Rev. William Leonard (Bill) Bane, Jr., 80, of Stephenville, a minister, went to be with Jesus on Sunday, March 13, 2011, at his residence. Services will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday at Cornerstone Assembly of God with Pastor Ed Dittfurth officiating. Burial will be at the Gardens of Memory Cemetery.

Visitation will be held 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday at Lacy Funeral Home.

Online condolences and memories can be made at www.lacyfuneral.com.

Bill was born on January 31, 1931, to the late William Leonard Bane, Sr., and Lois Lona (Jackson) Bane in Henderson. He married Carol Ann Woodard on February 16, 1957, in Fort Worth. He was a member of First Baptist Church and Cornerstone Assembly of God in Stephenville.

Bill Bane was a rare man that loved the Lord and was compelled to tell his family, friends and acquaintances about Jesus everywhere he went, every day of his life.

His "upbringing" on an East Texas farm in the small community of Laneville gave him a great love for hard work, animals and the country life he loved so much. Yet, he would be content in a large city so long as he was serving people, because he loved people so much.

At the age of 21, he graduated from Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches with a degree in Speech. He then moved to the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth to work on his Masters degree in Religious Education and a Bachelor in Divinity. While attending the seminary, he met Carol Ann Woodard. They were married on February 16, 1957, in Fort Worth. He then graduated in May and accepted the position of BSU (Baptist Student Union) Director in Stephenville, at Tarleton State College from 1957-1971. Bill taught Bible classes, mentored students and took them on numerous trips to Glorietta, NM. He held local missions night for disadvantaged children of Stephenville on Wednesday nights by picking them up in an old church bus and teaching them about Jesus at the BSU center.

He not only loved people, but also loved the idea of serving others through food. In the early 1960's, Bill and Carol bought the Texan Cafe located at the old Washington entrance to the Tarleton campus with the hopes of locating a new Baptist Student Center there. When another location was chosen by the Texas head office, he turned the cafe into apartments and then back into a local restaurant in 1972 called "Son-Joy" (Jesus is the Son that gives us joy!). He was always an entrepreneur and an "idea man." Son Joy Shops included hamburgers with different sauces, 31 flavors of ice cream, mesquite smoked BBQ and a Bible book store section and counseling room, was quite an unusual mixture, but truly reflected who he really was.

At the same time he owned and operated Son-Joy, he began working at Caporal Forging. He worked there in whatever capacity was needed whether operating a machine, cooking/serving hamburgers and bbq or cleaning toilets. He loved people, fellowship, hard work, serving his fellow man, caring for his family, and most of all serving and telling others about his Lord. As Son Joy Shops closed in 1978, Bill never forgot his plan to help the Baptist Student Center build a new building. With the money from the sale of Son-Joy, Bill and Carol were able to give monetarily to help with the purchase of the land for the new center.

His family and many others would say, "He never knew a stranger and would do anything he could to help those around him every day." Some of his many acts of service included: visiting inmates at the local jail, chaplain at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, volunteering as a Hospice Chaplain in Erath County, performing weddings and funerals, pastoring First Baptist Church Clariette for ten years, passing out tracts in Stephenville with Operation Jesus, attending Billy Graham's Campus Crusades for Christ, loaning personal property such as trailers, cookers, equipment, machinery. He fed and helped friends who had become addicted to alcohol taking them groceries, cleaning their apartments and advocating for them with their landlords. He was asked annually to charcoal grill burgers for SFA and Tarleton Baptist Student Union homecomings. He was always teaching by his words and to an even greater extent he taught us by his actions. There are several verses from The Bible that describe his life: Proverbs 19:17 "He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done." Matthew 25:34-36 Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."

In his later years, "Pappa Bill" loved giving tractor rides to his granddaughters, playing cars and also playing ball with the youngest "grands and greats" in his legacy. He loved family get-togethers, sharing food and fellowship. Especially moved by music, he would sing, dance and laugh. He was a fantastic whistler and often whistled a tune in doctor offices and restaurants which cheered those around him. If you said, "Let's go out to eat or go to a garage sale" - he was "there"! Reading and collecting books about his faith, history, jokes, and even recipes gave him many hours of pleasure throughout his life. He was definitely a reader. He always had a "good joke" to tell.

He marveled at the growth of Stephenville every time he took a ride into town. He always introduced himself to strangers and took the time to ask their name and if they knew the Lord, saying "If I don't see you later here, I hope to see you later up there (as he would point toward heaven). His favorite phrases included: "Amen and Hallelujah!" "I Love You" Thank you, I appreciate that" and"Beautiful, Beautiful." In stores, restaurants, doctor offices, hospitals, anywhere he went, as he was being wheel-chaired by one of his family due to his debilitating back pain, "Daddy" always thanked his family for the help no matter how great or small the task. His nature to "share" was evident as he made sure everyone was offered whatever he was eating or drinking. His southern gentlemen's upbringing combined with his servant's heart from the Lord gave us and anyone who met him a unique look at a rare man with real and gentle strength.

Survivors include his wife, Carol Bane of Stephenville; daughters, Lenora Hoag and husband, Kevin, of Stephenville, and Lavonne Tucker and husband, John, of Stephenville; his sister, Mary Lois Clendinning; five granddaughters, Jennifer Martin and husband, Cody, Jessica Hoag, Katie Horn and husband, Daniel, Alexia Tucker, and Mia Tucker; and three great-grandchildren, Aston Martin, Hannah Hoag, and Hunter Horn.

Memorials may be made to the Tarleton Baptist Student Ministry, TSU-BSM, PO Box T-1398, Stephenville, TX 76402, or the Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC) for the Worldwide Children’s Ministry Fund, c/o Cornerstone Assembly of God, PO Box 372, Stephenville, TX 76401.

Published March 15, 2011

Stephenville Empire-Tribune