|If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be; if any man serve me, him will my father honor. John 12:26.
Lee Gray Wilson began his earthly life on September 16, 1910 in Cleveland County, Arkansas, the youngest of ten children born to William Thomas Wilson and Aletha Jane Sanders Wilson. Although he felt the "call" to ministry as a young adult, he often related to family and friends that he "ran" from that call for a number of years, refusing to acknowledge and accept that this was God’s purpose for his life. However, the Lord continued to call, and "Brother Gray" finally surrendered to that call.
He was ordained in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South April 21, 1939. He became a deacon November 12, 1944 and an elder June 10, 1949. He began his pastorates in the North Little Rock Conference, his first appointments to church "circuits" which included Carthage Circuit, Columbia Circuit, Lockesburg, Keith Memorial-Malvern and Grady-Gould. The Grady-Gould pastorate also included chaplaincy of Cummins State Penitentiary. On May 6, 1953, he was received, welcomed, honored and duly recognized as a 32nd Degree Mason.
In 1942, he married Miss Ann Kirkpatrick and they had two daughters, Jane and Jan. In 1952 he and his family were transferred to the Louisiana Conference where he served pastorates at Wisner, Jonesville, Mer Rouge, Lakeview-Minden, Coushatta, Vinton, Logansport and St. Marks, Monroe.
In every church assignment, he and his beloved "Miss Ann" worked together side by side. He knew he could always count on her to do whatever was necessary, no matter the task - even fill in for him in the pulpit on occasion when he was ill because there was no one else on such short notice. They were a team - no matter the circumstances.
In 1977, Brother Gray chose to retire from fulltime ministry and he and Miss Ann moved to Shreveport. However, retirement didn't mean he was finished with the Lord's work. For several years he continued as a retired local pastor, and served at the Belcher and Cross Roads churches.
Our daddy loved people and he never met a stranger. Wherever he went, whether it was the grocery store, barbershop, or shopping mall, if the opportunity presented itself, he ministered to whoever needed it. It just came naturally to him. He loved people, and they responded to him, gravitated to him and loved him.
He was a devoted husband and father. "Miss Ann" preceded him in death in 1997 after a lengthy illness and at that time, he moved from Shreveport to Athens, Texas to be near his daughter, Jan, and her husband Elvin Adair. He soon became a familiar figure in Athens, visiting and ministering to those in the hospital and nursing homes as long as he was able. He was an active participant at Wesley United Methodist Church in Athens and then at Union United Methodist Church where his son-in-law, Elvin Adair, is pastor.
On June 15, 2004, our beloved father, "Brother Gray" peacefully bid farewell to friends and family and went to be with the Lord and his beloved "Miss Ann". He was preceded in death by parents, William Thomas and Aletha Jane Sanders Wilson; brothers, Harvey, John, Sam and Eugene Wilson; sisters, Pearl Hudson, Mary Carter, Margaret West and Helen Pool.
He is survived by his two daughters, Jan Adair and husband Elvin of Athens, Texas; Jane Falgout and husband Kerry of Shreveport; granddaughters Aimee Williams and husband Jeff, and Angela Adair and husband Jared of Athens, Texas; Lisa Clark and husband, Mike, and Kimberly Wilkerson and husband Lance, of Shreveport; step-grandchildren Eric Adair of Athens, Texas; Donnette Chaisson and husband Mark, and Chad Falgout of Houma, Louisiana; great-grandchildren, Rowan Clark, Aric and Luke Wilkerson of Shreveport, and Katelin Willingham of Athens, Texas; step-grandchildren Mark, Matt and Kara Chaisson of Houma, Louisiana; and a host of nieces and nephews.
He will be missed greatly, but he left with us a legacy to be proud of - not of material wealth, but one of steadfast faith and love and the assurance that we will one day be with him and our mother again. Both of us, his daughters are so grateful for the Christian home we were raised in, and the example set by both of our parents. Surely, as our daddy entered God's Kingdom, he was greeted with these words:
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things. I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of the lord." Matthew 25:21.
Jane Wilson Falgout
|Source: 2005 Journal|