Habitat for Humanity Founder Laid to Rest

By Laurie Bernstein - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Many say after death, a man is measured by the people he touched.

Wednesday, the long reach of Millard Fuller's hand and hammer was on display, as hundreds came to pay their final respects at Koinonia Farm, the place where Habitat for Humanity was first founded.

"Millard used his hammer to become a master builder for God, as well as hundreds of thousands of his fellow human beings," said Judge George Peagler, who delivered a prayer during the funeral.

Without pomp or circumstance, visitors trekked through open fields for a half mile before reaching the final burial site.

Once there, Millard was brought out in a simple pine coffin; we're told inside, he was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt.

Of course, he couldn't be sent into heaven without his tools; his wife Linda said her goodbye by placing his trusty hammer back into his hands.

"When Clarence Jordan talked about going to heaven, he would talk about going to preach in hell. Now, I'll bet my dad is down there trying to build houses for all those people in hell," said Chris Fuller, Millard Fuller's son.

The crowd laughed, even broke into song at some points, refusing to let this day be about loss.

Instead, it was a celebration of the man who used his hands to help others fulfill the dream of finally having a place to call home.

Fuller's final resting place was an unmarked grave underneath a grove of trees, in a place they call Picnic Hill.

Autopsy reports show he died from a sudden heart attack Tuesday morning.