pastor. Also, we enjoyed the weekly Atlanta Baptist Pastors Conference together. Remember, we never say Good-bye for the last time, but only Farewell until we meet again!
Love in Christ, Harold Zwald, Pastor Emeritis: Druid Hills Baptist Church, Atlanta.
Dr.Harold Zwald
October 24, 2008
Dear Peggy and all,
I am so sorry for your loss. Bill was a man of great honor for me, he was a master teacher and a wonderful friend. Our lives crossed over and over again from the time of my childhood. He will remain an important part of my life and who I have become.
I am so sorry I cannot be with you on Saturday, but please know that each of you remains in my heart and prayers. I will never forget Bill or the kind and gentle ways he shared with so many members of my family.
God Bless you all.
Lynne Mouchet
Lynne Mouchet
October 23, 2008
Peggy Ruth,
My deepest condolences to you and your family. He was obviously the source of your "sweet and humble" spirit.
Ronnie Harrison
October 23, 2008
Our love and prayers are with all of you during this difficult time. May you feel Gods presence and comfort today and always.

Carolyn and family
Carolyn Pittman
October 23, 2008
There are no words to fully express our appreciation for "Brother Bill" and what he and the family have meant to us over the years. Mrs. Geren, Donna and I want you to know that you remain on our hearts during this time.
Tom Bledsoe, Sr.
October 23, 2008
Our deepest sympathy.
Charles & Muriel Williamson
October 23, 2008
Please accept my condolence.
Ellen Hill
Ellen Hill
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences