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Willis Shepard

4/26/30 to 3/8/14
It seems like yesterday that the Grays arrived in Longview,
For the 1980’s now seem like a lifetime ago from hindsight’s view.
You see, LBT had called their husband and dad to be the preacher,
One of those who helped them move in was a faithful Sunday school
His name, Willis Shepard, he was a quiet unassuming servant of our LORD,
Later, he would become the Chairman of the Board.
Six months into my pastorate here,
A church split took place and brought with it fear.
Willis came to the office to give me inspiration,
As he hugged me, he challenged me to not quit and bathed it in
I saw the strength in his eyes and borrowed that strength to go on
for the LORD
For Willis was cheering his pastor on, acting like a real Chairman of
the Board.
The first six months for this new pastor were tumultuous, to put it
The altars were full and the baptistery was busy with converts weekly.
The board was not sympathetic to the Bible standards or the soul
When the resignations started to flow in, one stood tall from the
His name was Willis Shepard, who liked this winning of the lost to the
He soon was voted in as Chairman of the Board.
When things were rough and the wolf was at the door,
We had no idea if LBT would go back to being spiritually poor.
Several hundred left and went across town to found a church,
The Shepard family stayed, refusing to leave LBT in a lurch.
This man, Willis Shepard, a servant of decades to our LORD,
Now he was voted in as Chairman of the Board.
It seems like just yesterday he rang our door bell,
Asking, “Is Scott here? I would like to wish him well.”

You see Willis was his 4th grade Sunday school teacher,
‘Tis a pearl of great price in the field that made him a constant
This lasted for 4 decades of service as Sunday school teacher for our
This was the biggest reason he was elected Chairman of the Board.
He patiently and silently worked on our appliances without pay,
To make sure there would be a washer and dryer for Mrs. Gray.
His soft-spoken words were not a sign of weakness, but of meekness,
He was always there for those in need, even in times of sickness.
His life’s work can be summed up in that of the trowel and the Sword,
Thus, he earned the right to be the Chairman of the Board.
My mind’s eye sees the children sitting in the car’s back seat,
With Mom and Dad in the front, never missing a beat.
Mom and Dad for decades faithfully teaching youngsters the Word of God,
Today their bodies are laid together at rest under the sod.
While yet living together again in Heaven because of the LORD,
My admiration today is magnified for the Chairman of the Board.
As I close my eyes I can see the family sitting together in church,
I can see Willis and Rose going to their Sunday school perch.
In my mind’s eye I see them at the altar,
Standing, waiting, and kneeling next to those who falter.
Now in Heaven they rest from their labors without being bored
For Willis Shepard labored here as Chairman of the Board.
Dr. Jack Hyles led Willis Shepard to Jesus Christ;
From the very first he was a fundamentalist, never selling out for any
For Willis Shepard stood tall in his spiritual saddle
As he grew and settled in knowing he would have to battle.
He refused to be detoured or distracted from his LORD
So we trusted him to be a Chairman of the Board.
Word came last night of Willis Shepard’s homegoing,
He & Rose were stalwarts as servants of the Word they were always
‘Tis surreal at a time of loss, the thoughts that flood one’s mind.
Willis and Rose went home, for us too soon, to be with the LORD at His
They together are worshipping in Heaven their dear LORD,
Perhaps discussing his service as our Chairman of the Board.
His years have come and gone like a vapor;
His life as husband and Dad are forever something to savor.
Four decades of service for our LORD cannot be ignored,
Those works will be revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ & there
He served well our church, our country and our LORD,
And served with that same staunchness as Chairman of the Board
The loss is great for us, but gain for him,
Now Willis with Rose in Heaven are peering down over its’ rim.
For last Saturday night his pain-ridden body gave way for Heavenly
Today in Heaven he rests with no diseased body as his story.
3 decades on earth I served with him and he deserves to rest in the
Within our struggles he supported his pastor as Chairman of the Board.
Tears abound for our loss here on earth,
Yet joy abounds in Heaven because of the second birth.
We wrestle with our emotions of loss here,
Though in Heaven there is rejoicing with nary a tear.
For the worshipping is pure in Heaven for our LORD,
So it is with our Chairman of the Board.
It’s been 4 decades and LBT has been truly blessed as a soul winning
It was Willis Shepard who helped LBT reach 1 million souls with
His absence on earth will surely be missed, for he kept us from being adrift;
Yes, ‘twas that stately manner of Willis and Rose that gave LBT an extra
Now in the arms of loving family and friends in the presence of our
We salute our long-time friend, the Chairman of the Board,
Dr. Bob Gray Sr.

Ps. 84:11

The funeral for our beloved friend will be conducted at Longview Baptist Temple on Friday March 14, 2014 at 2 pm.

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