William R. Valentine

February 20, 2015

William R. Valentine passed peacefully in his sleep on February 20 at the Wesley Manor Retirement Home in Frankfort.
Bill was born in 1922 to W. Russell and Florence Powell Valentine in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. After graduating high school in York, Pennsylvania, he worked as a manager for F.W. Woolworth before being drafted into the Air Force in 1943. Like many in his generation, the experience of World War II changed his life. He decided to become a minister after serving as a chaplain’s assistant in the Air Force, even though he knew “he could never preach.” He attended Dickinson College and received his Masters of Sacred Theology at Boston University in 1953. There he met and married Mona Margaret Johnson, then a nursing student and the daughter of one of his professors. Bill always said the only way he got through seminary was to marry the professor’s daughter. He was ordained an elder in the Methodist Church in 1954.
In spite of his misgivings, Bill became a very accomplished preacher. He served congregations in Wakefield and East Longmeadow, Massachusetts and in Franklin, Speedway, and Frankfort, Indiana. He also served as District Superintendent of the Indianapolis Southeast District of the United Methodist Church for 6 years. He received an honorary doctorate in 1980 from the University of Indianapolis.
Bill was a confirmed pacifist. His sermons centered around peace and social justice rather than personal salvation, positions not always popular with his parishioners. He was an idealist who was more interested in trying to change the world than he was in creating a “comfortable pew.”
After he retired in 1987, Bill and Mona were able to enjoy traveling, one of their many passions. They traveled 6 months of the year in their motor home eventually visiting all 50 states. They served as volunteers at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan. Because of their time in Boston, Bill and Mona were avid Red Sox fans and never passed up a chance to get to a game. They timed their travels so they could take Spring Training in Florida. Bill was an accomplished woodworker and loved making wooden gifts in his workshop for anyone who would have them.

Visitation and Services

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 22, 2015 at Amanda Reid Chapel, Wesley Manor, 1555 N. Main St., Frankfort. A reception will follow the service at the Wesley Manor Social Center. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Good Samaritan Fund at Wesley Manor Retirement Home, Frankfort.

Survived by:

a sister Margaret Anne (Robert) Berry, his son Russell (Chris) Valentine, his daughter Linda Valentine Bryant, grandchildren Matthew (Laura) Bryant, Rachel Valentine and Daniel Valentine, and great-grandchildren Nala and Linley Bryant.

Preceded by:

wife Mona, his sister Janet Louise McCloskey, his grandson Paul Wesley Bryant, and his son-in-law Alan W. Bryant.


Leave your Condolences

12 Condolences for “William R. Valentine”

  1. Gordon and Janice Gill February 24, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    To the Family of Dr. William R. Valentine:
    My husband, Gordon, and I had the pleasure of having Dr. Valentine as our pastor at St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Frankfort, IN. When he arrived I was teaching in our St. Matthew Preschool, having left my position as Speech and Hearing Clinician to have a more flexible work schedule so that I could be home more with my two children. Bill approached me to apply for the position of Church Secretary, working with him in the church office. I had experience with this type of work while going to college so I said I would try it out and see if I preferred this to teaching in the Preschool. So guess what? I worked with Dr. Valentine until his retirement and went on to stay in the position for 19 1/2 years! I always credited Bill with his great work ethic and his mentoring of me. I truly knew how to do my job because of him. Sadly, my husband and I will be in Florida for his memorial service, but we send our love and condolences. We’re so glad we visited him in December before leaving for our trip South. We had a very nice visit. He told us his favorite place to visit was Rocky Mountain National Park, when we told him that we were taking a trip West this summer. He was a wonderful man, preacher and friend.

    • Linda Valentine Bryant February 26, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks so much, Jan. I’m so glad you were able to visit with him recently. I know he thought a lot of you, too!

  2. Ferrel and Baker Family February 24, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    We are so sorry to hear about Dr. Valentine. Sending our deepest sympathy!

  3. Eric February 25, 2015 at 11:59 am

    So sorry so few pacifist’s left toughest part is nowadays no one will turn the other cheek God bless him.

    • Linda Valentine Bryant February 26, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      Thanks, Eric. You are correct. There are far too few pacifists left, but because of my dad’s influence on me I am now a Quaker and go to a Quaker meeting full of pacifists. It is so good to be among F(f)riends!

  4. Peter L Winters MD February 25, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Russell, So sorry to read of your fathers passing. I very much enjoyed seeing your parents over the years. We had so much in common thru the Methodist Church. They knew people my parents knew and your dad went to Boston as did my father. My dad was in 1936 a bit before your dad. Keep his diploma, Boston does not give that one out any more…

    All the best to you and your family,
    Peter Winters

  5. Grant Matthews February 28, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Beautiful tribute to a wonderful, loving man. He was the last of a great era of peace loving ministers in our family, and he will be missed by all who knew him. All my love and prayers are with you in this time. cousin Grant

  6. Herb and Nancy Cassel March 13, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    We write to express our sorrow at Bill’s passing. I was fortunate to be a part of Bill’s congregation at Speedway. Listening to him was a delight, as well as being instructive. He often made me consider things in a different light, and he always made me think. I have remembered his Christmas quotation many times: “From the Star of Divinity to the stable of humanity.” How beautiful! The world is a richer place because Bill Valentine was in it. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

    Herb and Nancy Cassel

    • Linda Valentine Bryant March 17, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      Thank you so much. It is especially nice to hear from long time friends.

  7. Scott Moore March 30, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Dear Russell and Linda,

    Our family lived on Westernview Circle in East Longmeadow during the time of Rev. Valentine’s pastorate at the East Longmeadow United Methodist Church from 1961-1966. Everyone in our family was a devoted member of the church. I sang in the choir and vividly remember Rev. Valentine’s sermons. He left an indelible impression on me and I know on the other members of our family. Please accept my sympathies on his passing, and also on your mother’s passing, of which I was unaware until reading Rev. Valentine’s obituary. I have passed this news on to Betty Cooper, Nancy Heath, and Don Heenan, the other neighbors of Westernview Circle who were there during your time and still live in their homes.

    Lovingly yours,

    Scott Moore

  8. Scott Grabowski May 2, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Dear Russell and Linda;
    My sincere condolences to you on the passing of your Dad. Russell, when your family made that long distance trip, your classmates in Mrs. Russell’s 6th grade class were each given a country to research and write up a report. I was given Thailand, and still remember studying the country while your family was traveling. I remember your Dad’s preaching well, and much appreciate his time at EL United Methodist Church. I’ve been back to my home church in East Longmeadow for awhile now since returning from Boston. Please check out our website, elumc.org, because I believe your Dad started us many years ago (1961-66?) on the path of social justice issues. His handprint still seems to be upon us. You and your families are in my thoughts and prayers.

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