|Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends… so faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (I Cor. l3:4-8a, 13)
On October 20, 1988 over 500 people crowded into the First United Methodist Church in Bossier City to give thanks to God for the life of William P. Fraser, known to most of his friends as “Brother Bill.” It was a victorious celebration of his life and death.
The Reverend William P. Fraser was born on March 26, 1916 in Many, Louisiana. He felt the call to preach the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ at an early age and enrolled in Centenary College where he received his B.A. degree. He went to Vanderbilt University for his seminary training and then did graduate studies at Yale, where he received his Master’s in Sacred Theology.
Brother Bill met Miss Lottie Maye Hoyt while serving as a counselor at Camp Brewer. They married in 1942 and raised a lovely family. They were blessed with three children--David, Jack and Susan.
During World War II he served with the 100th Infantry Division. He was highly decorated for bravery, receiving the Bronze Star and the Bronze Star Cluster for evacuating wounded soldiers under heavy enemy fire. After the war he joined the faculty at Centenary College, serving as the Head of the Department of Bible and Religion. After nine years at Centenary College, where he taught a large number of today’s active ministers, he felt the call to the pastoral ministry.
Brother Bill served churches in Blanchard; Plaquemine; Homer; Bossier City (First Methodist); Lake Charles (University) and Alexandria (First Methodist). He also served as District Superintendent of the Hammond District, and his last appointment before retiring was as Superintendent of the Methodist Home Hospital in New Orleans. At the time of his death he was serving as the Minister of Visitation at the First United Methodist Church in Bossier City.
Brother Bill was an avid athlete even in his later years. In 1984, at the age of 68, he completed the Crescent City Marathon Classic in New Orleans. A real feat was when he won the city tennis championship in the Over Fifties bracket in New Orleans at the age of 62, and then proceeded to go all the way to the state finals in Baton Rouge. He was also an excellent golfer.
Brother Bill wrote a book entitled Climb the Highest Mountain that was used for many years as a study book for Junior Highs. He closed his book with these words:
There is an opportunity for you to grow into a oneness with God. Jesus illustrates how one’s life can be elevated to a high plane by companionship with the Heavenly Father. In this high and holy association life becomes immeasurably enriched.
When this practice of the presence of God is developed to the point of a regular ruling habit of life, then one is on the mountaintop of life with the Companion of the High Way.
Reverend William P. Fraser was the most holistic person I have ever encountered. He was an intellectual; he was a war hero and he was an athlete, but more important than all of these is the fact that he was the most Christ-like person that I have ever known. The above scripture is a resume of Brother Bill’s life. I say again what I said at his funeral... I preach Christ, but Reverend William P. Fraser has shown him to us.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1989, p.181 By John Lee|