Gatesville community pays tribute to late choir director

Posted at 10:06 PM, Aug 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-13 12:17:32-04

The Gatesville community honored a late choir director on Sunday night.

Multiple soloists and choirs performed at the First United Methodist Church in a tribute to Bill Rucker.

"There's not a church that I know of that Daddy didn't sing in," said Phyllis Alexander, Rucker's daughter. "He just sang for everybody, but mainly he sang for God."

Alexander said her father lost his life to cancer one year ago. He was 77 years old when he died. 

"Daddy was diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia and it happened very quickly. He passed on a Sunday morning so I know right away he was singing with the lord," Alexander said.

Charles Ament is the Director of Music at FUMC. He's one of Rucker's former students who organized the tribute. 

"He had an incredible, incredible voice. He blessed the community of Gatesville with that voice by singing at funerals, weddings, every type of event you could imagine," Ament said. "We've mourned for a year and now it's time to rejoice and celebrate his life so we're going to sing tonight and do that." 

Rucker's family, friends and former students attended the performance. Many of them also shared their talents.

"I'm here today because of my choir director who saw something in me and believed in me," said Diana Fincher, Rucker's former student. "What I want people to remember about Mr. Rucker is that he represents what every teacher, every musician should be to their students and to one another."

Fincher was so inspired by Rucker that she chose to follow in his footsteps. After graduating from high school, she pursued music education at Baylor University. 

"I am who I am today because of him," Fincher said.

Rucker taught in churches and schools across Central Texas, devoting his life to sharing his love of music with others.

"He taught here in Gatesville, he taught in Waco, he taught in Temple and he finished up in Copperas Cove," Alexander said. "He just loved to share his love of music with everyone."

There were dozens of people in the audience who smiled and shed a few tears throughout the 45-minute performance. 

"It will bring back memories of Bill and all the things he used to do to entertain us and just get us on the path of being positive and knowing that he's in a better place," Ament said.

"Other than his faith and his family, music is his legacy," Alexander said.

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