Vision in many instances is misunderstood because of its capacity for expansion, dreams and fantasies. A vision is a mental image created by the imagination and marked by tendencies towards apparitions, prophecies and/or revelations. Some people see visionaries as dreamers with Impractical ideas because of their utopian foresight, yet the Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Mr. Lafayette Gatling, Sr. held on to an embryonic seed that he conceived as a little boy and the idea was perceived by many as child’s play.
It was 1945, during World War II that he challenged at the very tender age of five by the loss of his mother. His father, Raymond Gatling, at the time of his wife’s death, was somewhere in a fox hole in New Guinea fighting for his country. He arrived home six months later to find out about the loss of his wife and his very devastated little boy, although the Red Cross had tried feverishly to find him. Imagine with me how it must have been, for a little mind wrestling with the understanding of life and death….gain and loss….trying all he could to come up with a resolved of how to press forward into a big world that must have seemed bigger than life and frightening to a child.
It was through the experience of Mr. Gatling’s mother’s transition that his vision was born. As he played Church in his backyard conducting the funeral services of the most recently killed chickens, little did he know, his play would one day become a reality. It nurtured his dreams and his fantasies. His vision has now become a reality. Mr. Lafayette Gatling, Sr. a native of North Carolina was raised and educated there, forged ahead in pursuit of his future.
During the years of his upbringing, he weathered the challenges of a one-parent home and made his spectacular inroads into the footprints of time and sprang forth in his adult years with a Degree in HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning) and a Certificate in Welding and Cable Splicing.
Mr. Gatling has been a General contractor for over forty years and a member of the international Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for over forty years. He worked for Local 134 as a Foreman and General Foreman. His expertise afforded him the opportunity to work on projects such as the Sear Tower, McCormick Place and O’Hare Field Airport, just to mention a few.
He attributes all of his success and achievement to the Glory of God granting him the ability to do these things. Therefore, he continues to give of his time, talent and money. His name is affixed to two church cornerstones in the City of Chicago….Gospel Truth Baptist Church and Mt. Carmel as Builder, General contractor and the only Electrician. He donated his time and absolutely refused any pay. In his words, “I am just giving back some of what God has given to me.”
Mrs. Marguerite Gatling was born and raised in the State of Louisiana. Coming from a large family, she understood the significance of family and family values. Although an awesome tasks, she continued to nurture her family while continuously feeling an insatiable urge for self-empowerment. She attended Chicago State University where she majored in Business Administration. Later, because of her determination to be all she needed to be, she went on to graduate from Worsham School with a Degree in Mortuary Science. With these skills, she could better serve her community as well as be of better service to her husband.
Mr. & Mrs. Lafayette Gatling, Sr., now own the largest single Black owned and operated funeral home within the United States of America, averaging over 2,000 funerals a year. Gatling’s Chapel, Inc. located at 10133 South Halsted Street in Chicago, Illinois was designed and built by Mr. Lafayette Gatling, Sr. The Gatling’s Chapel, Inc., employs in excess of 100 people.
Mr. & Mrs. Gatling, Sr., have three children who are following in their footsteps: their one and only son, Lafayette Gatling, Jr. (Dina) and their two daughters: Shirl Gatling Lacy (Lewis) and Marquita Gatling Johnson (Maurice). They also have four grandsons: Aaron, Lafayette III, Dominic I. and Donovan A. Gatling, two granddaughters: Lyric Amani and Melody Iman Gatling Johnson.
On October 15, 1994, the vision expanded. The Gatling’s purchased 482 acres of land located in Country Club Hills, Illinois. This was the largest track of undeveloped land left in Cook County and when completed, it will be the largest minority owned development in the world.
This property is strategically bordered by Interstate 57 on the northwest quadrant, bordered by the south side of 167th Street on the north, bordered by the west side Crawford Avenue on the east side of Cicero Avenue on the west, and bordered by the north side of 175th Street and interstate 80 on the south.
In May 2006 a second location was opened at 1200 E. 162nd Street, South Holland, Illinois, to better serve the South Suburban Communities.
Once again, the Gatlings through their efforts to share are opening up an opportunity for you to be included in this phenomenal history making vision.
The Gatling Family continues to forge ahead and accept the awesome challenge of serving people.
Your prayers, patronage and best wishes are appreciated.