Soldier of Christ well done;
Praise be thy new employ;
And while eternal ages run,
Rest in they Savior’s joy.
On the morning of January 16, 2023, our beloved father, brother and friend, Oree Rawls, passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 80. Born at home on March 22, 1942, in Telmore, Georgia, Oree was raised in the steadfast and gracious care of his mother, Emma Rawls. As the youngest of Emma’s children, Oree was guided by the spirited influence of his older siblings, Viola, Maudell, Buster, James, Deotha, Harvey, Willie and Grace, of whom he spoke fondly throughout his life. He was devoted to lifelong friends, Lillie Mae and Edward Robinson, who provided him a home-away-from-home in Waycross, during his years at Center High School, where he was an all-star athlete and graduated as Class President in 1960. With the support of his community, Oree attended Savannah State University, Class of 1965. There, he captained his varsity football, basketball and baseball teams, and joined the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity—who have remained his loyal brothers ever since. From 1966-1969, Oree served in the U.S. Airforce, and was stationed at RAF Lakenheath in England, where he trained as a medic and continued to excel as an athlete on the baseball team.
In 1970, Oree moved to Boston, and, while working briefly as a general manager at The Aquarius Theatre concert hall, he met his wife of forty years, Florence Perkins, an artist. Together they raised three children, Grace, Will and Emma, who now work in the fields of social justice, higher education, and social work. His service station, at the busy intersection of Morton Street and Blue Hill Avenue, in Mattapan, MA, became a crossroads where he provided candid and trustworthy counsel and automotive help to countless travelers and regular customers. This is where he earned the nickname, “Mayor of Blue Hill Avenue”. Oree was known for his ability to talk to anyone, and to show dignity and respect to people from all walks of life, family and strangers alike. For over twenty years, he nurtured the next generation by volunteering as Chair of the Board at Dorchester Youth Collaborative, an outreach organization for at-risk youth, located in his neighborhood of Dorchester, MA. Wherever he went, he touched lives with his reliable acts of service, honesty, encouragement and his playful sense of humor.
Waycross was never far from his heart, and upon his return in 2014, Oree was grateful for the embrace of the congregation at St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church. The opportunity to reconnect, worship (and joke) with his cherished brother, Deacon Willie Rawls, was a priceless pleasure for him. Oree was a member of local American Legion for nine years, and served as Vice Commander of American Legion John Sutton Post 517, in Waycross, from May 2022 until his death this year. We will always hear Oree’s warm, rumbling laugh and remember how it filled the many rooms and lives he passed through. He will be dearly missed and will always hold a place in our hearts. He is survived by Florence Perkins Rawls, three children, Nancy Grace Aldrich, Will James Rawls, Emma Louise Rawls, son-in-law, Ian Aldrich, and three grandchildren, Calvin Oree Aldrich, Eden Amelia Grimshaw, and Micah Ioan Grimshaw.
Fluker Funeral Home Inc., 985 Ossie Davis Parkway, Waycross, GA 31501
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