Louis "Papa Lou" C. Wilcher Jr.
December 30, 1923 – July 5, 2018
Elder Louis C. Wilcher, Jr. (L.C.) (PaPa Lou) As written by Him
Born December 30, 1923 in Jackson Mississippi, he departed this life July 5, 2018 at St. Bernard Hospital in Chicago Illinois. Born to the late prominent parents, Rev. Dr. Louis C. Wilcher, Sr. and Idella Bailey Wilcher. To this union was born five (5) children, four (4) have proceeded him in death. Ollie Mae, Marsena, William D, and Helen.
Rev. Dr. Louis C. Wilcher, Sr., was a leader in the field of Christian Education local, State and National, in the Baptist U.S.A. His parents owned several businesses, namely “The Wilcher Christian Music and Book store.”
Louis Jr., accepted Christ as his redeemer and Savior from his sins, at the age of 12 in the summer of June 1936, at Pearlie Grove M.B. Church under the late Pastor Rev. Kirby Walker and was baptized in the Pearl River in Jackson, Mississippi; and it was “muddy with fish, snakes, frogs, turtles, and everything else.”
He participated in the Youth choir, Sunday school, B.T.U., and the Boy Scouts of America Troop 56. Louis Jr while in High School at the age of 16 was encouraged by his music teacher to start his own band. He played for local orchestras’ and various civic and private affairs. He furthered his education all in Mississippi; He graduated from Lanier High school class of 1943, and he attended Johnson Business College receiving degrees in marketing and commercial business.
Louis met his first wife who preceded him in death, Rosie Lee Hayes at a catholic basketball tournament where his orchestra provided the music. They later united in Holy Matrimony on October 30, 1943; to this union three children were born; son Tommie Louis who preceded him in death July 1970, Ouli’ (Ollie Love), and Denise.
He was drafted into the United State Air Force in 1944 and advanced to the rank of Corporal. He received basic training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi at the Biloxi Air Force Base. He was then sent to Lincoln Air Base in Ardmore, Oklahoma. After serving there he was then transferred to Barksdale Air field in Shreveport, Louisiana. He served in the Army Air force in the latter part of World War 2 and was honorably discharged on June 6, 1946 being awarded the ATO Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and World War 2 Victory Medal.
After being discharged, he returned home to Jackson, Mississippi where his parents gave him a 60x156 foot lot. He said, “I had my first home built for my family and I was employed by Foster General V.A. Hospital personnel facility until 1954.” He and his wife moved to Chicago February 2, 1954 where they purchased their second home in the Englewood area. They were the first black family in the neighborhood.
He was told about an opening at a prestigious club; the Chicago Yacht Club. Located at Monroe and Michigan. He applied for the job and was hired as the first black banquet manager giving him the responsibility of managing and arranging banquet and club functions for members only. His hiring opened the door for other blacks to be hired. He had the opportunity to service President Truman, Eisenhower, Humphrey, Kennedy and Ford; as well as the late Mayor Richard Daley, Queen Elizabeth and her husband Phillip. Bob Hope, Richard Burton and many of the cities elite families.
He worked there for 28 years later joining forces with the Briggs Textile Company where he work from 1979 until 2011 for Gordan and Dorothy Briggs until their passing in 1987 and later for their son, Robie and wife Susan Briggs and sister Pamela Briggs Hardy until his retirement. After his retirement, he was active in the Englewood community where he was involved in Democratic affairs, also serving as the block president for club for 700 W. 61st Street association.
He joined New Tabernacle Baptist Church, then located at 6200 S. May Street on April 19, 1968 under the Pastoral leadership of Norman L. Russell, Sr. In 1979 while attending New Tabernacle Church, he met and later married Erma on September 16, 1984. Elder Wilcher was very involved with his church, serving as Sunday school teacher, a member of the inspirational choir, member of the Trustee Board, Chairman of the Deacon’s Board, church bus driver, chairman of the junior deacons, as well as working with the Boy Scouts, boy’s bowling league, basketball, and camping ministries.
New Tabernacle suffering a devastating fire in 1985 and relocated to 10411-13 on south Michigan. As chairman of the Deacon’s Board, he alone with several other members mortgaged their homes in order to purchase their new church home. After paying off the loan, he asked for a letter to come back to worship in the Englewood community.
He joined Mt. Olive M. B. Church January of 1990 located 6353-57 S. Marshfield under the leadership of Rev. Dr. J. Rayford Goodwin, I where he was an active Deacon, Co-Chairman of the Deacon Board, New Member’s Orientation teacher, active in Sunday School, male choir member, men ministry, prayer ministry, prison ministry, and Willie E. Hall Leadership School and Mission. He also provided landscaping services for the church and the Pastor’s home.
