He was a beacon of light, his family said, that never failed to make others smile. He also taught many of his nephews a good trade for their working life and led many others down their spiritual paths.

Sylvannis Ware of Charlotte died March 2, 2012, of cancer. He was 70 and was the former owner of Ware Carpet Service.

He was born in Charlotte but was raised by his grandparents in Chester, S.C., where he was a graduate of Finley High School. He had also attended elementary school in Chester, where he met Reperzelle Feaster whom he married in 1961.

He joined St. Paul Baptist Church in Lowrys, S.C., and began his long service to his churches.

When Sylvannis and Reperzelle moved to Charlotte, he joined Gethsemane Baptist Church, then became a principal founder of Reeder Memorial Baptist Church. There, he served as executive chairman, deacon, Sunday school teacher and hymn choir leader.

The couple added son Carrington and daughters Dietrich, Dawn and Beverly to complete the family. Nine grandchildren followed, and four great-grandchildren, who were the special apples of his eye.

Fair and honest

Her father had a very good work ethic, said daughter Dawn Hines. He owned his carpet business for 10 years and was known and respected as a fair and honest businessman. He saw that many of his nephews needed to learn a trade, so he imparted knowledge of his trade to several of them.

“He knew what he wanted and worked for it,” Dawn said. “He would not take handouts, but gave them a lot. Not doing for himself was hard for him to accept.”

Sylvannis later drove a Charlotte Area Transit (CATS) bus for 25 years and retired in 2005. Sylvannis wasn’t comfortable in his retirement, so he drove charter buses for American Charter until his illness.

He drove a bus that ferried victims of Hurricane Katrina to shelters in New Orleans and Texas. In 2005, Katrina was the strongest storm to hit the coastline in 100 years. “He took pride in that,” said daughter Dietrich Trimble. “He said that he gave his socks and his hat away. He had a heart for the people at that time.”

Loved everybody he met

“He could always tell funny stories,” Reperzelle said. “He always had something to tell. He loved everybody he met and could start up a conversation.

“He tried to teach his grandsons to be real men and taught the girls what to look for in a husband,” his wife said.

He loved bowling, shooting pool and had played baseball in the minor leagues. He also loved singing in the choir and photography, Dietrich said. “He loved singing hymns in the church choir and teaching the children and grandchildren hymns.”

And so when the next storm comes, it just might be the sound of Sylvannis singing his low notes. And the flashes of lightning could be his camera marking the arrival of another soul Up There.

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