Meet the Atlanta pastor who will give Aretha Franklin's eulogy

Credit: Renee' Hannans Henry/Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Renee' Hannans Henry/Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. is the Atlanta megachuch pastor who was handpicked to eulogize Aretha Franklin.

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Williams also preached during the service for the Rev. C.L. Franklin, his longtime mentor and family friend.

Franklin, an award-winning singer, musician and composer, recently died on Aug. 16 from pancreatic cancer at the age 76 at her home in Detroit.

Here are 7 things to know about Williams:

  • Pastor emeritus of Salem Bible Church, formerly Salem Baptist Church, with campuses in Atlanta and Lithonia.
  • The membership for both churches is 10,000
  • Williams was born in Memphis and has known the Franklin family nearly all his life. His uncle, Alton Roosevelt Williams, and C.L. Franklin were best friends.
  • Williams, 75, is also an author and award-winning gospel singer. He is currently writing his autobiography.
  • He preached his first sermon, "The Living Waters," at age 7 at Lane Avenue Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis
  • He graduated from 1972 Morehouse College with a major in sociology with a minor in religion.
  • He is the son of a pastor and his two sons, the Rev. Joseph L. Williams and the Rev. Jasper Williams III, are pastors. There are four generations of pastors in his family.