Friends We’ll Miss
Stephen Judson Williams (‘65) of Cumming, Georgia, passed away at home with family on December 30, 2020, at the age of 74, following battles with heart disease and cancer. An alumnus and faithful supporter of WBU, he was the youngest child of the school’s founder, Dr. Hubert E. and Beatrice Black Williams.
Growing up on a college campus, an atmosphere focused on education and training, likely fostered many of the characteristics Steve demonstrated throughout his life: curiosity, the desire to try and know and do, and the ability to view hard tasks as mere speed bumps while he worked to solve and overcome them.
Steve’s formal education included Southern Baptist College (now WBU) and Ouachita Baptist University (he had degrees in music, history, and political science), as well as graduate studies at Indiana University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was, however, a life-long learner and particularly enjoyed delving into Civil War history and family genealogy.
Always learning and on the move, Steve was a discipleship leader, media coach, author, conference leader, and multimedia developer. Most recently he was chief creative officer for High Impact Communications, a non-profit dedicated to helping churches and non-profits achieve maximum impact, and creative director for Communicate to Connect, where he coached presenters and led communication seminars for executives in the financial industry. He was a discipleship specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources (1974-2001) and worked directly with churches as a pastor, minister of education, and associational leader (1966-2001).
Steve loved volunteering, especially with young people: he coached high school and college students in presenting skills, believing everyone could become an effective communicator and led a production team in kids ministry at Browns Bridge Community Church.
He was also passionate about travel, photography, politics, and vintage Ford Mustangs, and was an avid fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Tennessee Titans. A little-known fact: Steve shook hands with Ringo Starr when The Beatles made a surprise visit to Walnut Ridge Airport in 1964, and he claimed not to have washed his right hand for two months.
Steve is survived by his wife, Melanie Allbritten Williams; his two children from his first marriage, Renee Williams Hart of Chapel Hill, Tennessee, and Robert Williams (Dacia) of Walnut Ridge; his four grandchildren, Stephen, Katie, and Joseph Hart, and John Rice Williams; his sister, Martha Williams Nicholas, and brother, James C. Williams (Pam), of Little Rock, as well as many other relatives and friends.
Steve established and generously supported the Beatrice Black Williams Scholarship Fund for education students at WBU. His request was that memorials be made to that fund at https://williamsbu.edu/give/.
Lois June Fisher
Lois June Fisher (’64) of Newport departed this life December 10, 2020, at the age of 77. She was a member of the First Baptist Church where she taught Children’s Sunday school for over 20 years. She was a member of the Extension Homemakers Club and the Art Club; she received her degree from WBU and was honored as a Golden Eagle. She enjoyed cooking for her family, sewing, arts and crafts, and researching genealogy. She loved nature and animals, her favorite things to do were working in her garden and with her flowers.
She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Freddy Fisher; her daughters, Melissa Fisher Raibley and Tammy June Fisher Brown (Jerry); sisters, Linda Strate and Betty Dowell; grandchildren, Rhett Raibley (Emily), Chesni Raibley (Nicholas), Bella Brown, Harper June Brown, Kaleb Brown, and Kagen Brown (’18), a host of nieces, nephews and many friends.
Tommy D Holland
Tommy D. Holland (’65) passed away July 14, 2020, at the age of 75. Tommy owned Forget-Me-Not Flower Shop and Rainwater Jewelry for many years, served as mayor of Walnut Ridge for 20 years and was manager of Walnut Ridge Country Club. He was a member of Fellowship Baptist Church in Walnut Ridge.
Survivors include two sisters, Geraline Rider (longtime secretary to the president at WBU) of Portia and Cloa Etta Rider of Walnut Ridge; sister-in-law, Lenora Holland of Jonesboro; several nieces and nephews including WBU Director of Athletics Jeff Rider (’85); and a host of friends.
Susanne Michele Michael
Susanne Michele Michael (’96) of Jonesboro, Ark, passed away October 1, 2020, at the age of 47, following a battle with covid-19. She was a graduate of WBU, where she met her husband and the love of her life, Keith Michael (’96), and they were married for 27 years. She taught for nearly 17 years with kindness and a sweet spirit. Her students could all testify that she was loved. Susanne went on to receive a master’s degree in educational theory and practice. Within the previous year, Susanne was awarded her national board certification.
Susanne and Keith led youth groups in several churches and were active members of Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro. She is survived by her husband; her five children, Sara (current WBU student), Jessica, Holly, Hunter and Houston; her mother, Patsy Whitney of Jonesboro, and her Brother Robert Hyslop of Missouri.
Paul Midkiff (‘70) of Little Rock passed away March 25, 2020, at the age of 69. Born June 1, 1950 in Wynne, Ark. and grew up in Walnut Ridge. Ark. He attended Southern Baptist College (now WBU) and graduated from Arkansas State University in 1972. He retired from his lifetime career at UPS in 1999, was a member of Crystal Hill Baptist Church, and devoted family man.
He was preceded in death by his parents, J.T. and Charlena Midkiff. Survivors include his wife of 46 years, Sharon Capps Midkiff (’69); two sons Johnny Midkiff and wife Chrissy, Little Rock, Bobby Midkiff and wife Abby, Benton; five beloved grandchildren, Sam, Katie, Ethan, Noah, and Kayla Midkiff; four brothers Dr. David Midkiff (’72) and wife Dr. Sheri Midkiff (’71), Portia, Ark., Lt. Col. (Ret.) Stephen Midkiff (‘73)and wife Major (Ret.) Deborah Midkiff, Bloomsburg, Pa., Phillip Midkiff (’83) and wife Diane, Hoxie, Ark., and Daniel Midkiff and wife Ann, Benham, Ky. brother-in-law Danny Capps and wife Debbie, Forrest City, Ark.; eight nephews, one niece; four great-nephews, and seven great-nieces.