In memoriam: Missionary emeritus William L. C. Richardson, 87

William L. C. Richardson, 1934-2022
IMB Photo

William L. C.  Richardson, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Brazil, the Caribbean and Romania, died Jan. 27, 2022. He was 87.

Richardson was born Feb. 12, 1934, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to the late Leonard and May Richardson. He received the Bachelor of Arts from Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, and the Bachelor of Divinity and Doctor of Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.

Richardson wrote when seeking missionary appointment that after trusting Christ as a child he lost interest — until his junior year in high school when he turned toward the Lord and his life changed. He felt God calling him to special Christian work. After several months of prayer, he wrote, he dedicated himself to the preaching ministry.

Later at OBU and seminary, various speakers and professors nurtured his deepening concern for international mission work. At Southwestern he met Kathryn Mallory, who was already committed to missions. He and Katherine were married in August 1957 in Buffalo, Missouri.

Richardson served as pastor of Vinson (Oklahoma) Baptist Church, and First Baptist Church, Granite, Oklahoma.

Through the years, the Richardsons’ feeling of a call to missions grew. In 1964 the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed them missionaries to Brazil. After language study, the Richardsons moved to Belo Horizonte, where Bill directed the Department of Religious Education for Baptists in the state of Minas Gerais.

In 1966, Richardson wrote in a newsletter, “Practically every way we turn, opportunities for evangelism and service confront us.” A few weeks earlier, he had been invited to preach a revival in a small town nearby. Every night he drove to the little church with about 20 active members. Although his Portuguese was poor and he had to read his sermons, Richardson wrote, the crowd grew to 150 by closing night and services had to be moved outside. That week 23 people made public professions of faith in Christ.

It was a sign of things to come as Richardson preached, assisted missions growing into churches and focused especially on the training of pastors and laypersons, many of whom would not have been able to attend seminary. He worked with others to develop a workbook-based Bible Training Institute to equip leaders for the growing number of churches across the state.

Richardson later moved into administrative roles in South America and the Caribbean. Near the end of their 33 years as missionaries, the Richardsons moved to Romania, where he taught at the Baptist seminary in Bucharest.

He and Kathryn retired to Springfield, Missouri, in 1999. Bill also went on short term mission trips to India, The Gambia and Mexico.

Richardson is survived by his wife of 64 years, Kathryn; his sons Timothy, Curtis, Phillip and Jonathan and their wives Marydee, Denise and Tamara; his sister Margaret Lemke; 16 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was held Feb. 12, 2022, at First Baptist Church of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, with burial in Memorial Gardens of Memory in Buffalo, Missouri.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Lottie Moon Offering, IMB, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at Generosity Resource Center – IMB Generosity.

Read an obituary here.