“To know him was to love him:” Hundreds mourn the death of Bishop Johnie Williams

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MILWAUKEE -- One of the state's longest-serving bishops was laid to rest Friday, December 8th. Bishop Johnie Williams, with Church of God in Christ (COGIC) in Milwaukee, preached for decades. Church leaders talked about the legacy left behind by the man many called a father.

Hundreds of people - some singing, others standing in silence, everyone mourning in their own special way.

Bishop Charles E. Blake

"The loss of one of our precious treasures. A dear bishop of the Church of God in Christ called," Bishop Charles Blake said.

Hundreds mourn the death of Bishop Johnie Williams

Members of the COGIC lost one of their own: Bishop Johnie Williams. A man who was one of the longest-serving pastors in the state of Wisconsin with more than 77-years of service.

"Bishop Williams has served our community with an impeccable and stellar example for individuals across this community," Bishop Sedwick Daniels from the Holy Redeemer COGIC.

Loved ones walked up to the casket to pay their respects and say goodbye. Mourners say this celebration of his life is a big part of healing.

Hundreds mourn the death of Bishop Johnie Williams

"To know him was to love him, and to appreciate him. He loved people. He loved the church. He loved the bishops and pastors of the church," Blake said.

Speakers addressed the passion of Bishop Williams. Those who knew him best say - they will follow in his footsteps.

"He would want us to build upon the things, and the foundation, that he had provided for us. And that foundation was to make sure that we secure the community - make community better," Blake said.

Hundreds mourn the death of Bishop Johnie Williams

A day of mourning - met with smiles and praise. Bishop Johnie Williams: a legacy of service - a champion of others.

The funeral itself lasted several hours. It ended with the family, and other loved ones, taking the bishop's remains to the Wisconsin Memorial Park where he was laid to rest.