To Pastor Bill,
You became a source of comfort and guidance to me and Chris throughout our engagement. Before that, you were a voice of reason and love when my dad died.
Our family knew you since the early 2000s, and I’m thankful you came into our lives. You oversaw the proceedings at our mom’s funeral, and you were the one we turned to when it was our dad’s turn to go. I can still remember you talking to me before my dad’s service, allowing me to grieve and giving me guidance about the next year of my life. I’ll be forever thankful to you for that, but then you became so much more.
When Chris and I were deciding who would preside over our wedding ceremony, we mulled over a few options, but none felt quite right. We talked about you and I wanted him to meet you in person. The second the idea took hold, I knew you were the one who was supposed to marry us. You’d become so special to me when my dad died. The simple guidance and comfort you gave me was something I’d forever hold in my heart.
When Chris and I first came to you in Blue Diamond for pre-marital counseling and introductions, I cried in your arms. I was sorry, but you understood. The last time we’d seen each other was Dad’s funeral, and the emotions came running back. You were patient and talked to me and Chris about our marriage plans, life goals and our relationship. We left laughing and feeling as if a huge weight had been lifted off. Chris agreed – you were our guy, and we’d already become thankful for your wisdom.
We met you a few other times, and each one was a day to remember. We’d drink Coke, talk about cool pens and pre-marital issues, then conversation would turn to other topics like emergency preparedness. (You’d be so proud of us now.) Every time we left, we lingered longer and longer before waving to you while you stood waving to us with your RV parked in the background.
The Big Day came and just seeing you calmed my nerves a bit. I was so nervous, and you saw that. You prayed with me and gave me a sense of peace, then you took Chris under your wing. We loved the ceremony, and as always, you were amazing. You blended just the right amount of humor with the seriousness of two people asking to join their lives together. You showed us the way, and it was up to us to take it from there. After the ceremony, you came down to the lake and took both of our hands. You put Chris’ on top and said it was the last time he’d ever have the upper hand. We laughed and laughed, and there’s even a picture to commemorate the moment. It’s the last memory I really have of you, because after that we finished up our photo session and the reception began, sweeping us up in the wedding whirlwind.
We knew you had cancer, but you were Ironman to us. When my sister told me you’d died, it was a surprise even though you were sick. We’d talked off and on about coming to visit your church with its full band. 😉 And we wanted to take you to lunch to touch base. We’ll never forget your stories, the guidance you gave us, or the simple comfort you gave when you knew we needed it most.
Thank you, Pastor Bill. We love you.
This story itself is more about my relationship with him, but he was a great man who gave all to his community and those who needed him. To pass the time he’d take emergency response classes at the Red Cross, and his RV was filled with supplies so he could be ready at a moment’s notice to travel wherever he was needed most. He even had light-up pens that could be used in disaster areas when he was volunteering.
He’d minister to anyone who needed to hear a good word, and was a Marine who never swayed from his beliefs. He presided over Blue Diamond’s Four Square Church for years, and oversaw many weddings and funerals in the Las Vegas area. He’d felt compelled to be a pastor, and didn’t pressure you to conform to his exact belief system, believing instead that people came to believe in things when the time was right. I will miss him.