Lois and Bill Williams: Giving as a way of making the ordinary extraordinary
The great Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once said, “It takes three things to attain a sense of significant being: God, a soul and a moment. And the three are always there.”
For Lois and Leon “Bill” Jackson, the wisdom of Rabbi Heschel is lived out in faithfulness to each other, to their church and family, and to the causes they’ve cared about. Their mutual love blossomed into multiple blessings on the people and organizations around them. Together, they made the ordinary extraordinary.
Lois died in October of 2019, but now Bill (as his friends and family call him), motivated by her habit of joyful giving, continues her legacy. Among the many organizations that have benefited from their generosity is LSTC. They were consistent annual donors since well before the electronic giving records at LSTC began, and as a gesture of continuing that legacy of giving, they included LSTC in their estate plans. It is symbolic of their broader commitment to faithful generosity.
Bill served in the navy in World War II. Upon his return, he joined many others who came back to the United States hoping to find a life partner. Though he went searching high and low, Bill couldn’t find the right person. So he prayed. Bill asked for a woman who, in his words, “Loved the Lord.”
Then, Bill says, “God gave me Lois.”
Symbolizing a value they would carry well into old age, Bill and Lois began a journey of faithful service—first to each other. And that faithfulness unfolded year after year into gifts for others. Their four children (Barbara, Bruce, Doug and Katherine) enjoyed the security of loving parents. Their church (Trinity Lutheran in Kirkwood, Mo.) was blessed with the happy presence of two dedicated volunteers. And LSTC, like the many organizations they support, benefited.
Lois served on the Women of the ELCA board, helped organize the annual Scandinavian smorgasbord at their church, volunteered on the prayer chain, taught Sunday school, and joined fellow parishioners as an OWL (Older Wiser Lutheran!). She started a quilting group that is still active today. In the workplace, Bill was a dedicated engineer for more than 40 years, illustrating his commitment to longevity and faithfulness.
Bill and Lois give to LSTC because it is a place where their values as faithful Lutherans are continued in the students who will one day become church leaders. Their impact on the future did not occur through a single event. There has not been much fanfare. In many ways, Bill and Lois’s giving was incredibly ordinary. But it is not an overstatement to say that without consistent generosity of supporters like Bill and Lois, LSTC would not be able to train future leaders.
They made the ordinary extraordinary. They found what Heschel called “significant being.” They loved their God in the very depths of their souls. And their consistent, soul-filled love was returned in infinite moments of God’s very presence—a presence they will pass on to others well beyond their moments on earth.
(Published in the Fall 2021 issue of the Epistle magazine; written by Bill Myatt)