William A. “Bill” Harding went home to be with his Lord and Savior on February 9, 2021. Bill was born on April 21, 1936 in Isabel, Kansas to Orval and Mary Ellen Harding who preceded him in death, along with siblings Margaret Ditgen, Bernice Bell, June Wortman, Betty Ryan, and baby Orval Harding, Jr. He was a member of the East Ridge Christian Church where he served as Pastor for several years.
Bill is survived by his devoted wife Linda, their children, Dr. William “Christopher” Harding (Molly) of Houston Texas, Jonathan Harding (Ashton Kate) of Ringgold, Georgia; his children, Debbie Baker (Danny) of Wichita, Kansas, Diane Stiff (Steven) of Houston, Texas, Denise McGrew (Dan) of Wichita, Kansas, Douglas Harding (Tammy) of Grove, Oklahoma, and Darrin Harding (Tina) of Wichita, Kansas, eleven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren; siblings, Mary Ann Martin of Salina, Kansas, Donna Gager of Plainville, Kansas and Robert Harding (Lynn) of Medford, Oregon, nieces, nephews, friends, and faithful companions, Sam and Meow.
Bill’s family moved to Medicine Lodge, Kansas at his age of one where he spent childhood years both in the city and a farm where he developed a good work ethic and leadership qualities. His first job was delivering milk on the back of a truck at age nine and began working summers alongside his dad on an oil rig at 15. Bill was a graduate of Medicine Lodge High School and exceled in athletics achieving All Conference Halfback his senior year and granted a full football scholarship to Northwestern University in Oklahoma.
In 1968, Bill was ordained as a Pastor at the Church of God in Pratt, Kansas, which was followed by graduating from Gulf Coast Bible College in Houston, Texas attaining a B.S. in Christian Education in 1973. He was on the Basketball Team, President of Senior Class, Assistant Campus Pastor, and President of the Student Body in addition to working various jobs. He was also honored to receive the Student Merit and Student Pastor Awards. Bill served as Pastor of churches in Houston, Texas; Coffeyville, Kansas; Des Moines, Iowa, and East Ridge, Tennessee.
Additional vocations during his lifetime involved banking and finance. These included The People’s Bank in Pratt, Kansas, 1st State Bank in Harper, Kansas, President of the Savings and Loan in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, Rooks County Savings and Loan, Santa Fe Credit Union in Hugoton, Kansas and completed his career as Principal Underwriter in Risk Management at BlueCross BlueShield of Chattanooga, Tennessee of 15 years retiring in 2011 at age 75. In retirement, he served as a substitute teacher at Gordon Lee High School in Chickamauga, Georgia. He looked forward to each time they called and was fondly referred to by the students as the “best” and “coolest” substitute ever.
Bill was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, pastor and friend. He loved conversing, sharing his sense of humor, life’s experiences and playing jokes. He never knew a stranger as everyone was important to him and his gifts of smiles and laughter immediately removed sadness from people’s faces. During his lifetime, including years of illness, he demonstrated courage, determination, a competitive spirit, and remained as a source of inspiration, joy, and constant love.
Bill’s legacy will be that a poor, small town boy accomplished more than he could ever have imagined, touched more lives than we’ll ever truly know, and helped the hurting and lost to find their way. His endurance, commitment and unwavering spirit encouraged others’ successes, including times of sacrificing and protecting ones he loved. It is rare when such a bright light shines in our lives and in doing so changes us forever. Our hope is that he knew just what a special role he played. In thoughts to honor him, take time and reach out to someone hurting, say kind and uplifting words, and always greet them with smiles and laughter. One day, we will see him in Heaven; and if you look for him, just listen and you’re certain to hear his beautiful laughter.
Condolences may be shared with the family at www.lane-southcrestchapel.com.
Private services will be held Sunday, February 14, 2021 at 2:00p.m. in the South Crest Chapel with Pastor Jimmy Holman of Liberal, Kansas officiating. Webcasting will be available on the funeral home website.
Interment will follow at Rock Spring Community Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Alz.org or to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at P.O Box 280 Rock Spring, GA 30739.
Arrangements are by the South Crest Chapel of Lane Funeral Home and Crematory, located at the end of historic Missionary Ridge, Rossville, GA.
To send flowers to William's family, please visit our floral store.
Fellowship of Christian Athletes
P.O. Box 280, Rock Spring GA 30739