William Campbell "Bill" Gresham, 85, entered into eternal rest Sunday, July 6, 2014.
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A memorial service was held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at Eastern Heights Baptist Church with Pastor Dr. Michael Vallandingham officiating. Military rites were conducted by American Legion Post #105 Honor Guard. Arrangements were under the direction of Walker-Brown Funeral Home.
Bill was born June 2, 1929, to the late William Thornton Gresham and his wife Georgia Campbell Gresham in El Dorado, AR. He graduated from El Dorado High School and Arkansas College (now Lyon College) in Batesville, AR. On his first day at college Bill met Ruth Hodge in the Dining Hall. In those days students were served "family style" which meant always sitting at the same table for each meal. When he saw Ruth at an adjoining table, he quickly changed to be with her. Upon Ruth's graduation they married and she taught in a nearby school until he finished his senior year and graduated with a B.S. degree in Chemistry.
Bill attempted to join the Army just after high school but was turned down because of his vision. However, he was called into the Army in 1952 and served two years at Camp Chaffee in Fort Smith, AR. Upon discharge from the Army, Bill and Ruth relocated to Bartlesville where he began his career. He is a member of American Chemical Society and was employed by National Zinc as Chief Chemist until he retired when the plant was closed.
Bill and Ruth, both dedicated Christians and participants in God's work, found areas of service at Virginia Avenue Baptist Church and later at Eastern Heights Baptist Church. It was there he served as driver of vehicles to pick up senior members for services, to deliver tapes to those unable to attend and to gather the youth for activities. When Bill felt he should no longer be a driver, he helped maintain the buses in proper operating condition and full of gas ready for their next trip. He used his woodworking skill on many missionary trips to help build churches. Also, Bill enjoyed cooking and served in the church kitchen many years, especially at turkey time. His "Chicken on a string" will be remembered by countless Scouts. Bill had two great loves, his wife Ruth and Scouting. His strong belief was that Scouting was an excellent way to teach young boys about the goodness and grace of God. He had become a Boy Scout when he was fourteen and his adult service to Scouting began in 1955 when he became Scoutmaster of Troop 11 which was sponsored by the First Baptist Church in Bartlesville. Two years later, he became Assistant Scoutmaster where he served effectively until retirement. Bill received the Scouters' Award, participated in the Wood Badge experience and received his beads. Active in Scouting's honor camper society, the Order of the Arrow, Bill was selected to receive its highest recognition, The Vigil Honor. Bill received the Silver Beaver Award which acknowledges recognition from the Area Executive Council plus the Good Shepherd Award acknowledging recognition from the Troop's sponsoring church. Upon retirement from leadership, Bill loved his participation at the Scout Shop and the employees there became his dear friends.
Bill is predeceased by his beloved wife, his parents and great nephew Thomas Dimitrious Wood.
Family remaining to cherish his dear memory include his sister Sammie Gresham Graves and husband Tom E. Graves II (Houston, TX); nephew Tom E. Graves III (Memphis, TN); two nieces Gail Graves Wood and husband William D. Wood (Houston, TX) and Martha Hodgesmith (Topeka, KS); three great nieces Amy Hodge Wood and Toni Hodge Scroggins both of Wichita, KS and Julia Campbell Wood (Houston, TX); one great nephew William Nicholas Wood (Houston, TX). Special to Bill are his goddaughter, Hannah Harbour Rummel and her husband Caleb, her brother Hollis Harbour and her parents Lynda and Rod Harbour, all of Bartlesville. Bill enjoyed introducing Lynda as his blessed daughter. Special thanks to those who attended Bill with loving care at The Journey Home hospice. Memorial gifts may be made to Eastern Heights Baptist Church, The Journey Home, Boy Scouts of America or a
. Online condolences for the family can be left at www.walkerbrownfuneralhome.com.
Walker-Brown Funeral Home
4201 Southeast Nowata Road Bartlesville, OK 74006
Published in Examiner-Enterprise from July 8 to Aug. 7, 2014