William Newton Heaps

Published 5:55 pm Thursday, May 2, 2013

5-3 Heaps for Web

William Newton Heaps, 82, of Clanton, passed away on May 1 at Hatley Healthcare in Clanton. He was a native of Franklin County.

Heaps was an active member of Walnut Creek United Methodist Church.

In his early years, he was manager of the Farmer’s Co-op for many years in Russellville. Upon moving to Clanton, he was a sales representative for Fuller Supply Company until his retirement in 2000.

Heaps has been actively involved in convention singings since his early years and has written and published more than 100 songs during his song-writing career. A great love of his life was participating in convention singings. He and his wife, Bernice, traveled over Alabama and the Southeast participating in convention singings. He held many offices since 1974 in the Alabama State Gospel Singing Convention. These offices included president, vice-president, supreme cabinet and chaplain. He was a representative of the Vaughn Music Company, Tennessee Music Company and the Gospel Heritage Music Company for a number of years. Along with other convention singing leaders, he assisted with the founding of the Alabama State School of Gospel Music at Sneed State College near Boaz. With the excess proceeds from the Alabama State Convention, a fund was created to help students with their tuition to ensure that convention singing with continue into the future.

Heaps was honored for his contributions to convention singing by Hon. Robert B. Aderholt in a tribute entered in the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Record on Dec. 17, 2005.

His gospel song writing was a strong witness of his Christian faith and leaves a heritage that will touch lives for many years to come.

Heaps is survived by his son, Tommy Heaps (Charlotte) of Florence; daughter, Shirley Henley of Clanton; daughter, Sheila Mims (Roger) of Clanton; granddaughter, Laura Heaps of Florence; grandson, Scott Mims (Shelley) of Clanton; grandson, Will Heaps (Whitney) of Huntsville; great-granddaughter, Vivian Heaps of Huntsville; and a brother, Carl Heaps of Phil Campbell. Heaps is preceded in death by his loving wife, Bernice Heaps; parents, Johnnie and Louise Heaps; sister, Cathryn Garrison; and brothers, Dewey Heaps and Bobby Heaps.

Visitation was held on May 2 from 6-8 p.m. at Ellison-Cleckler Funeral Home.

Funeral services will be held on May 3 at 2 p.m. from Walnut Creek United Methodist Church with the Rev. Tony Hughes officiating.

The body will lie in state one hour prior to the service at the church.

Burial will follow in Chilton Memorial Gardens in Clanton.

Final care and arrangements entrusted to Ellison-Cleckler Funeral Home of Clanton.