MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Loved ones and community leaders are remembering a Mid-South pastor who was killed in a car wreck Saturday night.

Pastor Willie Boyd of Greenwood CME Church died after his car struck a tree near N. Reid Hooker Road and Monterey Road in Eads around 7 p.m. 

Just two days later, his friend Dr. William Smith III said today would have been his 45th birthday.

The news of the beloved pastor’s death stings Smith.

“So shocking, very surprising,” he said. “Pastor Boyd and I, he was more than just a friend, he was a brother.”

Smith, who is also a pastor with Berean Missionary Baptist Church, said the two became close over the years. 

“One of the things that I gleaned from Pastor Boyd, although we were in the same peer group, was some of the ‘Fs’ that he made a priority in his life. That was his faith, his family and his fraternity. He loved his fraternity,” he recalled. “He was a phenomenal husband and a father of three beautiful children, two boys, one girl.”

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland reacted to the news of his death over the weekend saying in part, “He had a heart for our underserved populations and didn’t hesitate to respond to help us feed the homeless and hungry during Thanksgiving with MemFeast. My deepest condolences to his family. It’s a tremendous loss to our community.”

Smith remembers Boyd as a man who was fun to be around, an advocate of doing what’s right, and someone who has never met a stranger.

“I believe that if anything is to be said about Pastor Boyd, that his mark, his legacy in the community is that he loved to love. He loved to love people, he loved to have those great conversations,” Smith said. “He would always come into the room and split it like the Red Sea. He would bring a smile to your face and even in the most serious of times he would bring some type of laughter.”

Memphis Shelby County Schools’ Interim Superintendent Toni Williams also reacted to his death. 

“My prayers are with the family of Pastor Boyd Jr, members of the Greenwood CME Church, and our MSCS family. Pastor Boyd supported our MSCS special population students and families. We welcome reflections in hopes it will comfort his family in the days to come,” Williams said on Twitter.