Memorial services for the ‘Happy Preacher’ on Friday and Saturday

Atlanta remembers ‘The Happy Preacher,’ Cail Merrell

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Atlanta remembers ‘The Happy Preacher,’ Cail Merrell

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Cail Merrell, otherwise known as "The Happy Preacher," shouts out during during the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist Church where King preached, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Credit: David Goldman

Cail Merrell, otherwise known as "The Happy Preacher," shouts out during during the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist Church where King preached, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Credit: David Goldman

caption arrowCaption
Cail Merrell, otherwise known as "The Happy Preacher," shouts out during during the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist Church where King preached, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Credit: David Goldman

Credit: David Goldman

The memorial service for Cail Lester Merrell, popularly known as the “Happy Preacher,” will be held Friday at First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta.

Merrell was a familiar figure at area funerals and events, often with his tambourine in tow and with a ready “amen” at the appropriate time.

During the recent Martin Luther King Jr. Beloved Community Commemorative Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Bernice King, CEO of the King Center and daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, noted Merrell’s absence and held a moment of silence.

“Over the past 40-plus years,” King said, choking up, “we were graced with the presence of a very special man and voice in this service. The Happy Preacher. … This commemorative will never, ever, ever be the same without The Happy Preacher,” she said.

ExploreTributes pour in for the "Happy Preacher"

Merrell, 73, an elder, died of natural causes on Jan. 15, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office. His name was sometimes commonly spelled Cal Murrell.

Services will be held at noon Friday at the church, 542 Moreland Ave. S.E.

Temperature checks and masks are required. The funeral will also be lived streamed on firsticonium.org and on YouTube.

A second service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at Living Faith Tabernacle, 5880 Old Dixie Road in Forest Park.

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