The late Rev. Charles W. Grant will be laid to rest Thursday after services at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro. Grant, 87, died April 3 following a short illness. (File Photo)
JONESBORO — Services are set Thursday at 11 a.m. at Clayton County’s largest-capacity church to honor the life of the iconic Rev. Charles W. Grant.
Grant, 87, of Forest Park died April 3 after a short illness. He was executive director of Clayton County Community Services Authority for more than 50 years. Grant was also pastor emeritus of Mount Welcome MBC of Decatur where he led the congregation for 46 years.
Levett Funeral Home in Decatur has charge of arrangements.
Hundreds of mourners are expected to gather Thursday at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro to say good-bye to the man described as a “gentle giant” who gave so much to his community.
Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill was among those expressing condolences to the Grant family in the days after his death.
“Rev. Grant was a source of personal inspiration to me and I am deeply saddened to have lost a dear friend and confidant,” said Hill in an emailed statement. “Our community has lost a strong community leader and devoted public servant. Through his unwavering faith, strong values and untiring social conscience, Rev. Grant made a tremendous impact on his community both locally and nationally. Because of his vision, boundless energy and civic involvement, Clayton County is a better community today.”
Former Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough called Grant a “hero” in a statement released on Twitter.
“The community has lost a true hero,” Kimbrough tweeted. “Farewell, Rev. Grant. Thank you for being a true servant of God and looking out for the least of these.”
The Authority that Grant headed for so many years serves residents in Clayton, Henry and Fayette counties, providing Meals on Wheels, assistance with rent, food, utility bills and legal services, day care and Head Start programs.
But Grant’s contributions extended far beyond the Authority, as was evidenced in the re-naming of a portion of Aviation Boulevard near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for him in 2004 — while he was still around to enjoy the accolades.
In accepting that honor 10 years ago, Grant was light-hearted but appreciative of the attention shown at the dedication ceremony.
“It’s my first street sign,” he said, “and it’s the first time I’ve ever been nervous. I’m deeply proud, deeply honored, humbled that the commissioners gave us this type of recognition.”
Grant was past president of Clayton County Ministerial Alliance and former vice-president of the 100 Black Men of South Metro Inc. He was active in the community and the NACCP and was a civil rights advocate.