Vol. 1 - No. 12

November, 1982

The Passing of Bill Wallace -

A Great Man

by Leon Odom

Many of the readers did not know Bill Wallace -- many did. Those who really knew him, will agree that he was a great man in the kingdom of God. Probably a few would disagree, but remember the words of the Lord, “beware when all men speak well of you.”

Brother Wallace was born October 4, 1919, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and grew up in Cisco, Texas. When he was just a little boy he “fell in love” with a little girl named Noma King. This must have been more than “puppy love” for later on in his life he married Noma who was his faithful and dedicated wife until the very moment he passed from this life. She taught him the truth both by word and example and he became a Christian. In his service to the Master, he was one of the most dedicated men I have known in all my years of preaching the gospel.

For thirty years Bill served three different churches in the Permian Basin as an elder. For the past ten years he was an elder here at the Cuthbert and Austin Streets congregation in Midland. Even though he had been seriously ill for the past several years he was faithful to his charge. His last act as an elder was his agreement to discipline one of the unruly members, and that was only a few days before he passed away. He showed no respect of persons when it came to keeping the church pure from error and immorality. To say that the church in Midland lost a great soldier is an understatement, to be sure.

Other than his faithful service to Jesus Christ and His righteous cause, Bill was a “man's man.” He appeared many times in his manner of speech to be gruff and extremely straightforward in his approach. You never had to guess or wonder what he believed about anything, religiously speaking or otherwise. He was the kind of man that when you walked into his presence you felt a sense of authority. And, for the most part, most people felt comfortable with it because they knew his love for the truth and the cause of Christ, so they trusted his wisdom and his judgment. In spite of that, Wade Gamblin and I, serving with him in the eldership, have seen him walk down the hall, after a decision had been made to disfellowship the ungodly -- or ,on one occasion when someone spoke to him in a hateful and disrespectful manner, and weep. He was likewise a man of tender heart. But in all, Wallace would not bend, much less break. Friends, I loved Bill as a man, as a Christian, and as a faithful bishop in the family of God. I will always miss him.

Brother Wallace had contacted a very serious lung condition (he was not a smoker) which caused him to depend on oxygen for several years. His last few years were extremely frustrating and hard on him. He was in and out of the hospital for several years and each time there would be times when we thought he would never make it through the night. But the strength he had as a man caused his body to respond to his will and he would “come back” only to have to go through it all again in a few weeks. But this last trip was too much for his weakened body. It had struggled so long and so hard until it was impossible to fight any longer. So on Wednesday, November 10th, shortly after the noon hour, his spirit left quietly from his earthly house of clay and his dying was much more easy than his living.

To Noma Wallace, a great woman, and to her three sons, I, along with a host of preaching brethren who knew Bill and loved him, extend our sympathy in this hour of grief. And as we shall continue to reflect on the memory of this fallen warrior, we share the inspired thought, “Blessed in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”