William Greene Avera Is Laid To Rest

William Green Avera (1855-1944) and Benjamin Gaskins (left) photographed at Irene Church, Lanier County, GA.  Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

William Green Avera (1855-1944) and Benjamin Gaskins (left) photographed at Irene Church, Lanier County, GA. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

William Green Avera was a local educator who received national attention for his innovative teaching methods.

Professor Avera died January 10, 1944. His obituary ran on the front page of the Clinch County News:

Obituary of William Green Avera, Clinch County News, Jan 14, 1944.

Obituary of William Green Avera, Clinch County News, Jan 14, 1944.

The Clinch County News
January 14, 1944 Pg 1

William Avera is Laid to Rest

    Funeral services were held this morning at 11 o’clock (Wednesday) at the Irene Primitive Baptist church in Lanier county [see map] for William Greene Avera, pioneer educator of South Georgia who died at his rural home East of Nashville on Monday afternoon.  He was 88 years of age.
    As a mark of respect all the schools of Berrien county were closed for the funeral services.  Mr. Avera served as superintendent of the Berrien county schools for twenty years and form more than half a century he taught in the schools of Berrien and other counties in south Georgia.
    His second wife, Mrs. Margaret Avera. and one son, Bryant Avera, both of Berrien county and 13 grandchildren and a number of great grandchildren survive.
    Mr. Avera’s first wife was Miss Eliza Jane Sirmans.  There were 11 children from this union.  Mrs. Avera died in 1905 and in 1911 he was married to Miss Margaret McMillan.
    Pallbeareres at the funeral this morning were grandsons of Mr. Avera.  They were: Waldo Avera and W. R. Roberts, of Jacksonville, Fla., Albert Griner, Phiniza Avera and Saron Parr, of Nashville.
    The funeral services were conducted by Elder Orvill Knight.
    Mr. Avera was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Steven Willis Avera of Clinch county.  When he was a young child the family moved to Berrien county. 
    Mr. Avera died in the home in which he lived for 60 years.

Irene Church, 2011, Lanier County, GA

Irene Church, 2011, Lanier County, GA

For additional views of Irene Church see Irene Primitive Baptist Church

Grave of William Green Avera, Avera Cemetery, near Ray City, Berrien County, GA

Avera Cemetery map on Find-a-Grave

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7 Comments

  1. Charlene Zeigler Taylor said,

    January 26, 2014 at 12:59 am

    Is this Irene church still existing? Where is it located?
    Thank you!

    • January 26, 2014 at 10:26 am

      It is about a mile from Empire Church on the southwest side of Five Mile creek. The building still exists, but may have been repurposed. I’ll post better directions in the next few days.

      • Charlene Zeigler Taylor said,

        January 26, 2014 at 12:11 pm

        Thank you so much!! I cannot even explain how much I enjoy all of these blogs!!!! And, this William Green & Elizabeth Jane Sirmons Avera were my GGG grand aunt & uncle. Is there any history on the Irene church? Thanks again, so much, for your time & talent!!

      • January 26, 2014 at 1:36 pm

        Charlene,
        Additional views of the church are posted at

        I believe Irene Church was constituted after members of Empire Church who lived on the south side of Five Mile Creek grew weary of being cut off from Empire when the creek was high. Will keep and eye out for additional history.

    • January 26, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Here is the link to the location of Irene Church on Google Maps. The photo above is actually from the back side of the church.

      • Charlene Zeigler Taylor said,

        January 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm

        Thank you!!

  2. Charlene Taylor said,

    November 24, 2014 at 6:54 am

    LOVE ALL YOUR ARTICLES!!!!!

    Any info on who the parents of Eliza Jane Sirmans were? Thanks so much!!!


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