Pastors' Memoirs

William Lyons Sturtevant, 1918-1997

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Bill Sturtevant was a Christian gentleman and a dear friend for 60 years. We shared our morning devotions together as students at Randolph-Macon College in a room of the college chapel.

William Lyons Sturtevant was born April 19, 1918, the first child of Wilson Wright and Alice Cunningham Sturtevant. He was married to Marie M. Goswick on June 7, 1942. She was a member of his first pastorate, Pinners Point United Methodist Church, Portsmouth. They were married by Dr. William Archer Wright Jr.

They served 11 pastorates in the Virginia conference: Pinners Point, Oaklette, Boykins, Henderson, Oakton, Lane Memorial, Bon Air, Granbery Memorial, Lincolnia, and Grace, Manassas. He served as an Army chaplain in WWII, and he and Marie served as leaders of the Couples Retreat at our Blackstone conference center for 23 years. Bill was an avid sports fan, and was volunteer coach of both basketball and football in Virginia schools.

Bill and Marie had more than 40 years of dedicated ministry, but the most lasting influence may well be their ministry to young couples. They started out with a small number meeting at the Blackstone conference center twice a year. Its mission was to lift up Christ in couples’ relationships. About all their success in this field, they would say, "Give all the glory and credit to the Lord."

Bill was very active in his retirement serving two small churches in the North Carolina conference, near Franklinton, North Carolina, where they lived, caring for Marie’s mother. He was elected a member of the Franklinton school board and served for six years. He was president of the local Lions Club, and he was Volunteer of the Year in the Franklinton city schools for his work with special needs children.

In his retirement he acted in three stage plays with the Louisburg College Players. He could put people at ease by laughing at himself and his humanity. He could tell a story about his bald head and have people in the aisle.

Bill died February 18, 1997. The funeral celebrating his life and dedicated ministry was held at Franklinton United Methodist Church, February 21, by the Revs. Rose Conner, Sidney Stafford, Wayne Parsley, Kraig Faust, and Earl Tyson.

Surviving are his wife, Marie Goswick Sturtevant; son, William L. Sturtevant Jr. of Fredericksburg, Virginia; daughters, Claudia S. Parks of Pulaski, Virginia, and Brenda Clegg of Gahanna, Ohio; sister, Dorothy S. Martindale of Dunedin Beach, Florida; and six grandchildren: Michael, Stephen, John, Timothy, Will and Lindsay.

"But for those who honor the Lord, his love lasts forever, and his goodness endures for all generations. . ."

- Betty Lou and Purnell Bailey



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