Walter Hawkins died at his home in Ripon over the weekend ... after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Hawkins was a pastor, but was best known as part of "The Edwin Hawkins Singers" ... a gospel group he started with his brother, Edwin.
The group is best known for "oh happy day" -- one of the biggest selling gospel recordings in history. They also created a music and arts fellowship ... with a chapter here in the Central Valley.
The Hawkins brothers spent time in Fresno just a few years ago ... partnering with a West Fresno church to teach aspiring musicians.
The Hawkins Music and Arts Love Fellowship holds a conference once a month at various locations around the Valley.
A viewer informed us on our Facebook page about the local connection to this story.