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A Tribute to William (Bill) Carter Bethel
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A Tribute to William (Bill) Carter Bethel

A Dedicated Man and A faithful Passionate Christ-Follower.

William (Bill) Carter Bethel, a dedicated man. Dedicated husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, friend and mentor, and, most of all, a faithful passionate Christ-follower.

Bill Bethel passed away Saturday, October 5th into the presence of his Saviour, face to face.

A Tribute to William (Bill) Carter Bethel Bill’s youngest son, Andy (pictured here with Bill) wrote a beautiful piece in the tribute distributed at the Celebration of Bill’s life on October 17th. In this, Andy tells some things that few knew about his father. For example, Andy describes his father as quite the athlete as a teen when he attended St James Collegiate in Winnipeg. Bill actually set a high jump record!

Andy tells of the transformation that occurred when Bill was in his early 50s. Bill and wife Lorie attended a weeklong conference put on by Bill Gothard. (Gothard is an American Christian minister, speaker, and writer, and the founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles.)

A Tribute to William (Bill) Carter Bethel The week had a profound and lifelong change for Bill and Lorie as they heard the message of Good News and it was then that they both committed their lives to Christ.

Andy writes, “Dad’s life was changed. He was no longer interested in trying to keep up a “successful persona” and instead was committed to developing strong Christian relationships and helping others, especially within the business community.”

His personal story of coming to faith in Jesus in his 50's was always a compelling reminder of God's amazing grace and transformational power.

A Tribute to William (Bill) Carter Bethel
Lorrie and Bill spending time with daughter Kerry and Kerry’s husband Johnathan
A Tribute to William (Bill) Carter Bethel
Bill Sr. and Bill Jr.

“I was one of the very fortunate that Bill chose to mentor and lead me to know the Lord.” tells Rick Vandekieft, publisher of Christian Life in London. “His patience with me finding my way was amazing as our close friendship continued for almost 30 years before I made the decision and made the commitment to the Lord. At the age of 58, I was baptized at Easter in 2014.

Bill is one of my closest friends and certainly one of the most influential people in my life. While I miss him dearly, the positive influence he has on my life will be with me forever.”

Yes, Bill Bethel had tremendous influence on so many and if we had all those who he did influence contribute to this tribute, it would fill not just one book but volumes. We invited some of Bill’s closest friends to speak briefly about their relationship with Bill.

Wes Suchard
I am indeed pleased to be to participate in this tribute to the late William C. Bethel.

It was, indeed, a significant blessing for me to have known and worked for Bill and his family, for more than 40 years, right up to the present time.

Bill and I first met when I was a partner at Coopers and Lybrand Chartered Accountants, and he was in search of an auditor for his companies.

As time went on, we became close friends and spent much time together and sharing some fun things and in prayer and in studying God’s word.

Over the years we, along with our spouses, enjoying times at horse races, theater events, musical events and lots of dinners together. I also played golf with Bill at various charity tournaments.

For many years, we also attended a men’s Bible study group at the Rideout Tavern where many businessmen met on a weekly basis to study God’s word and to share life’s issues. After the Rideout closed, we met at the Youth for Christ meeting facility.

Over these many years, Bill and I regularly shared lunch together, usually at Swiss Chalet. He was a wonderful encourager when I seemed to need it most. I also was in a position to see how he encouraged and supported many other people. If you were a friend or an acquaintance of Bill’s, he made it known that he was there for you anytime you needed him. He was also deeply committed to many charities.

He will indeed be greatly missed, not only by his family, but by many in London and beyond. What we do know is that he is now with the Lord and Savior home he loved and worshiped.

I am thankful for knowing Bill and observing his life of caring for and encouraging others.

Barry Slauenwhite
During my 40+ years in ministry I’ve had many invitations to lunch and I’ve learned there is really no “free lunches.” Most people have an agenda that far out-ways the value of the meal. But this one was different. The invitation was from a local Christian businessman and he did have an agenda - and it was one I found irresistible.

Bill’s agenda was the kingdom of God here in London. That simple! He had nothing to gain and his generosity and passion hooked me. I was a convert on our first lunch meeting. My spirit resonated with his and it was as if God himself tapped me on the shoulder and said, “pay attention...this is me talking through my servant Bill.”

