Thursday, March 8, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: Bishop George Hagler, second from left, receives an honor from Bellwood and county officials during a ceremony last month. | Courtesy Village of Bellwood
Bishop George Hagler, a prominent Bellwood religious leader, has died. He was 97 years old. Hagler’s death was announced on Facebook early today by numerous Bellwood civic and village leaders.
Hagler was the founder of True Vine Church of God in Christ, which he established in 1972 in Chicago. In 2014, according to a short biography of Hagler written by his granddaughter-in-law, Monica Fountain, he was ordained as a bishop in that denomination, one of the country’s largest.
The biography was published on the personal website of Hagler’s grandson, John Fountain, the Chicago Sun-Times opinion columnist and journalism professor.
“The greatest title I could ever call him is, ‘Grandpa,'” Fountain said in the biography, adding that Hagler was a “loving man. No greater man I know.”
In 2016, Fountain wrote a tribute to Hagler in the Huffington Post, describing his grandfather as a “mammoth of a man. Broad shoulders. Strong hands. Soft to the braiding of his little girls’ hair. Gentle to children’s care.”
Bishop Hagler with his grandson, journalist John Fountain. | johnwfountain.com
Hagler was born Jan. 12, 1921 to Easter and Eli Hagler in Pulaski, Ill., Several years after marrying Florence Geneva Taylor, in 1937, the couple moved to Chicago. Hagler served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and worked for 20 years at the U.S. Postal service, retiring in 1987, according to Monica Fountain’s article.
After True Vine’s Chicago location was destroyed by a fire in 1988, Hagler moved his church to Bellwood, where and his congregation thrived.
“By 1995, the church had burned the mortgage for their new home,” Fountain writes. “In that same year, Pastor Hagler was honored by the township of Proviso’s Black Man Association as the Outstanding Citizen of the Year.”
Last week, Hagler was honored by Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for his contributions to Bellwood and surrounding communities.
George and Florence Hagler had six children “— one son and five daughters,” Monica Fountain writes.
“Missionary Hagler made her heavenly transition in January 2002,” she adds. “In September 2002, Pastor Hagler married Missionary Margaret Gavin and added her three children to his family. He is also the grandfather of 15 and also a great-grandfather and great-great grandfather.”
So far, no arrangements have been scheduled. VFP
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