Funeral services for Rev. Joe Wesley “J.W.” Respress, 78, of Fort Valley, were held Friday, June 29, 2007, at 1 p.m., at the Crawford County Board of Education Auditorium in Roberta. Burial followed in the Bethel Cemetery
Reverend Respress died Saturday, June 23, 2007, at a local healthcare facility.
Bentley's Funeral Home of Reynolds was in charge of arrangements, assisted by all Bentley establishments.
Reverend Respress was a life-long resident of Crawford and Peach counties. He was a very well known minister of the gospel. He was licensed to preach in 1954, and ordained in 1957 at the Macedonia Baptist Church of Roberta, under the leadership of Rev. F.R. Strickland. Rev. Respress attended Fort Valley State College under the leadership of the late Reverend Julius C. Simmons and the Bryant Theological Seminary in Fitzgerald. He was a dedicated member of the Ministerial Alliance of Fort Valley, and served as president/vice-moderator and moderator of of the Second Flint River Missionary Convention & Association. He also served as director of the Bryant Theological Seminary of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, Inc. Reverend Respress served as president of the Mutual Aid Society, Inc. for many years, and was co-announcer for the Bentley Chain of Funeral Homes for approximately 35 years.
He served as pastor of the Wilderness Baptist Church of Thomaston for five years, the Macedonia Baptist Church of Hawkinsville for five years, Cool Spring Baptist Church of Roberta for seven years, New Mt. Calvary Baptist Church of Concord, for 14 years, Mt. Carmel Baptist Church of Roberta, for 42 years, Springfield Baptist Church of Molena for 43 years, and Bethel Baptist Church of Roberta for 44 years.
After preaching the gospel for some 50 years, he became pastor emeritus of Bethel, Mt. Carmel and Springfield Baptist churches. He ordained many deacons and preachers, performed weddings and eulogies, and led many to Christ.