Family, friends gather to remember Chatham Co. Commissioner Larry “Gator” Rivers

Published: May. 10, 2023 at 10:45 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - A solemn day in Chatham County at hundreds gathered to pay their last respects to County Commissioner and community leader Larry “Gator” Rivers.

Friends and loved ones gathered to remember Larry “Gator” Rivers, not just for his prowess in basketball, but also his passion in the community he called home.

“People who’ve grown up in our community looked at him as one of the people who went away, came back and still showed respect to the city,” said Savannah alderman Detric Leggett.

Generations of Savannahians came to remember a local legend...

“A time to weep, a time to laugh...a time to mourn, and a time to dance,” said St. Paul CME Church Rev. Diane G. Williams.

Many spoke of his leadership as a high school basketball player who helped Beach High win championships in the 1960′s. They remembered his fame as a member of the Harlem Globetrotter, traveling the world.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said Rivers’ basketball skill as a point guard extended to his work with young people across Savannah.

“Passing on to future generations, not just a love of basketball, but a loving and embracing of life,” said Mayor Johnson.

Teammates from Beach High and others praised the former county commissioner as a trailblazer and more.

“He was a force, a gentle giant, stubborn, assertive, goal-focused, an ambassador,” said Savannah alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan.