Ward Wilson died Sunday with a smile on his face doing something he loved.
About 8:30 a.m., his wife, Marti, found Wilson sitting at his desk with his bible open preparing his message for Sunday morning services. At first she thought he had fallen into a peaceful sleep, but instead he died of an apparent heart attack.
Wilson, 63, who was pastor of First United Methodist Church in Williamsburg and Pleasant View Methodist Church, will be laid to rest Thursday
“He was a very fun loving individual. I don’t think you could find a more Godly person. In his ministry here, he not only touched our two churches greatly, but the whole community,” said Mike Owens, a member of Wilson’s congregation and a pallbearer for his funeral.
“There are so many stories coming out now that some of us weren’t even aware of, not even his wife. People of other denominations were affected by this man that he helped that we didn’t know about.”
After church members learned of Wilson’s passing Sunday, Owens said they held a joint service in Williamsburg that was attended not only by the local Methodist congregation, but also by people from local Baptist and catholic churches.
“They all gave testimony of how he had affected them,” Owens said.
One story came from a man, whose infant son had to undergo heart surgery in Lexington last year. The man, who attends a local Baptist church, met Wilson on the street one day and asked him to pray for his son.
At 5:30 a.m. in the waiting area of a Lexington hospital, the man saw Wilson walking into the room, and assumed that one of his church members was also having surgery there, but that wasn’t the case.
“Ward showed up there for him, even though he was not part of our congregation. He was in Lexington at 5:30 a.m. to help him and his wife through that trying time,” Owens noted.
“There are so many stories like that coming out that none of us, not even his wife, had been aware of. How he had helped so many people that were not even part of his churches.”
Dr. Bob Dunston, who lived across the street from Wilson for nearly eight years, remembers Wilson as a man, who loved life and laughter.
“It is just hard for me or my wife to picture Ward without a smile,” Dunston said noting that Wilson usually had a glint in his eye that made you wonder if he was up to something.
On the more serious side of Wilson was a man, who you knew was focused on you, when he spoke to you. Wilson was also a man that loved God, his community, and his church, Dunston added.
“He was just a sterling representative of the joy of Christ,” Dunston said.
Wilson’s impact on the community likely won’t end with his death.
“Ward had this passion, this vision, to try in some way to change things in our community,” Owens said. “There is this darkness out there. Children are faced with drugs and so many different things on a daily basis.”
Wilson approached the finance committee at the Williamsburg church within the last two weeks about funding a community outreach program, Owens added.
The program would give $20,000 annually, and 20 hours of volunteer work each week to a deserving organization that helps children. Church officials will take applications, but aren’t sure exactly what group will receive the money and volunteer work.
“We are hoping that with our church doing that, other churches will follow suit,” Owens said noting that a lady from a Catholic Church told him Sunday that they planned to follow suit.
“It was almost like he had gotten something accomplished that he had been envisioning for two years. Now that it had taken form, he was complete. Two days later, he passed on.”
In addition to serving as a pastor, Wilson also served as President of the Williamsburg Ministerial Association, and held a weekly prayer ministry at Independence House in Corbin.
He was an active minister for 25 years, a member of the District Superintendents Committee, served on the Conference Board of Ordained Ministers and on the Refuge Ridge Advisory Board.
Visitation will be held from 4 – 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Pleasant United Methodist Church.
His body will lie in state at First United Methodist Church in Williamsburg from 9 a.m. Thursday until the funeral hour. A celebration of Wilson’s life will be held at 11 a.m. at the Williamsburg church.
His funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at Grace on the Hill United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in the Davis Addition of the Highland Park Cemetery in Williamsburg.
Ellison Funeral Home in Williamsburg is in charge of arrangements.
- Public Records
- Contact Us
- Subscribe Now!
- Community Directory