Today-- friends and family will pay their final respects to an important member of the Jacksonville community. Doctor Chester Aikens died a week ago after a heart attack. He was not only a Jacksonville dentist - he was also a civil rights leader and humanitarian. Last night -- people packed Bethel Baptist in Springfield for a viewing. He was an active member of the church. Channel 4's Erica Rakow joins us LIVE there now with the plans for today's funeral service. 3 3 I DID AND THIS IS A VERY HARD TIME FOR THEM.. ESPECIALLY BECAUSE IT WAS SO UNEXPECTED BUT THEY'RE FOCUSING ON THE LIFE HE LIVED, ONE THEY ARE VERY PROUD OF.IT HAPPENED RIGHT AFTER HE LEFT A MEETING FOR MAYOR BROWN'S RETIREMENT REFORM TASK FORCE..WHICH HE WAS A MEMBER OF. HIS FRIENDS SAY IT JUST SIGNIFIES HIS LOVING PASSION FOR SERVING OTHERS.. AND THEY FIND COMFORT KNOWING HE SPENT THE LAST HOURS OF HIS LIFE DOING THAT. 3 13:10 we're all on the train of life, our beat stops along the way.WHILE UP LATE LAST NIGHT.. THINKING ABOUT HIS FRIEND OF 30 YEARS .. RICHARD DANFORD JOTTED DOWN THAT SHORT POEM.13:16 At some point each of us will exit we just don't know when. God is good.AND GOD AND THE BIBLE IS WHAT DR. CHESTER AIKENS LOVED. HE CERTAINLY ACCOMPLISHED A WHOLE LOT IN HIS 62 YEARS OF LIFE.. HIS MOST RECENT, THOUGH-HE WAS ORDAINED IN OCTOBER, ALONG WITH HIS WIFE AT THEIR CHURCH- BETHEL BAPTIST.BISHOP RUDOLPH W.MCKISSICK JR./BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH 16:37) it was just such joy you could see it on his face and on his wife's face when we handed them that certificate and it was just the right thing to do) almost like the culminating piece for his life you know that he got this crowning moment in his church to be this servant leader and I just think what a way to go, what a way to go. FRIEND RICHARD DANFORD SAYS IT'S AS IF AIKENS LIVED 100 PLUS YEARS WITH ALL THAT HE ACCOMPLISHED-HE WENT TO DENTAL SCHOOL, LAW SCHOOL, RECEIVED HIS MBA AND EVEN SERVED IN THE NATIONAL GUARD FOR 11 YEARS. BUT ABOVE ALL-HE DEDICATED HIS LIFE TO SERVING PEOPLE IN JACKSONVILLE. NOT ONLY DID HE GIVE OF HIS TIME BUT HE PUT HIS HAND IN HIS POCKET.RICHARD DANFORD/LONG TIME FRIEND 3:23 I think if he had just spent all of his time making money he would be a billionaire but he spent half his time helping others, providing services to people who could not afford the dentist service FULL OF INTELLECTUAL, PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL ENERGY.. AIKENS NEVER FAILED TO POSITIVELY IMPACT EVERY PERSON HE CAME IN CONTACT WITH..HE WAS VERY INVOLVED WITH THE Y, THE RITZ AND THE URBAN LEAGUE.A MAN OF COURAGE, SERVICE AND FAITH.. VALUING EDUCATION, COMMUNITY, FAMILY AND GOD.. THAT'S HOW THOSE TOUCHED BY DR. CHESTER AIKENS' LIFE SAY HIS LIFE WILL BE REMEMBERED.19:09 someone like Chester Aikens, you don't even try to replace him. RICHARD DANFORD SAYS DR. AIKENS ACTUALLY INTRODUCED HIM TO HIS WIFE AND BECAUSE OF HIM THEY NOW HAVE A WONDERFUL FAMILY WITH TWO BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN. THE FUNERAL IS FROM 5 TO 7:00 TONIGHT HERE AT BETHEL BAPTIST.