Longtime pastor and school administrator Hubert Pierce Tankersley Jr. died Wednesday at the Ogeechee Area Hospice Inpatient Facility after a long battle with cancer. He was 69.
The Bulloch County native was well-known for his compassion and love for his fellow man. He was “not a man that is easy to forget,” said Phyllis Rushing, who knew Tankersley for years. “He was stern when needed, helpful when needed, a father figure when needed and always a Christian.”
Tankersley graduated from Statesboro High School in 1961, then went to Georgia Southern College and received his Bachelor of Education degree in social studies, his Master of Education degree in school administration and his education specialist degree in school administration.
He served as an educator and administrator in the Bulloch County school system for 32 years, spending time leading Portal High, Nevils Elementary, Sallie Zetterower Elementary and William James Junior High schools. In addition to the service in public schools, Tankersley also served six years as headmaster of Bulloch Academy and three years as headmaster of First Presbyterian Christian Academy in Hinesville.
“He was a good friend, and my pastor for many years,” local business owner James Pearce said. “He helped me and my family through a lot. We loved him, and he will be greatly missed.”
Tankersley served as pastor of Emit Grove Baptist Church for 34 years. For the past five years, he served at First Baptist Church as minister to senior adult members. He was a member of the Laborers in Christ Sunday school class.
A longtime member of the Boy Scouts of America, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 1959.
Another of his accomplishments that made a major impact on local business is that he joined several teachers in 1974 to establish CORE Credit Union.
He joined the Statesboro Kiwanis Club in 2006 and was active in the club’s activities.
Tankersley was a well-known personality in the community and was remembered for his kindness, friends said.
“He influenced a lot of people and was highly respected by every person … that knew him,” Rushing said. “He will be greatly missed.”
Pearce said Tankersley was “very grounded, very stable, very anchored. He influenced me tremendously and was a great person to look to. He was always on solid ground.”
Tankersley is survived by his wife, Kathryn Owens Tankersley; a son, Hubert Pierce Tankersley, III (Tray); a daughter, Kelly Elizabeth Tankersley of Brooklet, and two grandchildren.
He is also survived by two brothers and sisters-in-law, Harry W. and Bettye Tankersley of Statesboro and Hughie A. and state Rep. Jan Tankersley of Brooklet; as well as two sisters and a brother-in-law, Leetie Ann and Larry Tootle, and Lynette Tankersley, all of Richmond Hill.
Visitation for Tankersley will be today from 4 to 7 p.m. at Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home on Miller Street Extension. The funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Statesboro First Baptist Church, with Dr. John Waters officiating. Interment will follow in Bulloch Memorial Gardens.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.