I grew up at Cornerstone Church of Grove, almost literally. It was my home church for about 21 years and for most of that time, Bill Lay was pastor. I was dedicated and baptized by Pastor Bill Lay. He supported several of my mission trips, encouraged my worship leading, and had special lunches with me where he counseled and mentored me as a teenager. Often, I was rebellious against such a structured and organized leadership, but I always loved and respected him as my pastor. I remember one time he caught me barefoot in the sanctuary and said, “Son, somehow I think if Jesus was here now he’d have His shoes off too!” I know he said that in spite of being a little frustrated with my non-conformity, but he was always encouraging and kind every time I saw him. I also remember the Men’s Meetings where we had great dinners and learned from God’s Word together. He was a good teacher and encourager. Our church has shared several wonderful memories and some challenging seasons as well. But what I carry with me from Pastor Bill’s legacy is most of all this: to be a man of love, acceptance, and forgiveness. I think it may have been his wife Janet who came up with that motto, but Pastor Bill brought it depth and discipline. Though just a man, he was a good man and a man who imparted more into me than I may yet realize. I have missed him and his family and my home church and am sad that I didn’t get to see him one more time before his passing. But I am overjoyed because I’m confident he has quite a reward in heaven from blessing and serving so many lives on earth. Besides, what greater joy is there than being at Jesus’ side forever.
Please be praying for Janet, his wife, and his family and friends and congregation. Below is the obituary for Pastor Bill Lay, who I’ll always remember affectionately as my pastor.
Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 11:50 am on GrandLakeNews.com
Rev. Bill Lay, passed away at the Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa, Okla., on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 at the age of 78.
Bill was born on January 2, 1934 in Stroud, Okla. He was the son of the late Georgana (Place) Jackson. At the age of 9, Bill moved to Tulsa where he completed his high school education at Tulsa Central High in 1951. During his high school years, Bill met Janet Sparkman. Bill went to work for the “NPC” which is now known as the Tulsa World, after high school. Bill started out in the pressroom and through the years worked his way up to production coordinator. During his years at the Tulsa World Bill even attended University of Tulsa for several semesters.
On Feb. 28, 1953 Bill married Janet and to this union they had four boys and 60 years of marriage. After Bill left the newspaper he and Janet started the Counseling Center at Victory Christian Center serving as the associate pastor and on the founding board of the church. Through their years at Victory Christian they traveled to various churches offering marriage and family seminars. One of those trips took them to Cornerstone Church in Grove, Okla., leading to their being asked to serve as pastors. They accepted the position and moved to Grove in 1990. While pastoring Cornerstone Church, Bill guided the church through 3 major building programs, with the last one being an 800-1000 seat auditorium located at 501 E. 13th street in Grove, now known as First Baptist Church.
Throughout Bill’s life he owned several businesses including Curley Electric Motor Services in Tulsa, various rental properties and enjoyed building and refurbishing homes. He was an avid Sooner football fan from his youth. But Pastor Bill Lay will be most remembered as a “builder of people.” He was a man of great vision.
He was preceded in death by his mother.
He is survived by his wife Janet of the home; four sons: Mike Lay and wife Debby of Jenks, Okla., Tom Lay and wife Pam of Broken Arrow, Okla., Jim Lay of Tulsa, Okla., and Bryan Lay of Grove, Okla.; five grandchildren: Shawn Lay and wife Christie, Amy Cosgrove and husband Tyler, Matthew Lay and wife Michelle, Angela Lay, and Stacy Whitworth and husband Michael; five great grandchildren: Logan Whitworth, Ethan Lay, Levi Whitworth, Quintin and Adelaide Cosgrove; and numerous other relatives and friends.
The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m., on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, at the First Baptist Church with Rev. Jim King and the Rev. Bill Mickler, presiding. The burial will follow at 3 p.m at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Tulsa, Okla.. The family will greet friends from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012 at the Worley-Luginbuel Funeral Home in Grove, Okla. Arrangements are under the direction of Worley-Luginbuel Funeral Home, Grove, Okla. Friends and family may leave notes of encouragement by viewing Bill’s Book of Memories at www.honoringmemories.com.
Memorial contributions may be made to Faith Family Ministries Outreach Memorial Fund, c/o Grand Savings Bank, P.O. Box 451809, Grove, Okla. 74345-1809.