Hilbert Walter Fordham, 79, of Rentz, passed away Thursday, July 2, 2020.
Mr. Fordham was a native of Laurens County and the son of the late Elvis Fordham and Ruby Evelyn Smith Fordham Ward. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of over 53 years and the love of his life, Lou Ann White Fordham. He was also preceded in death by his brothers Jack Fordham and Bobby Fordham, and his sisters Carolyn Meeks and Grace Green, and his step father Cecil Ward.
Mr. Fordham was a deacon at Union Springs Baptist Church for many years, but was a member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Cadwell at the time of his death. He grew up in the Cedar Grove community and loved the people of the area. He was a self-taught “shade tree” mechanic who earned the respect of all who knew him for his ability to repair an automobile. He won several Volkswagen Guild of America awards in the 70s for the least number of returns on engine rebuilds for the region. He spent his life as an engine repairman at several dealerships in Laurens County, and retired as the fork lift repairman at Bassett Furniture Company.
Mr. Fordham loved his family more than anything and took special pride that as a young teen, after losing his father at the age of eight, that he and his younger sister, Nora, were able to keep his brothers and sisters together without being placed in foster homes by quitting school and working in the fields to support them in the absence of his parents. He also often talked of the many people in the community who would help them by offering any food they had, even when times were hard for everyone. Because of his childhood experiences he was an advocate for children. As a young father he rarely missed a service if the church doors were open, and he started each trip to church by making rounds in the Cedar Grove community to pick up any child that wanted to go to church and taking them back home. His vehicle was often filled over capacity.
He was especially proud of his grand children, but was a believer in discipline and respecting the elders. He spent many days repairing their vehicles and could always be depended upon when any of his grandchildren needed anything. He loved to brag that he kept them in line when they were growing up, and that he taught them how to mechanic. Mr. Fordham never got to get an education, but he helped keep transportation available so his grandchildren could and was so proud of their accomplishments.
Survivors include his daughters, Stephanie (Jimmy) Miller of Rentz, and Karen (Chris) Smith of Dublin; Grandchildren Erik (Toni) Smith, Hunter (Leigh Anne) Bennett, Jordan (Ashley) Smith, Zane Bennett, Kristen (Derek) Jackson, Taylor Miller, Will (Erin) Miller and Nick Miller; great grandchildren, Fisher Smith, Findley Smith, Camden Smith, Marshall Bennett, Greyson Bennett, Griggs Bennett, Emersyn Bennett, Mary Blythe Bennett, Trinity Mendez, Kailey Sapp, Avery (Alyssa) Miller, Ansley Miller, Jordan Miller, Tessa Miller and Wrenley Miller; great-great grandchild, Oaklie Miller. He is also survived by brothers Wyndell and James (Fay) Fordham, and sister, Nora (Bob) White; sisters-in-law, Paula (Tom) Boknevitz and Lorene (Leon) White, brother-in-law Mike White, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Family graveside services for Mr. Fordham will be held at 10:00AM on Sunday, July 5, 2020 at Snowhill Baptist Church Cemetery. The grandsons will be the pallbearers.
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