Fast forward dozens of lunches later Bill and I were still strategizing on how we can strengthen unity and impact through the local churches and para church ministries in our great city. I knew that when his hand tilted his glasses downward and he cleared his throat I was about to say “yes” whether I intended to or not. But somehow he made me feel I was agreeing with God himself - not Bill.

Two of the many “yes Bill” statements will always stand out in my mind. The first was when he , with his salesman hat on, strongly suggested I should serve on the CCNL board. The second a few years later when he challenged me to create a mechanism to unify the para church ministries and foster better trust and cooperation with the local churches. From that lunch the “Servant Ministry Network of London” was formed.

I used to joke with Bill that when we met for lunch I had to guard my wallet and my calendar. Both were subject to Bill’s incredible strong influence but always for the kingdom of God. Over the years Bill was like an elder brother to me. He challenged me. Inspired me. And always left me encouraged. His impact on me personally and his legacy to the Christian community of London will only be fully realized in eternity.

Jim West
Bill was aware of how Don, Paul and I were like the three Amigos when it came to fishing. We not only enjoyed the fishing but enjoyed tying flies and making jigs for the times we would go casting or fly fishing.

Bill asked the 3 of us if we would be willing to go with him on a charter on Lake Erie. We agreed and headed out very early on a weekday morning in August about 10 years ago and met up with the charter boat captain.

We set out for a morning of fishing and the skipper told us we were heading for a good spot to catch Pickerel. We were just about to drop our lines when the skipper said to Bill, “The Sheep Head1 have been waiting for you!” We wondered what was going on. It soon became obvious when the first fish caught was by Bill - not a Pickerel but a Sheep Head!

The skipper told us Bill was keeping his reputation intact as he always brought in Sheep Head whenever he took him fishing. True to what the skipper told us; Bill caught mostly Sheep Head while the rest of us were pulling in Pickerel. It would become a source of much fun and laughter whenever the 4 of us got together over the years.

The following year Bill asked the 3 of us if we were up to doing it again. It was a great and funny time as Bill once again was the shepherd of his Sheep, not the barn yard flock, but the flock of fish called appropriately “Sheep Head” and they came calling every time he dropped his line over the side of the boat. Needless to say, we all enjoyed the times when we would get together and the subject of fishing was brought up. We all agreed Bill had the gift of being able to call home his fish flock whenever he went out on the lake.
1 The sheepshead is a fish that grows to 76 cm, but commonly reaches 30 to 50 cm. It is deep and compressed in body shape, with five or six dark bars on the side of the body over a gray background. It has sharp dorsal spines.

Gary Fess
(Bill as a child of God)
Garry Fess is the Lead Pastor of Royal View church as well as the Chairman of the Board for the Christian Churches Network London.

“Bill had such a love for the church, the Body of Christ, in whatever form it was,” says Garry. “He had a love and a passion to bring the church together both for the good of the Kingdom of God, and for its’ expansion.

“Bill would talk about people he knew who were struggling, whether they were in church or in his business, and we would pray for whatever we could do to help. We never had a coffee that Bill’s compassion didn’t come out.

“Bill and I also connected as fathers and grandfathers. He would ask about my family and talk about his own. Bill and Lorie came to my daughter’s wedding and attended the church as a support when I needed them. Bill was a real encouragement.

“Bill modeled gracious and graceful leadership. Even when he passed his leadership (role) and let others take over he would still get together with and support the new leadership.

“Bill was about three things: He had a sense of what God wanted in the nation and in the city, he had a compassion for people, and a deep love for his family. The same passion Bill had to build his business he gave to build the Lord’s Kingdom.”

Jon DeActis
(Bill Bethel as a mentor)
Jon DeActis, the Executive Director of the Salvation Army Centre of Hope knew Bill Bethel Sr. for decades through Bill Bethel Jr., who is Jon’s brother in law. The holiday/special event family relationship took a turn around 10 years ago when Jon was hired to be the director of Quintin Warner House for Mission Services of London.

