Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 19, 2018

The Rev. Dr. William (Bill) E. Rathbun

Jan 08, 2018
William (Bill) E. Rathbun -- 1926-2018

The Rev. Dr. William (Bill) E. Rathbun went home to be with his Lord on Friday, Jan. 5, at Jefferson County Health Center, Fairfield, IA. Bill was born to Elmer A. and Mable R. (Buchner) Rathbun on October 19, 1926 in Arkansas City, Kansas. His parents divorced when Bill was 10, and he later moved to Wichita, KS, graduating from Wichita High School North in 1944. After High School, Bill served in the US Navy as an Electronic Technician Mate (WWII).


He married Dorothy Newcomer on June 24, 1949. And they began building their family with Candi, John, and Becky. He instilled in his family, anything is possible through Christ. And, God is too big to think small. Bill graduated from Friends University, Wichita KS in 1954, and with the encouragement of his professors, immediately began ministry in that area.


In 1966, with family in-tow, he graduated from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, KS. In later years, he went on to receive his Doctorate of Ministry Degree from McCormick Seminary of Chicago in 1982.


During his 37 years of pastoral ministry, Bill served four churches in Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, and completed his career working in an executive ministry position with the Mid-American Baptist Churches (MABC), assisting pastors with their ministry needs within Iowa & Minnesota Churches. Bill and Dorothy lived in Fairfield from 1969-79, moved to Des Moines and then returned to Fairfield in 1989, for their retirement years.


He had a special love for children attending Christian camping programs and believed camping was a unique opportunity to share God’s love and impact every child’s life, while experiencing God’s wonderful outdoors. He served on the ministry teams of Forest Lake Baptist Camp and Conference Center, south of Ottumwa, among many other leadership roles. Bill and his wife developed a short-term missionary exchange program to Japan, for young adults. He was active in the First Baptist Church, Fairfield Iowa.


Bill loved to fish, read and create rock channel-work art pieces of wildlife. He was active in bringing the Sac and Fox Lapidary Club to Fairfield and served in positions of leadership. He and Dorothy have traveled internationally and were active in genealogy research.


Bill will be remembered for his deep faith in God, love for his family and friends, quick smile and witty sense of humor, genuine warmth and nonbiased compassion for others, creative talents, savvy game playing skills, creative and artistic skills, and ability to learn and do just about anything he put his mind to. He will be greatly missed by many.


He is survived by his beloved companion and wife, Dorothy, two daughters, Candise, of Delaware, Ohio, Rebecca and her husband Steven Krause of Winnebago, Minnesota, one son, John Rathbun and his wife, Connie, of Fairfield, plus five grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, and nine step-great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents.


The Celebration of Life service will be Saturday, January 20th at 11:00 a.m. at the First Baptist Church, 205 W. Broadway, Fairfield, with Rev. Chuck Comfort officiating, followed by a luncheon. Visitation will be from 9:30-10:45. A private family interment will be at a later Spring date at Evergreen Cemetery, Fairfield.


The family requests for memorial support be directed to Bill’s love for youth and children camping programs. Bill and Dorothy established a special tax-deductible Charitable program for youth camping support. Please make memorials payable to: Renaissance Charitable Foundation. The gifts are welcome at the Celebration of Life service, or may be sent to First Baptist Church, 205 W. Broadway, Fairfield, IA, 52556. Bill’s family will also be making special gifts to Friends University and International Ministries.


On line condolences can be made to the family at: behnerfh.com


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