William J. Martin
December 12, 1950 – September 12, 2021
The Rev. Dr. William J. Martin, better known as Pastor Bill, 70, of Richmond, VA, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in his home surrounded by his family.
Bill served as an Associate Pastor at West End Assembly of God in Richmond, VA for 35 years. He started his ministry career as the pastor of Nashua Church of God in Nashua, NH, while also serving as the Regional State Youth Director. He moved to Richmond as the principal of Meadowood Christian School at Meadowood Church of God, before joining the staff of WEAG in 1979. He then worked in the national offices of the Assemblies of God in Springfield, MO. Next, he pastored Flemington Church of God in Flemington, NJ. He returned to Richmond and to the staff of WEAG in 1986, and served in many pastoral roles at WEAG until his retirement.
Bill graduated from Lee University in Cleveland, TN with a BS Ed in 1973. He holds two post-graduate degrees, a Master of Arts from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education and a Doctorate of Ministry from Baptist Theological Seminary, plus a variety of ministerial certifications.
His comedic alter-egos, Father Guido and Luigi Spinelli, entertained many people, especially for church fundraising for another one of his loves, missions. He raised over $50,000 for missions by selling his Father Guido Italian dinners. He traveled domestically and abroad on mission trips and then led Christian teaching trips to Israel for many years. A huge part of his ministry was Christian counseling, especially pre-marital and marital counseling.
Above all, he loved people. His kindness and heart for people were renowned.
Survivors include his wife, Linda Martin; one sister, Terri Wilkins (Earl); three children, Joni Garrison (Keith), Andrew Martin (Kirsten) and Stephen Martin (Elizabeth); a nephew, Jason Palmer; and niece, Jessica Palmer. He had eight beloved grandchildren, Delphie, Will, Ryann, Theo, Chase, Wally, Warren, and Emily. He was preceded in death by his father, Theodore Martin, and his mother, Dorothy Martin.
A funeral service will be held at West End Assembly of God, 401 N Parham Rd, 23229, on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 10 am. A public viewing will be available in the church sanctuary from 9-10 am. Interment will follow in Greenwood Memorial Gardens.
Friends are invited to a Singing & Sharing: Bring your best Bill Martin story. Sunday, Sept. 19 at 2 pm in the Sanctuary at West End Assembly of God.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to West End Assembly of God Missions or to Amedisys Hospice of Richmond, VA.
Patrick and I send our love. Pastor Martin officiated our Wedding 29 years ago. What a wonderful memory to have of blessings and laughter. Our condolences go to Linda and family. Looking forward to seeing Bill whole and healthy with that great smile and quick wit in eternity 💕
Thank you, Dana and Patrick. We appreciate your love and prayers and what both of your families have meant to us throughout the years.
No doubt in all our minds who knew Pastor Bill..God said welcome home My good and faithful servant……there now in the arms of Jesus….with loved ones who are there..and waiting for his loved ones to follow…….God bless all his loving family and especially you Linda his devoted wife and love of his life!!!!!
Thank you, Ann.
Pastor Martin and Flemington Assembly of God changed my life completely. I was introduced to short term mission trips and all my beautiful friends in Richmond. Hugh and I are praying for your family.
Thank you, Sandra. So many good memories!
Bill was so loved. We loved him so much. And now he is healed. Praise God
Thank you, Janet! I am sure John was waiting at the gate with a big smile and pat on the back to welcome Bill! Love you!
Multi talented servant who will be missed by many. Our condolences to Linda and children.
Thank you, Maria. We have many good memories of our families together!
Pastor Bill was such an amazing Pastor , but more than that , he was a loving husband, father, grandfather , brother , friend and teacher. He will be missed but is right now in the arms of his Heavenly Father. What a wonderful testament his life was as a servant and child of God. We will miss getting to celebrate his life with Linda and family and the rest of our WEAG family but will certainly be celebrating in spirit.
Bev & Keith
Thank you, Bev and Keith for your love and prayers. So many years together of love and support!
Sandy and I loved this man so much. His ministry at WEAG was so powerful in every way. His gift of humor was only surpassed be his ability to teach and preach the gospel. He also played a mean fiddle. He will be missed by all who sat under his ministry.
Thank you so much, Jim and Sandy. He loved you both so much!! We appreciate your love and prayers all these years. Much love,
Oh such a powerful affect you , Pastor Bill, had on me and Olya and John. We will never forget his kindness to us. Praise God he is with his God. May we endeavor to follow his wonder example of true Christianity
.I pray you, Linda will be at peace and all your family will be blessed and comforted in this very precious time.
Thank you, Kathy. We so appreciate your love and prayers.
Bill was a force for Christ at every level. Blessings to Linda and family.
Thank you, Paul. Bill loved and admired you so much. We have great memories of our families together.
Trina and I and our whole family have been so blessed by Bill as he served Christ with all he had. He baptized us both, married us and ministered to us as our marriage grew. We will miss his sermons, quick wit and hand on a shoulder. God surely blessed WEAG through Bill!
Thank you, Dennis and Trina, for all that you have done for us throughout this process. Bill loved you both so much.
I will always have fond memories of Pastor Bill and his amusing antics while playing Father Guido. He conducted the best silent Hallelujah chorus I’ve ever seen! He will truly be missed. Our sincerest condolences to Linda and all of the family. Pastor Bill is in a much better place now. Prayers and hugs to the Martin family!
Thank you, Simon. He loved making people laugh! We appreciate your love and prayers.
Even though our time in the National (AG) Sunday School Department came after Bill moved away, we heard many comments about how effective Bill’s ministry was around the world. Bill was unforgettable! We are sad our world has lost such a great person. But we rejoice knowing Bill is hearing our Lord’s words, “Well done, you good & faithful servant!”
Thank you, Ted and Sue. We were sorry to have tag teamed rather than serving together, but the admiration was mutual! Thank you so much for your love and prayers.
Pastor Bill was a wonderful Godly man. He had the best sense of humor and was gifted in so many ways! We will miss him. With love, Ron, Sarah and Melissa Germaine
Ron, Sarah and Melissa: Thank you so much for your love and prayers. I am praying for you as well. I can still see Bill stopping by the pew to make Ron laugh! Much love.
Our loss is SURELY heaven’s gain.
What an example of love, caring and service Pastor Bill left to us all.
Sending love to all the Martin families
Bob and Deb Farlow
Thank you so much, Deb and Bob. So much history together. We love you, too!
The ultimate vision we have right now is the great smile of Bill. As well as his warm, engaging eyes looking down upon his large flock he taught so well. God is able to say to Bill “A job well done”. We will miss you
Love George and Carol Peters
Thank you so much, George and Carol. So many years of friendship behind us! You have been a blessing to us throughout the years.
I have always had a special place in my heart for Bill. Knowing that Bill is now home, I can’t feel sad, but, only happiness and joy.
Prayers and Love to the family
Thank you, Lisa! That means so much! Love you, too.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family
Thank you, Mary-Margaret. That means so much to us! Thank you for attending his service.
Bill will forever occupy a significant influence in my heart & over my life. His impact on my life has been profound & I am forever grateful for the bonds of friendship forged over the years!
While my initial bridges were established a s a pastor trying his best to guide me & “ keep me on the right path…..”, later years proved a deeper bond of intimate friendship through bluegrass music & regular Bible studies we shared around our dining room table. Having the opportunity to share such a close friendship meant the world to me, one he & Linda likely never appreciated. I just loved the mental sparring over The Book, trying to absorb the meaning & intentions for my life.
I love Bill, he will always be a light that I turn to …… he reminds me of what matters, what doesn’t matter, & he will live on in my heart and in Heaven above. If I know him, he’s getting ready to pick & grin with Fred…… probably singing about “ The back row” again 🎶
What a special set of friends you were for Bill, from letting him continue to play his music to taking him up to the mountain, as well as allowing him to continue to share his thoughts on scripture in a small group. He so looked forward to all of those things with two very special people. Love yo both so much.
Pastor Bill’s loving touch in his teachings and songs will live on forever. His love of God, family, and his church was to God’s glory. It was such a blessing and privilege to know him. My deepest sympathies to Linda and family. Love, Liv Hahn
Thank you, Liv. We so appreciate your thoughts and prayers. God Bless.
Never met a nicer guy, a better Christian teacher or a better person to pattern your life after. What a loss to WEAG, the Richmond community and to all who knew him. Bill married us 30 years ago and baptized us. He has a special place in our hearts. Our sympathy to Linda and the children.
Thank you, Ron and Linda. We so appreciate these words and your prayers.
Such a kind-hearted man, he will be missed, but knowing that he is with his Lord and Savior and rejoicing brings a smile to our faces, as we know we will see him again. All our love to Linda and the family
Thank you, Becky, Nisi and Barry. We so appreciate your love and prayers. Lots of memories with your family!
Bill was such a great man of God and such a true friend to everyone who met him. I had the privilege to play music with him and I consider those precious times as some of the greatest moments of my life. My only regret is it ended way too soon. I only wish I could have played one more song with him. Goodbye my friend! I will see you again one day. Until then, Your teaching will live on in my heart What a wonderful legacy you leave behind!
Thank you so much! He loved his music right up to the end, especially bluegrass gospel!
Bill Martin was one of the best ministers of God I have been blessed to know. Kind, gentle, supportive, dedicated to Gods kingdom and his people. May you have already heard these treasured words-well done good and faithful servant. Amen.
Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers.
My sincerest condolences go out to Linda and all of their family. What a Christlike person and lovely heart Pastor Bill exhibited. He was a true Pastor and is missed by all who loved him. We were SO blessed by his sermons, his music, his warm ways, and his wonderful sense of humor, gracious attitude, and Godly wisdom. He is smiling his wonderful smile for sure. Love and Prayers to Linda and family.
Thank you so much, Julie. Your kind words are a healing balm in the midst of our loss. His heart was actually the last to go which seemed so fitting. Much love,
We are sorry to hear about Bill. May all your memories bring peace and comfort. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Love Bob and Florence Martin
Bob and Flo, Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers as they do mean so much to us. We have so many great memories!
Pastor Bill was a Godly, gifted, great man. His teaching was the best. His warmth and kindness drew you in. His humor was so much fun. The Lord bless Linda and all the family with His peace and wonderful memories of a very special man.
Thank you, Pat and Sil. Oh, how he loved to be with his Italian friends, eating wonderful home cooked food! The only thing better would have been a trip to Italy together!! Love you both.
So many thoughts and memories of this incredible man who touched so many lives throughout his life. I was a pretty wild teen when I first met Pastor Bill. I grew up in the church, but went through a questioning period where I thought church was silly and I could think about Jesus later. Pastor Bill became our youth leader. I had a crazy encounter with Jesus (a long story) and decided to give the youth group a try. Bill and Linda were just so real. He’d greet everyone with “hey gang” and that amazing smile that just took down walls. I started dating Peyton during that time. Bill and Linda kind of took us under their wing and were constantly encouraging us. I rememer struggling over something I still carried so much guilt from. I remember sitting in Bill’s office and telling him about it. He just looked at me with that gentle smile and asked, “did you ask God to forgive you?” I responded “yes,” and he asked, “then what are you worried about? God has forgiven you!” I don’t know why, but just that simple answer freed me and I have carried that with me as a reminder of how God’s forgiveness is just that simple! Bill just had a way to make one feel seen and valued. I learned so much about being steadfast, genuine, humble and honest from watching him live it out. I learned so much about a loving marriage and family from watching he and Linda. I also remember Bill saying, “when in doubt, just don’t do it!” That has stuck with me. So simple, but I believe it has protected me from many mistakes in life. As I watched Bill struggle with his illness, he still had that great smile, and I still saw Jesus in him. I watched Linda so faithfully stand with him and love him and that just amazed me. What a great honor to know them both, and I know my whole life was forever changed because this “real deal” youth Pastor saw me, believed in me, prepared me, and set the example of what a true follower of Jesus looks like. I now can see him doing his “Father Guido” impression and dancing in Heaven. But I also see him just basking in the presence of his loving saviour with that gentle smile and twinkle in his eyes. I look forward to seeing him say “hey gang” when I join him one day! Well done good and faithful servant, Bill Martin! Thank you for allowing God to use you all those years ago to change my life!
We love you Linda and family, and praying for you!
Thank you so much, Clover! He was so proud of you and Peyton and how God has used you both throughout your lives. Though he would have never taken any credit for his influence, it is such a blessing to know that his influence has touched people from all around the world. Love you!
Tonight something (or Someone!) told me to look up Bill’s name and I came to the picture of him that is the way I remember him…warm and welcoming with a smile and eyes that said it before he said a word! He was my High School Sunday School teacher just after I had accepted Christ. I still to this day remember him teaching us the Psalms and how he had us write our own. I remember going to your house Linda and he played all kinds of music and we talked about the songs and what they meant…he had depth and an openness a young person could relate to. He somehow convinced me to teach the Middle School Sunday School kids and when I worried they were too rowdy, he encouraged me that when he taught his class was somewhat like that yet they tested with the highest scores which helped me to relax and do my best with God’s help. When I brought my husband and kids to visit his office, and the kids were trying to play on the keyboard of his computer, he said, “don’t worry, they can’t break it” (though I wasn’t so sure!), and he had toys or candy in his closet for them. I will also never forget how you took me in out in Missouri when I was training for a MAPS assignment in Egypt and how amazed I was at the loving snd caring parents you were with your kids and hoped one day I could be like that when I had kids. The Lord welcomed home a gem and I look forward to joining him in the heavenly library ( he told us he thought there would be a library and continued learning there) and seeing his smiling face. You and your family are in my prayers, Linda. With much love, Robin and Tim Fisher
Thank you, Robin and Tim. Those words mean so much more now than they did when you first shared with me as we re-connected online a few years ago. Bill loved his music up until the very end. We miss him so much but we also know he is in a much better place learning all he can. Much love, Linda.