|A grand salute to one of the grandest of all. Many of our great United Methodist preachers have gone on to meet their rewards including “Whispering Bill” Stegall, one who depended upon his lovely wife and family, teaching his children their word must be “golden.”
William G. “Bill” Stegall was born in Clarksville, Arkansas on February 5, 1908. In 1929 he married Armadie Snow who preceded him in death. Bill passed away on January 13, 1994 in Monroe, Louisiana where a memorial service was held. Interment was in Clarksville, Arkansas. He is survived by four daughters and two sons.
When Bill and I came up we had no public address system and the teachers, whether speech or singing, sent those home whose volume was low. Bill was not backward about speaking loudly. He did not just preach the gospel, however, he lived it.
When he made his retirement speech at Annual Conference, there was that booming voice telling us very loudly of his early days on a charge. This is his story as I remember it: “Money was scarce so churches often paid us in garden food. That year everyone raised corn. One Sunday morning I came into the church yard and a parishioner said, ‘Preacher, stay around after church, I have some corn to give you.’ I said, ‘Now, look here (as he raised his arm shoulder high), I have corn in my living room stacked this high. Just because I bray like a jackass and have ears like a jackass is no sign I eat corn like a jackass.”
This great brother believed in preparing (II Timothy 2:15). As I recall, his daughter mentioned that he recorded his sermons, played them back to himself, sat there and said “Amen” and “Praise God” as they stirred his soul before he preached them to the congregations.
Is what we know and believe of the gospel that great? Praise God for Rev. Stegall.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference 1994, p. 258 By Rev. Homer V. Bailes|