Published July 7, 2005
Rev. William F. Doverspike, Sr. was born on Christmas morning in 1926, and he was buried on Memorial Day afternoon in 2005. He had his first child in 1951, and many times I remember my father saying, “Life is lived in chapters. It is best lived when it is lived forward, but it is best understood when it is viewed backward.”
My father died the way he lived – with gratitude and prayer. A physical therapist, who helped him walk his last steps, said that he thanked each hospital staff member who came into his room.
The nurse, who last washed his feet when he could walk no more, called me on the weekend of the funeral to thank me for the book my father had given her. She told me that he prayed for her, at her request, on the morning before he died that evening.
He had six children, twelve grandchildren, and a wonderful wife of 55 years. He was the one with five churches where for over 50 years he performed literally hundreds of weddings and funerals, and many, many baptisms – the last of which was only a few months ago – for his youngest grandchild.
Pastor Doverspike, as most of his members knew him, was a family man before and after he was a pastor. But he had two families – the one at home and the one at church. I remember his heartaches after hospital visits, and I remember the members whose hearts he loved so dearly.
When my father was planning to retire from his last church, I really thought he would have a difficult time making the transition from being a pastor to becoming a parishioner. But I was wrong!
His retirement years were the happiest I ever saw him in his entire career. And it was not just because he didn’t have to deal with deacons any more. He became a deacon. He also became a Sunday School teacher, and he loved teaching as much as he had loved preaching. Dur-ing his retirement, he ministered to as many people standing in the back of the church as he had reached earlier in his ministry when standing in the front of the church.
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