|After serving the Lord in a full day of services in Bogalusa on Sunday, September 23, 1972, William R. Irving, Jr., then drove to a Baton Rouge hospital to visit his beloved wife who had broken her hip in an accident the past week. While visiting his wife, at 10:45 o’clock late that Sunday evening, Bill suffered an acute cardiac arrest and entered into life immortal.
Bill Irving is survived by his wife, Virginia; a son, William R. Irving II or Baton Rouge; three daughters, Elsie Braswell of Dallas, Jeanie Mendell of Baton Rouge, and Deanie Irving of Baton Rouge; and two grandchildren, Jenifer Braswell and Gwen Mendell.
Memorial services were conducted for the pastor of Elizabeth Sullivan Memorial United Methodist Church in Bogalusa by Bishop Finis A. Crutchfield, assisted by Reverend William P. Fraser and Reverend James J. Caraway. Before burial in Baton Rouge, services were also held at Ingleside United Methodist Church conducted by Reverend Robert Crichlow and Reverend Frank E. Dement, Superintendent of the Meridian District of the Mississippi Conference and life-time friend of Bill and his family.
Bill Irving was born in Ackerman, Mississippi, on August 5, 1914, and lived most of his childhood and youth in Electric Mills, Mississippi. In 1933 Bill married Virginia Hare from Scooba, Mississippi, and six years later he “answered the call to preach.” This was followed by the long road of his college education, military service, and seminary training.
Bill received his first charge in 1940 while still at Millsaps College. The charge had five churches and Bill said laughingly, “The Conference sure does have a lot of confidence in me to give me five churches while I go to school.” During this period the Irvings were blessed with two children, Billy and Elsie. In 1944 Bill was inducted into the army as a chaplain and served in both theatres of operation, Europe and the Pacific, until 1946.
In 1947 Bill entered Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. While at Perkins the Irvings were appointed to Rodessa, Louisiana, and the twins, Deanie and Jeanie, were born to complete the family.
After receiving the B.D. degree from Perkins, Bill served the following churches in the Louisiana Conference: Jackson, 1949-52; Ingleside, Baton Rouge, 1952-59; Mansfield, 1959-63; Covington, 1963-70; and Elizabeth Sullivan Memorial, Bogalusa, from 1970 until his death.
Bill and Virginia had celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary the Sunday before his death. The family was all there and after the church service was over that night, Bill said to Virginia, “This is the end of a perfect day.”
Bill Irving loved the Lord, his family, his church, and the Louisiana Conference which was his home. He will be keenly missed because he was dearly loved by the people he served and by his fellow ministers of the Louisiana Conference.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1974; p. 147 By James J. Caraway|