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