Basham Funeral Care - Bakersfield
3312 Niles St.
Bakersfield, CA 93306
(661) 873-8200


1943 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
William James Markham, born January 12, 1943, in Churchill, TN, to George Wells Markham and Mary Stella (Winegar) Markham, the third of four children. Siblings George, Mary Anne, and David Markham.
Bill passed on to glory on October 21, 2016, in Mannheim, Germany, while doing the Lord's work in missions.
Immediately after graduating high school in Knoxville, TN, Bill joined the US Air Force and proudly served our country from 1962 to 1968. He was honorably discharged as an Airman First Class after serving in many wonderful locations, but his all time favorite was Alaska. He had a great story about the earthquake that hit Alaska during his time there and loved to share it with anyone who would listen! His love for planes did not wane after leaving the Air Force such as that he got his commercial pilot's license. This came in handy while serving as a missionary in Brazil. He was able to fly himself and others to remote locations to spread the Gospel.
Bill came to Bakersfield after his discharge from the Air Force and met Bonnie Jean Varner. They were soon married and settled in Bakersfield. Around 1972, Bill gave his life to the Lord and was called to the ministry. In 1974 Bill became the pastor of a small work in Kingsburg. The church had rapid growth, from 12 including his family in 1974 to over 60 when he left in 1980 to join the mission field.
Bill and Bonnie both felt the call to missions in 1978 and in 1980 left the US for Brazil. They ministered there until 1990. Due to their sacrifice and hard work, there are thousands impacted and hearing the Gospel in Brazil. Every work they started is still going strong today!
In 1990, they felt the call to leave Brazil and God sent them to Portugal. Shortly thereafter, due to Bonnie's health, she had to come back to the states and was not able to return with Bill. He told her he would stay with her but she insisted he go because the work was not done. She supported him and the work from a distance. And because of that sacrifice, many thousands more were reached, not only in Portugal, but in all of Europe and the surrounding countries.
Bill is survived by his loving spouse of almost 50 years, Bonnie Jean Markham; Children, John Markham, Tracie Markham, "adopted" son Oscar (Erin) Rodrigues; Grandchildren, Tiffany (Edgar) Camacho, Stephanie (Danny) Zielin, Brittany (Preston) Licklider, Lexie Fields, Allison Fields, Levy Rodrigues, and Lianna Rodrigues ; great-grandchildren, Nick Camacho, Noah Camacho, Carly Camacho, Caleb Camacho, Mason Licklider, Madisen Licklider, Daniel Zielin, Jacob Zielin; Sister-in-law Geri Tyson, followed him Nov. 8th
The family would like to express its thanks and gratitude to Mary Willis Fields for assisting the family with Bonnie's care over the past 20 years. We could not have done this without you.
Service will be held at First Pentecostal Church, 1418 W. Columbus, Bakersfield, 93301, on Tuesday, November 15th at 1pm. Visitation will be held Monday, November 14th from 5-8pm at Basham Funeral Home, 3312 Niles St, Bakersfield, 93306. Private Graveside Burial will take place on Wednesday, November 16th, with Military Honors.
Published in Bakersfield Californian on Nov. 13, 2016
Read More