TOCCOA, Ga. — Dr. William Henry Fields of Toccoa, Georgia, passed away Sunday, February 7, at his home outside of Toccoa, surrounded by family. Born March 11, 1936, in Augusta, to the late John Neal and Willie Maude West Fields,“ Henry” was the couple’s sixth of eight children and only son. Raised on farms in Bel-Air and Grovetown, Dr. Fields was taught hard work and service to others at an early age. He graduated from Richmond Academy in Augusta before attending the Georgia Institute of Technology where in 1959 he received a Bachelor’s Degree in textile engineering. Dr. Fields remained a proud Yellow Jacket surrounded by Bulldogs and Tigers for the rest of his life. Feeling a call to the ministry, Dr. Fields attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he received a Master’s in theology in 1961 and, years later, a Doctorate in that subject. As a pastor, he loved growing the church congregation, developing personal relationships, and helping people find and/or develop a deeper relationship with Christ. His 40 years of ministry included Thixton Lane Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky, 1960-1962; Macedonia Baptist Church in Newnan, Georgia, 1963- 1967; Green Acres Baptist in Smyrna, Georgia, 1967- 1972; First Baptist Church, Tallapoosa, Georgia, 1972- 1977; First Baptist Church, Waycross, Georgia, 1977- 1985; and First Baptist Church, Toccoa, 1985-2000. After retiring from First Baptist in Toccoa, Henry served as an interim minister at Bethany Baptist Church, and Sardis Baptist Church, Hartwell, Georgia; Bethabara Baptist Church, Statham, Georgia, and Clarkesville Baptist Church, Clarkesville, Georgia. An avid writer, Dr. Fields penned regular columns of personal reflections in The Tallapoosa Journal, Waycross Journal-Herald, and The Toccoa Record. He also authored four books: “Lord, Let Them Know I Care,” “Ramblings,” “Scratchpad Ponderings,” and “Rhythms of Life.” Wherever he was, Dr. Fields took his calling beyond church walls, serving his community in leadership roles ranging from multiple civic clubs to food banks, charity drives, mission trips, building projects, water conservation, and higher education. He was particularly interested in working with young people, and on Friday nights, and during many weekday practices, he was a sideline regular as team chaplain for the Waycross High School Bulldogs and the Stephens County Indians football teams. Dr. Fields was fond of ending his pre-game prayer with a simple request to “let the boys in red come out a little bit ahead.” The boys in red won a lot of championships. Seeing others succeed fueled his work and was one of his greatest sources of pride. He tried to never judge people for their falls, choosing instead to encourage and cheer their rise. His greatest passion was his family. Perhaps the most devastating blow of his life came when his father died from a heart attack when Dr. Fields was 13. However, the willpower of his mother and support from seven sisters taught him the importance of staying close to those with whom he shared a bloodline. The men and women in his community who helped him reach his goals taught him the importance of friendship and giving people a hand up. When Dr. Fields and his wife, Betty, started their own family, he reveled in his relationships with his children, grandchildren, and all their friends. He had many titles through the years, his favorites being “dad” and “Papa Henry.” When his grandchildren chose to attend his alma mater’s archrivals, Clemson, and Georgia, he proudly added those school logos next to a yellow jacket on the back of his truck. Dr. Fields married the love of his life, Betty Jeanes, in 1961. She survives him along with his daughter, Lee Ellen and her husband, Ron Addington, of Toccoa; son, Michael, and his wife, Susan of Cartersville; grandchildren Sam Fulbright, Sydney Fulbright, Ellie Fields, Maggie Fields, Alicia Addington, and Rob and Annie Addington. He also is survived by his sister, Betty Thomas of Tifton, and brother-in-law, Dennis Pauley of Toccoa. He was predeceased by both parents and his sisters: Louise Cook, Elmo Morris, Julia Agee, Ophelia Hatch, Ann Fieldsand Janie Pauley. Due to conditions concerning the health and wellbeing of Dr. Fields’ family, friends and community, the family will regretfully have no formal visitation. A private service was held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, February 10, at First Baptist Church in Toccoa with the Rev. David Ritcey and the Rev. Brett Sanders officiating. The service was streamed live on the First Baptist Church Facebook page. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church of Toccoa’s General Fund or The Henry and Betty Fields Scholarship Fund at The Mercer University McAfee School of Theology. Friends and family are invited to share their thoughts and remembrances of Henry by signing the online guestbook at Whitlock Mortuary was honored to be serving the family of Dr. William Henry Fields.