ROCKINGHAM — Pastor Garcia L. Morman Sr. lived his life for God, pastoring at two churches in Richmond and Anson counties, traveling within the country and overseas for outreach-ministry projects, and starting a basketball league for troubled youth.
Even a year after his death, he is remembered as an “everyday hero” — both in a recent special report by Spectrum News and by those working to continue his legacy after his death from cancer. Those people include not only relatives but some in positions of public influence.
“He was a man who loved people,” said Lisa Morman-Patterson, sister of the late Morman Sr. “He was someone who believed in loving people inside and outside the church.”
Morman-Patterson described the different outreach programs Morman Sr. involved himself in around the community and out of state. She said he helped deliver goods out of a tractor truck in Louisiana to help families in need after Hurricane Katrina, and he helped in-state when Hurricane Isabel hit in 2003.
Mae Rose Pollard remembered helping Morman Sr. pack boxes to deliver to families during Hurricane Katrina. She said she placed tape recordings of a message from a previous service of his in the boxes. The recordings contained her phone number on them.
“When I first got a call, it was unbelievable, and it slipped my mind because I wasn’t expecting to get a call back,” she said. “He made sure his word went beyond the church walls. I always had those tapes with me because you never knew what people had going on in their lives.”
In addition to his outreach services, Morman Sr. had other projects he was able to complete during his lifetime.
“Not only was he a humanitarian, he was an awesome singer,” Morman-Patterson said.
His daughter Ashleigh Morman remembered how during his illness, he continued pursuing his love of singing and writing.
“Even during his treatments, he was still singing,” she said. “He would bring his notebook to write his lyrics, and he would send me out so that he could have private time.”
Morman-Patterson described the CD “Forgiven” as the culmination of all the work he had done during his life.
It was first produced in 2006, re-released in 2018 and made available at select Walmarts — such as the one in Rockingham — as well as streaming services. He also started a musical in Richmond County back in the 1990s: the Thanksgiving Festival of Praise, a project his daughter continues.
“He always had a heart for people and felt that Richmond County had a lot of talent to offer,” Morman-Patterson said.
His heart only extended not only to those musically inclined but to those who were troubled and on the streets.
“He provided a place for us to play where we were safe,” said Daniel Morman, Morman Sr.’s brother. Morman joined the league when he was around 18
“It was more than just a game to us,” he said. “It had a huge impact on our life and in the community.”
An impact that Ronald Tillman, a coach in the league, also noticed.
“He was a people person, and he had a unique way of talking to people,” said Tillman, also a School Board member. “Young people might get intimidated when they see someone from the church come up to talk with them, but he had a way of not putting that pressure on them but still getting the message across that the Lord is the way to go.”
“Christ was the way, and it was OK and cool to follow Christ at the time,” Daniel Morman said. “He made it cool.”
Even though Morman Sr. led a busy life with outreach projects, the basketball league, ministry, his music and other work in the community, he still made time for friends, family and anyone who needed to talk.
Rockingham Sheriff James Clemmons Jr. said he appreciated the friendship he had with his pastor.
Clemmons remembered shared with Morman Sr. the desire to reach people besides those who were victims of crimes or in trouble. He said Morman Sr. gave him a look when he came up with the idea to visit every church in Richmond County.
“He asked if I understood what I was saying,” Clemmons said, laughing. “He said I should’ve gotten started 20 years ago because there are now over 400 churches in Richmond County, and there’s only one Sunday each week.”
To this day, Clemmons has kept his promise and has visited approximately 55 churches with the purpose of enjoying the fellowship, getting to know the people at the church and allowing them to get to know him.
“I am who I am today because of his leadership,” Clemmons said. “He was my spiritual leader, my pastor and my friend. That was our relationship all bundled up into one.”
Morman Sr.’s sister Lisa Morman-Patterson says she will dedicate the song “Gotta Go” at this year’s Thanksgiving Festival of Praise. The song helps her deal with his loss.
“It’s him letting me know that he’s gotta go, and heaven is calling him to collect his rewards,” she said.
Reach Jasmine Hager at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]