Writing Clerical 02

Wendell Bernard Coker

December 26, 1967 ~ December 7, 2023 (age 55) 55 Years Old
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Wendell Coker Obituary

Wendell Bernard Coker, 55, Rockingham, NC passed on Monday, December 7, 2023.  Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, December 16, 2023, at New Diggs AME Zion Church, 494 Mizpah Road, Rockingham, NC.  Public Viewing, Friday, December 15, 2023, 1:00 pm until 6:00 pm at Nelson Funeral Home, 1021 E. Washington Street, Rockingham, NC  28379.  Nelson Funeral Service is serving the family.


Life’s Reflections

Elder Wendell Bernard Coker was born December 26th, 1967 in Darlington, SC to the

parents of Mary Louise Harkless Coker and Robert Coker. Elder Coker peacefully

transitioned from life on December 7th, 2023.

Elder Coker grew up in Darlington, SC and obtained his education in the public

schools of Darlington County graduating with the class of 1986 from Mayo High

School. Elder Coker wore many hats during his time in high school. He served as

captain of his high school football team and also learned to drive school buses starting

at the age of 15. Elder Coker was also enrolled in the Citadel Military College.

Elder Coker continued his education at Livingstone College earning his Bachelor’s

Degree in Business Administration. It was during his time at Livingstone College in

Salisbury, NC that he met his wife, Odessa Jones, and upon meeting her in 1993, God

ordained their marriage in 1994. Between their union, they were blessed with three

beautiful children, Gwendolyn, Preston, and Faith. Elder Coker had a wealth

of knowledge that he gained from working various roles throughout his life. In his

early years, Elder Coker worked at Samarcand Manor in Eagle Springs, NC. He

worked at Livingstone College as a Residential Advisor and an Athletic Trainer. In

2003, Elder Coker started what he called his vision and ministry, The Richmond

County Golden Bears Semi-Pro Football Team. For 17 years, Elder Coker dedicated

his life to ensuring that young men in the community were given a second chance to

a rewarding life. Elder Coker made it known that it was more than just football, it was

about bringing lost souls to Christ through a sport that they loved. Within the span of

those years, he brought his team two State Championships and 3 trips to the National

Championship in Florida. When asked why he did this so long, he always expressed,

“If I can draw just one life closer to God, I have drawn many”.

During his time as a coach, he also pursued his calling in social work and human

development. Elder Coker worked in the Department of Social Services for over 12

years in various counties of North and South Carolina as a Supervisor. He also worked

with Mentor Network as the Director of their Day Treatment Program. Elder Coker

believed that it was truly his calling to be a service to others and beer the lives of the

youth and families in his communities. In 2014, alongside his wife, Elder Coker

graduated with his Master’s Degree in Counseling and Therapy. In his most recent

years, Elder Coker worked with Pinnacle Family Services as a Therapeutic Foster Care

Licensure Specialist, assisting families with obtaining their license to foster children

in foster care. Through this line of work, Elder Coker was able to touch many lives,

sharing his wisdom and knowledge and using what he knew to continue his ministry.

In October 2010, Elder Coker accepted the call to preach and with this duty, he served

as the youth minister at Triumph Church in Cheraw, SC where Pastor Elder Donnie

Chapman presides. He truly loved his Triumph Church family by helping in any way

he could by giving the Word to God’s people, visiting the sick, aiding with pastoral

duties, standing at the door with a welcoming smile, or simply helping members up

and down the steps. If you knew Elder Coker, you knew he loved music and singing

and you can always count on him to harmonize in the background. Elder Coker also

spent moments assisting and learning under his father-in-law, Pastor Carl Jones within

his early years of ministry. After years of serving this duty, Elder Coker was promoted

to the role of an Elder within Triumph Church, Cheraw, SC and served in that capacity,

until his passing.

There are not enough words to describe how wonderful Elder Coker was. He was a

man of God and very charismatic. He was humble, kind, and very wise. If you had

the pleasure of meeting him, you were always greeted with a welcoming smile and a

joke or two.

Wendell Coker leaves behind to cherish his memories; his loving wife of 29 years,

Odessa Jones Coker, his daughters, Gwendolyn Coker and Faith Coker, his son,

Preston Coker, his brother Anthony (Kymbrelli) Coker, his aunts, Rosa Bacote, Flora

Free, Naomi Harkless, his mother in-law Betty Harper Jones, a host of brother

and sister in-laws, nieces and nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his

mother Mary Louise Harkless Coker; his father Robert Coker; his grandmothers

Gilester Slater Coker and Azalee Davis Harkless, grandfathers Jim Coker and John

Harkless, and father in-law Pastor Carl Jones and brother in-law Eddie Harper. We

will always cherish his memories and he will forever live in our hearts.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Wendell Bernard Coker, please visit our floral store.

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December 15, 2023

1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Nelson Funeral Services
1021 E Washington St
Rockingham, NC 28379

Funeral Service
December 16, 2023

1:00 PM
New Diggs A.M.E. Zion Church
494 Mizpah Rd.
Rockingham, NC 28379


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