Thursday, June 9, 2011
York remembered for extra mile
By SUE WATSON
The life of William “Bill” York was celebrated Tuesday, May 31, at services at First United Methodist Church in Holly Springs.
His pastor, Milton Whatley, covered all the bases to make sure that York’s last request was granted – a cool sanctuary, the volume up and the service short.
“Be sure everybody gets out by 12 o’clock,” York told Whatley before his death Saturday, May 28.
York was remembered for giving his best years of life to community, family, and church. The last 10 years he was granted an extension due to successful surgery, and he spent those last years outdoing himself by giving his best to all, Whatley said.
York was kind, he supported his church, his family, and his community, and he didn’t need credit for what he did, Whatley said. In short, York lived a blessed life.
Rev. Doyle Mitchell said he and the community were blessed as the recipient of York’s giving.
“We love him,” he said. “This county has lost a great, great citizen – someone who loved you dearly. We were blessed with the pleasure of being able to walk with one of the great saints. We gather up the fragments of our hearts, making something good out of those broken pieces of what is left behind.”
Whatley spoke of the dignity and love that was present in the hospital room with the family and friends as York said his goodbyes to earth. It was a conversation of love, not of things left to the last minute unsaid. It was spiritually and emotionally healthy and a conversation of love that will continue, the pastor said.
“Tears were there. Tears are normal. Tears are to clear the specks of dust in our eyes and tears are a release valve for our emotions. Real men do cry,” said Whatley. “Jesus wept. If it is OK for Jesus, I could say it is OK for men.”
Humans weep when they help carry the pain of those they love, as Jesus did at the news of the death of his friend Lazarus.
“We adopt the sorrows of others as Jesus adopts the sorrow of others,” Whatley said. “Bill was a real, true friend – trustworthy, like family. They are few and far between.”
He repeated the assurance of Jesus, “I will not leave you comfortless.”
“Ten years ago, Bill should have died and technically he did twice,” said Whatley. “In Bill’s recovery, he knew he had been given the gift of a little more time. A good church man became a better church man. His faith was real. He shared his faith with his wife and kids and grandkids. He used his gifts and his graces; he used them for the kingdom. He was a good churchman and took care of the physical plant. He was a mentor.
“In this world today, there are not enough men who live out their lives the way they should. He loved his kids’ mother. He did what he could to make the community better. He knew this last 10 years was a gift.
“We are challenged by his life and testimony. Even when a precious saint lays down his head, his spirit goes on.”
York was born in Charleston and later moved to Batesville. He graduated from Northwest Mississippi Community College and later took a degree from the University of Mississippi’s Carrier School of Engineering. He worked as an engineer and registered land surveyor and as a construction maintenance engineer with the Mississippi Department of Transportation. York and his wife, Lockie, came to Holly Springs in the late ’50s.
He served on a number of boards including the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority and the board of trustees of First United Methodist Church in Holly Springs.
Bill Mobley, executive director of IDA, said York was a “faithful member of the IDA board of directors for over eight years.”
“He helped raise close to $3 million for improvements to the Holly Springs/Marshall County Airport,” Mobley said. “His professional background as an engineer and surveyor have greatly helped the IDA in all types of endeavors. He contributed countless hours to Marshall County to try to bring industry and jobs into this county. He will be sorely missed by the IDA and by me, personally.”
He was interred at Hill Crest Cemetery in Holly Springs.
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