His public voice was widely heard and stirring. What was not overheard, but what I most fondly remember, is the caring private voice.
I remember his breaking voice, choking back tears, as he spoke at the funeral of our son Sandy, who died during heart surgery when he was twenty-one.
There was his caring voice to our younger son Kevin who that week-end was at a Young Life gathering in the mountains. Billy was the one who drove to tell Kevin that his brother had died, took him home for the night, and drove him to Charlotte
Many years later there was the tender voice of an uncle to our Debbie, who had a recurrence of breast cancer and was at Mayo Clinic for tests, dreading that the disease might have spread. Unknown to her Billy was there for a check-up. When she went for her next test he was waiting for her at the end of a long hall. She saw an old man in a wheel chair. Then she recognized her uncle, and threw herself into his arms. Billy, for whom tears never came easily, cried with her, prayed, and held her.
Later at his home, sitting on his bed, she said, “Uncle Billy, I have heard you preach to big crowds. But as far as I am concerned that was the best sermon you ever preached. It was not you on a platform speaking to a crowd, but both of us in our weakness, me so afraid, and you in a wheel chair with no one to observe.”