The Rev. Dr. William Miller Waddell, Pastor Emeritus, Trinity Lutheran Church, Hixson, TN, died peacefully surrounded by family on Aug. 18, 2017, at age 90. He was a much loved and respected pastor at Trinity from 1970 to 1989.
Pastor Waddell was born in Nashville on July 18, 1927. At 17 he joined the Navy and served in the Pacific on the LST 1044 until the end of WWII. Following the War, he returned to Nashville and worked in his father's sporting goods business as a manufacturers sales representative. He married Faye McKnight in 1947, the mother of his three children. They were married for 52 years until her death in 1999.
Soon after starting his family, Bill felt a strong calling to the ministry. He completed his undergraduate degree at George Peabody College (now Vanderbilt), and the family moved to Columbia, SC, where he earned his Masters in Theology at Southern Theological Lutheran Seminary. He began work on a doctorate at Columbia Theological Seminary and later was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Newberry College in South Carolina.
Pastor Waddell began his ministry in 1963 as a mission developer and first-called pastor of Living Word Lutheran Church in Memphis. In 1967, he received a call from Redeemer Lutheran Church in Macon, GA, followed by his call to Trinity in Hixson in 1970. He remained here until his retirement in 1989. While at Trinity, he served as Pastor Evangelist for the Lutheran Church in America from 1980-'86. Prior to this he was dean of the West GA Synod district and served on the seminary's examining committee.
In 1990, Pastor Waddell retired to Fairfield Glade, TN. Retirement was short lived. Fairfield Glade did not have a Lutheran Church and since many Lutherans were living in the Glade, Bill and a fellow retired pastor were called in 1990 to organize Christ Lutheran Church. The church was dedicated in 1993 and a year later Bill retired, for a second time, as interim Pastor at Christ Lutheran.
Following his marriage to Mary Carlson in 2002, Bill returned to Chattanooga. During their 15 years together, they relished retirement and traveled to Europe five times, took road trips covering 35 states and spent winter months at the beach on Florida's Gulf Coast. While Bill's passion was to spread the Gospel, he enjoyed playing golf, tennis, running, reading novels, working in the yard, woodworking and watching sporting events.
Pastor Waddell was an inspiration to hundreds and preached about a loving and merciful God. He was committed to the Word and sharing the good news of salvation, a gift to all by grace through faith. This disciple of Christ with his winning personality will be missed by many, but his messages will live on in the hearts of those whose lives he touched in numerous and profound ways.
Bill is survived by his loving and caring wife, Mary; two children, Tim (Brenda) Waddell and Debra Fritts (Frank Shelton); sister, Yavonne Helton Fesmire; six grandchildren and their spouses; nine great grandchildren; extended Smith-Waddell family members; and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition, he is survived by Mary's children, Steve Uchytil and Julie Dobbins (Gordon); grandson, Lukas; and sister in-law, Jean Carlson.
The family is thankful for the many caregivers, especially Dwight Ash who has been dedicated to Bill's care. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Faye; oldest son, William (Billy) Miller Waddell II; sister, Dorothy Nipper (Virgil); and brother, Dean Waddell.
Bill loved his family and cherished his close friendships. During his physically difficult final years, his courage, tenacity, sense of humor, wit, patience and perseverance exemplified what it means to have faith and belief in a Heavenly Father. We celebrate the life of this remarkable man of God.
The family will receive friends on Monday, Aug. 21, from 5 to 8 p.m. and Tuesday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. prior to the service at Trinity Lutheran Church, 5001 Hixson Pike, Hixson, TN 37343.
Funeral services will be at the church on Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 10:30 a.m. with Pastor James Nipper and Pastor Stan Combs officiating. There will be a graveside committal service at Hendersonville Memory Gardens, 353 E Main St, Hendersonville, TN, on Tuesday at 4 p.m. CT.
If desired in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Waddell scholarship fund, Trinity Lutheran Church or charity of choice.
Arrangements are by North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist in Hixson.
Published on August 21, 2017