SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - Tears and laughter filled the Reed Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in San Augustine on Saturday.
Hundreds came to the funeral of Reverend Clois Rodger to pay their final respects to a man who left behind an extensive legacy who was known to many as "the Pope."
"Everybody called him the pope. I gave him that name. I said it in church one and it just took on like wildfire. Because he was the pope among us preachers," said Amos Horton, pastor of the Reed Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.
The 80-year-old reverend fought for many civil rights and was a huge advocate to do what's right.
"We didn't have a Martin Luther King in San Augustine. We didn't have a (Ralph) Abernathy, but we did have a Clois Rodgers here. He fought so we could have a right person we want in office. He fought that we didn't have to go in back doors at restaurants. He fought to get jobs. That's the kind of man he was," Horton said.
Those battles led to victories, which made an impact on the community. For that reason, it made very tough saying goodbye at his funeral especially for his family.
"He's going to be missed but I know he's in a better place. He's been sick for years and he never would hardly show it but I know he was always sick," said Linda Wilson Rodgers, daughter of the reverend.
Rodgers gave his first sermon in 1955 and years later, in 1974, the reverend received his doctrine of divinity in Beaumont, Texas.
The minister along with his wife of more than 60 years had 10 children.
"A pioneer that's gone on. He is gone, but know I know he still lives within and as you look around the church today, you can see that he was loved by everyone," Linda said.
The gospel legend would have turned 81 on Tuesday.