A well-known minister and entrepreneur in the Hoke County community passed away Monday at the age of 71.
Evangelist Betty L. Hardaway was pastor of Jericho Deliverance Temple for more than 40 years, and owner of Hardaway’s Herb Garden, a business she founded herself.
Known for her passion for preaching the Gospel, she appeared for many years on her own television show as a televangelist and singer-songwriter. She also sold herbal remedies and other products at her business located on U.S. 401 at the corner of Vass Road.
Hardaway was born and raised in Raeford by her parents, Sam and Mildred Willis. She and her husband Freeman Hardaway Sr. made their home in Hoke County where she created many business opportunities.
Hardaway worked her way up to becoming a businesswoman and public figure. With the support of her husband of nearly 50 years, she knew what it was like to live the American dream, her family said.
“Even though she grew up a sharecropper, she managed to become an entrepreneur and an owner of a slew of businesses,” her obituary said.
Hardaway owned and operated many endeavors: her own laundry business, dry cleaners, and maintenance service along with Hardaway’s Herb Garden and her televangelist ministry. She was also an author, and even at the age of 71 was working on publishing her second book.
“She was the Wendy Williams of our time, people just didn’t realize it. Radio, television broadcast—she was well known all over the world,” one of her daughters said of Hardaway. When family posted news of her passing on social media, more than 200,000 people responded in sympathy, and the message reached more than two million people around the world.
Loved ones described Hardaway as a pillar in the community who put Raeford on the map. Among her many humanitarian efforts were a food bank and an outreach ministry to those in need.
Freddy McPhaul of Hoke County said his family and hers were close and that they grew up together. He described Hardaway as a strong Christian woman who was always giving to and supporting others.
“She was the type of woman who would help anybody if she could,” he said. “God was always in her heart.”
Hardaway’s daughter Perika Hardaway said their mother’s legacy brings the family some comfort.
“It gives me comfort in knowing that she did so many wonderful things. Feeding the community of Raeford with her food bank and different things like that, spreading the Gospel, that gives me comfort,” she said.
Hardaway was the rock of her family who kept them all together, and she will be missed but never forgotten, her children said. She was a faithful woman who made things happen: “If she spoke it and said it was going to happen, it happened,” her daughter said.
“I know that my mother is in heaven and she’s my angel watching over our family.”
“She will truly be missed but never forgotten. Her legacy will live on for generations to come,” her family said in an obituary.
Her children have many accomplishments themselves: one granddaughter recently became a lawyer, her family said. Two of her daughters rose to fame themselves with their videos as Diamond and Silk, supporting President Donald Trump on the campaign trail.
The family planned to hold a private memorial later this week.