Pastors' Memoirs

Joseph M. Willard, Jr., 1922-1998

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  Joseph M. Willard, Jr. was the oldest of four children born to Joseph M. and Elizabeth L. Willard on April 3, 1922, in Newport News, Virginia.

  Joe was active in Riverview United Methodist Church in Rescue, Virginia. In 1977, the pastor became ill and Joe filled in until June 1978, when he was appointed as a local pastor to the Mecklenburg Charge in the Petersburg District.

  Also in 1978, Joe met Katherine Wray, a member of the Mecklenburg Charge, and they were married December 24th. It was a wonderful shared ministry together.

  Joe completed his courses of study at Duke University and earned his associate degree at Ferrum College, all of the time continuing to serve his appointed churches. Joe was ordained associate member in the conference in June 1986.

  In addition to the Mecklenburg Charge, Joe served Gary’s, Floyd Parish, and Pamplin Charge. After a few months in retirement, Joe was called to serve Nottoway Charge, Glenwood Charge, and Boydton Charge. Joe still missed that call to preach and was called out of retirement a third time to serve Brodnax Charge in July 1992 until June 1996.

  Like everything else that came to Joe’s life, he fought the good fight and won the victory over cancer.

  Joe’s love for preaching brought him to Providence United Methodist Church in July 1998, until his peaceful death at his home in Bracey, Virginia, on November 9, 1998,

  Joe’s interests were preaching, gospel singing and anything else pertaining to the Lord’s work.

  Joe will be long remembered for his style of Gospel preaching and the love he shared with the people he served.

  His Service of Death and Resurrection was celebrated by his superintendent, the Rev. Anthony Layman, the Rev. A. D. Goodson, the Rev. James Edmonds and Heath Lewis, a nephew to his wife, who gave a very moving and stirring eulogy that made us all understand the impact Joe had made on his life as well as others.

  The hymn, "He Touched Me," was evident in many lives that Joe touched, and after he had felt that special touch from Christ.

— Katherine Willard



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