Reverend Bill Lawson dies at 95

Reverend Bill Lawson dies at 95

With profound sadness and deep appreciation, we share the news of the passing of Reverend William A. Lawson, on May 14, 2024. His unwavering dedication and leadership have left an indelible mark on our community and our hearts.

Throughout his nearly 96 years, Reverend Bill Lawson has exemplified the roles of husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather, alongside his impactful positions as a preacher, professor, and civil rights leader. Reverend Lawson’s influential presence led many to affectionately regard him as “Houston’s Pastor.”

Lawson, born on June 28, 1928, entered the world as the child of William Lawson, Sr. and Clarisse Riggs. However, early in his life, his parents divorced, and at a tender age, he found a new family when he was adopted by his mother’s second husband, Walter Cade. This new arrangement brought Lawson three siblings, Walter Cade, Jr., Catherine, and Joe Williams.

Rev. Lawson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at Tennessee A. & I. State University in Nashville (1950). He returned to Kansas City to attend Central Baptist Theological Seminary, which conferred upon Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees.

While in college, he met Audrey Hoffman. Upon reading one of his letters to girls in her dorm, Hoffman wrote to Lawson. Their nearly two-year courtship through daily letters led to love without meeting. They married on January 30, 1954, and had four children: Melanie, Cheryl, Eric, and Roxanne.

His leadership journey began as the Director of the Baptist Student Union at Texas Southern University, a role that laid the foundation for his lasting impact. It was in 1962 that he established the renowned Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, where he dedicated himself as pastor for an admirable span of 42 years.

Upon his retirement in 2004, the congregation bestowed upon him the esteemed title of Founding Pastor Emeritus, commemorating his exceptional dedication, wisdom, and guidance throughout his exemplary tenure.

Reverend Bill Lawson’s body will lie in state from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Community Service of Celebration will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, 2024 and the Congregational Service of Celebration will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, May 24, 2024. Both services will be held at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, 3826 Wheeler Avenue, Houston, TX 77004.

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