He leaves to cherish his memory his beloved wife, Erma of 33 years. Daughters Ouli’ Love, Denise (Pastor Willie) Sutton. Sons Ryan (Katherine) Sherman, Rev. Tony (Audrey) Sherman, and Robert (Karen) Knox. Grandsons, Michael Andre’ Drakeford, Sheldon Knox, and Kaleb Knox. Granddaughters Debbie Murray (Marlon), Charisse Drakeford, Lynett Smart, Jasmine Sutton, Aurielle Sutton, Amber Sutton, Sterling (Ben) Eunsov, Madison Sherman, Victoria Sherman, Kasey Sherman, Karsen Knox, Moneka Robinson, Monica (Lester) Allen, Markina Robinson, and Josie Singleton. Thirteen Great-grandchildren Mya’ Drakeford, Nekia Murray, Leonard Murray, Alicia Murray, Israel Sutton, Katlyn Ware, Angel Hunter, Darrell D.J. Bivens, Ariel Turner, Jayden Robinson, Jolie Allen, Lester Allen, Jr., Kendle Berry. Eleven Great-Great Grandchildren, a mother-in-law Mrs. Willie Mae Spates; five sister-in-laws, three brother –in-laws, a special niece Joyce Jackson, a special adopted daughter Gloria Mason, special friends Deacon Gene and Mary Smith and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and his Mt. Olive Church family.
When the shadows of death shall disappear than all tomorrows will be clear, life will be there forever with Christ we’ll cheer, don’t be caught dead without Jesus.
Services will be held at the Mt. Olive Baptist Church and Worship Center 6353-57 S. Marshfield Ave. Chicago Illinois on Sunday July 15, 2018 from 4-8pm.
- Erma Wilcher, Wife
- Ouil' Love Wilcher, Daughter
- Denise (Pastor Willie) Sutton, Daughter
- Ryan (Katherine) Sherman, Son
- Rev. Tony (Audrey) Sherman, Son
- Robert (Karen) Knox, Son
- Michael Andre' Drakeford, Grandson
- Sheldon Knox, Grandson
- Kaleb Knox, Grandson
- Jayden Robinson, Grandson
- Lester Allen Jr., Grandson
- Debbie (Marlon) Murray, Granddaughter
- Charisse Drakeford, Granddaughter
- Jasmine Sutton, Granddaughter
- Aurielle Sutton, Granddaughter
- Amber Sutton, Granddaughter
- Sterling (Ben) Eunsov, Granddaughter
- Madison Sherman, Granddaughter
- Victoria Sherman, Granddaughter
- Kasey Sherman, Granddaughter
- Karsen Knox, Granddaughter
- Josie Singleton, Granddaughter
- Lynett Smart, Granddaughter
- Jolie Allen, Granddaughter
- Monica (Lester) Allen, Granddaughter
- Moneka Robinson, Granddaughter
- Markina Robinson, Granddaughter
- Mya' Drakeford, Great Grandchild
- Nekia Murray, Great Grandchild
- Leonard Murray, Great Grandchild
- Alicia Murray, Great Grandchild
- Israel Sutton, Great Grandchild
- Katlyn Ware, Great Grandchild
- Angel Hunter, Great Grandchild
- Darrell D. J. Bivens, Great Grandchild
- Ariel Turner, Great Grandchild
- Kendle Berry, Great Grandchild
- Tommy Louis Wilcher, Son
- Rosie Lee Wilcher, Wife
- Papa Lou also leaves to cherish his memory: Eleven (11) Great - Great Grandchildren; a Mother-in-law Willie Mae Spates; Five (5) Sister-in-laws; Three (3) Brother-in-laws; a special niece Joyce Jackson; a special adopted daughter Gloria Mason, very special friends Deacon Gene and Mary Smith, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and the Mt. Olive Baptist Church family.
- Reverend Willie J. Sutton, Jr., Active Pallbearer
- Ryan Sherman, Active Pallbearer
- Reverend Tony Sherman, Active Pallbearer
- Robert Knox, Active Pallbearer
- Deacon Fred Humphries, Active Pallbearer
- Deacon Gene Smith, Active Pallbearer
- Michael Andre' Drakeford, Honorary Pallbearer
- Mt. Olive Deacon Board, Honorary Pallbearer
- Celebration of Life Sunday, July 15, 2018
Louis "Papa Lou" C. Wilcher Jr.
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July 15, 2018
Thank you for the laughs, love, and most of all the love for the camera. One thing we had in common was our love for taking pictures. Thank you for accepting me as your granddaughter even when I felt I wasn’t accepted. I wish you could have met Israel! He would have definitely made you laugh. But I know you’ll watch over him. I will always cherish and love you!
July 13, 2018
Papa Lou shaped my Christianity. I was a true babe in Christ, 18 years old when I got to be a part of new members class, and he and his daughter helped to transform my life. I considered him a surrogate grandfather, and I will love him forever. Praying for the family, may God continue to sustain you and comfort you. I'm rejoicing for him, because he deserves his rest, and to hear the words, "well done My good and faithful servant!"
July 12, 2018
My memory of PaPa Lou was he always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. I have never seen him get angry at anyone. I have know PaPa Lou just about all my life because I came to New Tabernacle Baptist Church when i was young. When ever you saw PaPal Lou you can bet he had his camera on hand, he would take some awesome pictures. I will miss him greatly but i know that he is now resting and he is not in any pain anymore. PaPa Lou i love and I know you are watching over us from heaven RWJ (Rest With Jesus)
Deborah Mason-Sanford 7-12-2018
Mother Earnestine Johnson
July 11, 2018
To Deacon Fire, The man that always brought candy to the Mother's. And one of his favorite little ladies Amanda Walker .