“It was my first senior management position and I was a little overwhelmed,” Jon says. “I asked Bill if he would mentor me in being a good Christian in the business world. We had a monthly breakfast meeting from then on. Bill gave me a workbook and gave me homework for each meeting!

“Bill’s desire was to help others, to coach, to mentor. Bill was a sound Christian businessman who wanted God’s perspective in what he did, and he applied his faith to every aspect of his life.

“Bill has kept God busy as He has been writing Bill’s life story, but in the end, He came up with an eternal best seller.”

George Zubick
(Bill Bethel as a Christian family man)
George Zubick met Bill “forever ago,” like others at the Wednesday bible study at Zekes. George’s relationship with Bill mainly centered around George’s leadership with the Full Gospel Businessman’s Association and the meetings Bill would sometimes attend. His son, Matthew, counts Andy Bethel as one of his best friends, and got to know Bill through Andy.

“Bill was always pleasant, sharp, and was a presence anywhere he went. He used that presence to further his passion for the ministry which spilled over into every aspect of his life.

“One of the great mysteries in life is when we look up to people and catch them looking up to us,” says George. “I was always surprised that Bill would deal with me like I was something. He wouldn’t hesitate to describe a difficult situation to me and say, ‘What would you do in this situation?’

“I went to a banquet with Nelson Mandela once,” says George. “After the banquet Nelson Mandela went to one corner to greet people and Mrs. Mandela went to another.

“I went to meet Mrs. Mandela, and when I did, I told her, ‘Your husband is two people. One is the giant, the Nobel Prize winner. The other is the little boy. I saw him smiling and clapping like a child for the nurses who were getting awards.’ She smiled at me and nodded. This was the same with Bill Bethel. He was both the giant and the little boy.”

Bob Black
(Bill Bethel as a lay pastor)
Bob Black met Bill around July of 1988 when Bob moved to London to head up Youth for Christ here. Bob also officiated Bill’s funeral. Bob remembers Bill as an encourager. “I met him at the Wednesday morning businessman’s bible study. He was a big man, both in his size and his presence. Bill reaction to me was. ‘What can I do to help?’ Bill wasn’t anticipating failure.

“Bill had two offices. One was his official office at Laser Sales Inc and the other around the corner at Swiss Chalet on Highbury. He and I would meet a half a dozen times a year at his Highbury Avenue office and his question was always, ‘How can we help you to succeed?’

“Bill had a heart for the church in London and for reaching lost people and was always an encourager. He had a listening ear for the pastors in the city, especially for those pastors who were hurting.”

Don Hill
(Bill Bethel as a visionary)
Don Hill knew Bill for over 40 years and was a co-founder of the Christian Churches Network of London. “Bill got Terry Sanderson (then the pastor of North Park Church) and I to go to Oakville in 1997 to hear a guy from Colorado Springs talk about how they had gotten the churches to network down there. That’s where Bill got the idea of the CCNL.

“Bill was a strong, determined, straightforward, solid Christian who helped people out both financially and with advice. His main thing was to get the churches in London together and to get the Gospel out to the city. Bill was a good leader of Christian men.”

Randy Collins
(Bill Bethel as a Christian businessman) Randy Collins is the owner of Hully Gully and for years was one of the most visible figures in the Promise Keepers movement in London, serving for a time as the Chairman of the Board. He knew Bill since the late 1980’s. “Bill and I met at the Wednesday businessman’s bible study that met at Zekes and at the Rideout Tavern.”

“We had a lot in common: We were both entrepreneurs, both ran family businesses, and both were Christians. The most important thing to Bill was his love for the Lord and his desire to serve him. Bill wanted to use his skill set to put a smile on His (the Lords) face.

“What I most appreciated was that Bill was a Godly, no nonsense man with no airs and who could get a lot done in a short period. Our relationship was built on Proverbs 27:17: ‘Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’ My only regret is that we didn’t get to spend more time together.”

In the above noted piece written by Andy Bethel, he concluded with, “When I look back on Dad’s life, I am grateful for the lessons he gave me; from a Christian, family, business and leadership perspective. He lived a great, adventurous life filled with family friends and business success. I know he would say his greatest success, however, was coming to know the Lord and being personally saved. For if he didn’t, he would’ve missed the great path he ended up taking through his amazing life.”