Mr. Willie Rogers Character, 82 a native of Rome, Georgia died peacefully late Sunday night February 20, 2022 at Memorial Satilla Health following a brief illness. His parents were the late Naomi Mitchell Character and Sylvester Character. His father died when he was about eight years old, so his aunt and uncle helped to raise him. They were the late James and Ada Mitchell Character. The two Mitchell sisters had married the two Character brothers. Willie character was the only child between them, and he would say he was one of those “it takes a village to raise a child” Children.
He graduated from Main High School in Rome and attended Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio where he earned a B.S. Degree in Music Education. His plans to continue his education was interrupted when he was drafted into the United States Army. After basic training in Arkansas, he attended the U.S. Naval School of Music in Washington D. C. Upon completion of this course of study he was assigned a three year tour of duty with the Fourth Armored Division in Goeppingen, Germany. While there he played the baritone horn in the division band and was given the honor and distinction of being assigned as the Conductor of the Fourth Armored Division Chorus.
In 1965, after completing his tour of duty in Germany, Character returned home to Rome, Ga. and began his search for a job that eventually led him to Waycross, Georgia and a position with the Waycross City School System as a City Wide Music Instructor in the elementary schools. This moved totally changed his life professionally and personally. He emerged himself into the community with his music and his love of history. He also met the young woman who would later become his wife. During his years in Waycross he has played for and directed many church choirs such as St. Peter’s Baptist Church, Gaines Chapel A.M.E. Church, St. Joseph Catholic Church, First Antioch Baptist Church and Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist. He has played for numerous Social functions such as weddings, receptions, banquets, funerals, concerts, plays, and other musical productions. In addition, he has written, composed, and arranged over two hundred musical compositions for chorus, orchestra, band, piano, organ, solo voice, violin and guitar. He loved doing research, writing, and doing lectures and workshops on music in the Bible and local historical studies on African/ American history from 1830 to the end of the1900’s. He also taught private piano and guitar lessons to students of all ages regardless of their ability to pay for lessons.
In 1974 Character earned a Masters degree in Music Education from the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. He also attended Emory University, Shorter College in Rome, Ga. and Valdosta state University in Valdosta, Ga. In 1992 he retired from the Waycross City school system. He continued to work part time at the local college level until his health began to fail.
Survivors include his beloved wife of 54 years, Dorothy Inman Character of Waycross; four sons he dearly loved, Jason Rogers Character (Jameka) of Fayetteville, Ga; Jordan Andrew Character (Cristal) and James Christopher Character of Waycross, Ga.; Justin Matthew Inman Character of Norcross, Ga. Six Grand children Aria Character of Waycross; Bradlei Blackmon, Jada, Laila, Maya, and Noah Character of Fayetteville, Ga. In-laws include Alma Hill Inman (mother-in-law), Dianne Pennamon, Mildred Wyne (George), Margie McPhaul (Homer), Mitchell Inman, Michael Inman, Debora Simmons (Stephen), Charlotte Nelson (Charles) and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
A funeral will be held Saturday, February 26, 2022 at 3:00p.m. at Greater St. Paul Missionary Church 1110 Pittman Street Waycross, Georgia with Rev. Fer-Rell M. Malone Sr., pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, Waycross, bringing words of comfort. Viewing will be held Friday, February 25, 2022 at Fluker Funeral Home 985 Ossie Davis Parkway, Waycross, Georgia from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Ossie Davis Parkway and Saturday from 1p.m. to the hour of service. Interment will be in Oakland Cemetery 210 Alice St., Waycross.
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