Sumter Co., GA (WALB) - The man who founded Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center for Housing was laid to rest Wednesday as supporters vowed to carry on his work.
Millard Fuller died suddenly Tuesday on his way to Phoebe Putney Hospital. His son said a preliminary autopsy report indicates Fuller died from congestive heart failure at age 74.
Hundreds raised their voices in tribute to Millard Fuller as they said goodbye to a man who helped so many secure a home of their own. Fuller was laid to rest at Koinonia Farms, the community he helped develop in 1968.
"My dad believed very strongly that you put God first," said his son, Chris Fuller. "The verse they spoke today was Matthew 6:33, 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God,' and whatever my dad did he tried to put God first in his life."
A chorus of Happy Birthday was started by his daughter and granddaughter, to mark Fuller's rebirth. Emma Sue Clay remembered her first meeting with Fuller and her home where gravel could be thrown through the walls.
"He asked my mom after he introduced himself, do you want, do you need a new house? She said well just look and tell me, do I need a new house and so right then, he became just like a family member."
For some the words came easy.
"He was a simple man, yet complex as far as his dreams and his goals, his visions and what he wanted to accomplish," said Margo Mitchell.
For long time friends who had traveled the world with Fuller, it was more difficult to say goodbye.
"Let me start over, I've got a lot of emotion right at this moment," said Judge George Peagler.
As friends and family lifted shovels full of dirt and said their final goodbyes, they say it's Fuller's legacy that will live on.
"The legacy I think I hope people will go away with both from here and around the world is that of service to your fellow human being, a servant ministry, putting God's words into action," said Peagler.
Many said whatever service they volunteer to participate in, that work will be done in Millard Fuller's name.
He wanted to be buried in the same manner as his spiritual mentor and Koinonia co-founder Clarence Jordan. Fuller was buried in a simple box with no specific marker for his grave.
The family is planning another public memorial service for later in the month.