0420BOSWELLaudListen to Stanley Pierce, longtime music director at Montgomery Memorial Baptist Church, comment on Sunday’s death of the Rev. Fulton Boswell.
Stanley Pierce recalled the Rev. Fulton Boswell saying "he couldn’t think of a better way to go than for the Lord to take him than while he was in the pulpit."
Health problems had slowed Boswell in recent months, so that wish didn’t come true.
Instead, he died Sunday morning on his 89th birthday, which, to Pierce, longtime music director at Montgomery Memorial Baptist Church, also seemed appropriate.
"He always had a real good sense of humor," he said. "He was known for his joking."
Boswell also was known for his devotion to preaching and tending to members, visiting them at home, in the hospital or wherever was needed.
A lifelong Hall County resident, he had pastored five churches since 1960, said his son, Larry Boswell, a preacher in Carroll County.
"He lived a long life. He’s going to be missed by a lot of people. He has done a lot of work and helped a lot of people in Hall County and this area. He loved them as a pastor and a friend," said Boswell.
Boswell, a World War II veteran who served in Italy, was pastor at Montgomery for 14 years, including through one of the worst times in its history.
On June 4, 2000, arson turned the church sanctuary into a smoking shell of brick and charred wood. A year later, the congregation of the Gainesville church broke ground on Dunlap Street for a new sanctuary with songs and prayers.
"We’re doing it for the glory of God and not ourselves," Boswell said at the time.
Pierce said Boswell committed himself to paying off the building debt before he retired in the fall of 2007. That happened as he had hoped.
"He did serve the Lord for many, many years and served our church well," he said. "He did a wonderful job as pastor and ... will be sorely missed."
Boswell "was truly a great man and was a great pastor," said Gainesville Police Chief Frank Hooper, a Montgomery member for 34 years.
"He was always the type of preacher whose message went beyond the doors of the church. He was one of the old-fashioned visiting pastors; you would usually find him at the medical center, home or wherever visiting folks in the church."
Ward’s Funeral Home of Gainesville is handling arrangements. Details, such as service times, weren’t complete Sunday night.