On the morning of Sunday, May 10, 2020, William M. Stokes, Jr. (Bill) passed away at the age of 95. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 11:00 A.M. at Trinity United Methodist Church, under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home of Ruston.
Bill was born to William and Ada (Laird) Stokes, Sr. in McComb, MS, on January 6, 1925. After graduating from McComb High School in 1942, he attended Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit, MS, for one year. After finishing the year, Bill worked at Camp Van Dorn which was a WWII training and POW camp in Centreville, MS. He then attended Millsaps College in Jackson, MS, graduating in 1948 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He also attended seminary at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 1951.
Bill began his ministry serving churches in different areas in Mississippi including his first church which was located in Harrisville, MS, and his home church, Centenary United Methodist Church, which was located in McComb, MS. After a short time at the Mississippi State University Wesley Foundation and then as a pastor for the Woodville circuit in Woodville, MS, Bill felt the call to come to Louisiana Tech University’s Wesley Foundation.
Bill always had the desire to work with students and he faithfully served the Wesley Foundation at Louisiana Tech University from 1957-1988 while also serving Ansley Union Church as the Methodist minister. While at Wesley, Bill made an incredible impact on the lives of his students. He was wonderful at making everyone feel important and he remembered names and hometowns better than anyone. He loved to greet students at the door and welcome them to “the place to be on the Tech campus”. His loving attitude, charming smile, and his distinct Southern accent will always be cherished by the many students who walked through those doors.
After retirement, Bill served as an interim pastor at Farmerville United Methodist Church and continued to preach on numerous occasions. He was a long-time member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Ruston, LA, where he served faithfully in numerous roles. He had many passions and was always full of life and energy. He loved his family and friends dearly and will be greatly missed and forever remembered by those who knew him. He loved his dogs and had a love for painting. He was an encouragement to all who knew him. He loved to perform wedding ceremonies and baptism ceremonies and most importantly, he had a passion for bringing people to Christ. He has now joined Christ with those who preceded him in death. He was preceded in death by his father, William, and his mother, Ada. He is survived by numerous second and third cousins and countless friends.
There will be a memorial celebration of life service for Bill on a future date at a location to be announced later. There will also be a private graveside service at Hollywood Cemetery in McComb, MS. Services will be prepared by Kilpatrick Funeral Home in Ruston, LA. Memorials may be sent to Trinity United Methodist Church, 1000 Woodward Avenue, Ruston, LA 71270.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.kilpatrickfuneralhomes.com.