Joice and I will always remember Bill (and of course Lucille). In fact, anyone who met Bill for any length of time could not forget him.
Our first memory is a very straightforward encounter at a church meeting: Did we have adequate personal support? How could they support us? I had been showing a movie about JAARS, the then aviation and radio arm of SIL, and Bill was obviously interested. As an engineer and amateur pilot, the film had interested him. But he and Lucille went further and invited us to their house to discuss our translation work in Papua New Guinea. That was in 1964 and they have never stopped supporting us.
I recall an instance when I was in the States alone and visited Bill and Lucille. They business was not doing as well as it did later and I knew that they must be struggling to keep up with their missionary commitments. I asked how they were doing it. Bill replied, “I borrow from the bank.” He went on to explain that he was worried about being poor.
No, not worried about being poor because he was a generous person.
Our best memories of Bill are at the cabin in Canada. I can see Bill with his chainsaw as we mowed our way around the peninsula; building benches at strategic lookout points and giving each one a name; working on the dock by moving immense (for us) boulders and rocks from the hillside into the water; piling up brush and raking leaves—where did they all come from? Then feeding the chipmunks by hand and calling them by name; setting up rules that forbid the use of radio, TV, telephone and other things that he went to Canada “to get away from.”
But not his hot water and ham radio—they were at the cabin. Later he even went wild and had a portable keyboard, battery operated or from the generator, but he was careful to mute it for the sake of other cabin inhabitants and wore earphones so that he could listen to his own music.
Many, many nights we played cards and games. In fact, Bill loved games. At the Mall he headed straight for the video arcade and in the car he pulled out his card set that participants used (and everyone had to play) to identify objects and gain points as we traveled.
Bill loved theological discussions and he was quick to question some of our common assumptions about how Christianity should be influencing culture. He had a deep interest in the Kewa people of PNG where we had worked and asked countless questions about their culture. He was always inquisitive and deeply respectful of the cultures of other people.
Bill claimed that he would not have made a good missionary. “I like my things too well,” he said, “and that is why we send you and Joice.” I haven’t heard honesty like that in all Jerusalem.
Bill introduced us to his engineer friends and supported us with their mini-foundation. It was our first start on any sort of retirement plan.
It is difficult to say how much we miss him and loved him. But if there is a project in heaven requiring engineer skills, Bill will be first in line to help.
Karl and Joice Franklin