Reid, William J.


My earliest memory of Bill and Susie Reid go back to a get-together of my family and their family. Bill was leaving for the Army to be a chaplain, and we were saying goodbye for awhile. Through the years, I have known Bill to be a faithful servant of God and a minister that set a pattern of life we could all accept as a role model.
William Jackson Reid was born March 29, 1904, in Bonham, Texas. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma with a BA. in 1931. On August 15, 1931, he married Margaret Ann Wills, known to most of us as “Susie.” Bill’s first appointment was in Lexington, Oklahoma. He transferred to the North Texas Conference in 1934 to attend School of Theology at SMU and received his B.D. degree in 1937. Upon graduation, he moved to the Louisiana Conference serving at Rayville until the beginning of World War II. He was commissioned as Chaplain in the U.S. Army on January 17, 1942, and served in the 82nd Airborne Division until December 25, 1945. At that time, he remained in the Reserve Army and was called back to active duty on September 10, 1950, for the Korean Conflict.
During World War II, Bill was assigned as Chaplain to the 82nd Airborne Division. His first combat jump was during the Sicily campaign as his plane was shot out of the sky. Bill was among those of the 82nd Airborne Division which landed behind enemy lines four hours before the massive Normandy Landing. It was in this campaign that Bill was awarded the Bronze Star for his conduct in action.
Following World War II, Bill returned to Louisiana serving in Amite and DeRidder. He was recalled to active service as Chaplain during the Korean War. He served in Japan and Okinawa.
Bill and Susie returned to Louisiana in 1959. This was a time of great tension in Louisi-ana over the presentation of Civil Rights for all people. To quote the Chaplain presiding during Bill’s funeral service, “Bill was a fighter and a soldier of the Lord. He received and endured considerable opposition and threats for his persistent preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ concerning human rights, human dignity, and a Gospel of love.”
His daughter, Anne Carter, remarks, “The above is right; he sure kept us moving a lot.” His son-in-law, Donald Ray Carter, spoke of him, “He is like a missionary in a foreign land.”
Marisu Fenton, his youngest daughter, spoke on behalf of the family during the funeral service. Some of her thoughts and remembrances expressed were: “His support of the Civil Rights movement during the 60s made him unpopular and our lives often uncomfortable. Yet, even at the darkest moments, Daddy could make us laugh and forget for awhile that hate and injustice seemed overwhelming.”
The children of Bill and Susie are: Anne R. Carter, William M. Reid and Marisu R. Fenton. Churches Bill served in Louisiana are: Rayville, Amite, DeRidder, Plaquemine, Denham Springs, Horsehoe Drive (Alexandria), Berwick, Oakdale, Maplewood and Vivian.
The Reids retired in Mountain Home, Arkansas where Bill served as minister of visitation at the First United Methodist Church. In July 1989, they moved to the Air Force Village II in San Antonio, Texas. There, on January 22, 1991, Bill died.
To quote from remarks by his daughter, Marisu, “So apologies to Frank Capra, let me rewrite and use a line from one of my favorite movies, It’s a Wonderful Life: Here’s to Bill Reid, the richest man in town.”
Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1991, p. 248 By James M. Poole

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