Dr. Wilmer Clemont ("W.C") Fields
March 16, 1922 – December 2, 2018
Wilmer Clemont (“W.C.”) Fields passed away on Dec. 2, 2018. He was born near Saline, Bienville Parish, Louisiana, March 16, 1922, to Felder Burkett Fields and Eva May Corbitt Fields. His father, a farmer, was one of 10 siblings, among whom were two preachers and a minister of music. Dr. Fields had 23 first cousins, all with families, and they, along with strong Baptist and Methodist churches and a vibrant local Boy Scout troop in Gibsland, Bienville Parish, LA, created a nurturing environment to hear both the call of God and the whisper of his great-grandmother when she said, “I hope God calls you to preach.” Dr. Fields was a graduate of Louisiana College in Pineville, LA, and held Th.M. and Th.D. degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He was Southern's national alumni president in 1978 and distinguished alumnus of the year in 1986. Called to the ministry at age 15, Dr. Fields served as pastor of churches in Louisiana, Kentucky and Mississippi before entering the world of religious communications as editor of the Mississippi Baptist Record newspaper, 1956-1959. He expanded his role as communicator when he became vice president for public relations with the Executive Committee, Southern Baptist Convention from 1959 until his retirement in 1987. In this capacity, he was also SBC press representative, 1959-1987; director of Baptist Press, 1959-87; and editor of The Baptist Program, 1959-72. Dr. Fields was well respected by secular and religious journalists throughout the United States and around the world. Of his service as a religious journalist, Dr. Fields was recognized for his honesty, transparency and integrity. Dr. Fields was a member of the Religious Public Relations Council 1959-87 and served as its national president,1966-67. He was a member of the Associated Baptist Press (ABP, now Baptist News Global), 1956-87, serving as its national president, 1967-69. Dr. Fields received ABP’s 2007 Religious Freedom Award, which honored individuals whose achievements advanced the principles and practice of religious freedom. He was a member of the Baptist Public Relations Association (BPRA), 1959-87, and served as its national president, 1970-71. To honor his foundational role in BPRA, Baptist communicators named their annual awards competition the "Wilmer C. Fields Awards Competition”. Dr. Fields was an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America, 1959-87, and chairman of its non-profit section for three years. He was one of the founders of the international Religion Communication Congress held every 10 years. Dr. Fields was a trustee of the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, and a member of Religion in American Life, the Nashville chapter of National Conference of Christians and Jews, the Nashville Council on Community Services, and the Nashville United Way Campaign. He was listed in Who's Who in America, 1976 to 1987, and received the Good Shepherd Award, Association of Baptists for Scouting in 1981. He was an active member and deacon of Woodmont Baptist Church, Nashville.
In 1946, Dr. Fields married Rebecca Elizabeth “Libby” Hagan, whom he met on a blind date. They were married for 56 years until Libby’s death in 2002. Dr. Fields married Lawanna Jane House McIver in 2003 celebrating love remembered and love renewed.
Dr. Fields is survived by his wife, Lawanna; brother, John Paul Fields and sister-in-law Nan Fields of Gibsland, LA; sister Eva Deil Mabry and brother-in-law Donald Mabry of Alexandria, LA; son Randall Hagan Fields and his wife Nancy Hudson Fields of San Antonio, TX and their children Rebecca Fields McNamara (husband Jamie McNamara) of Santa Barbara, CA, Travis Hudson Fields (wife Morgan Keish Fields and daughter Madeleine Briery Fields) of Oakland, CA, and Elizabeth Anne Fields of Houston, TX; daughter Christy Alderson Fields Batts and her husband Walker Batts of Nashville, TN and their children David Batts of Roswell, GA, Mollie Batts Henry (husband David Henry and children Joe, Kate and Alex) of Nashville, Charles Hagan Batts of Pensacola, FL, and Virginia Alderson Batts of Denver, Colorado; daughter Rebecca “Becky” Elizabeth Fields Katz and her husband James Katz of Bumpass, VA and her children Christopher Warren Fields-Johnson (wife Lara Nichols Johnson and daughter Alice Sylvie Johnson) of Scottsville, VA, Matthew Corbitt Fields-Johnson of San Diego, CA, and Joseph Laughton Fields-Johnson (wife Shokoufeh Dianat) of San Francisco, CA.
Dr. Fields enjoyed flying power planes and sailplanes, fishing and photography. He traveled in 171 countries and set foot on all seven of the earth's continents. His intellectual curiosity, integrity and love of learning lives on in his grandchildren and great grandchildren. His motto was “Onward!”
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Baptist News Global (baptistnews.com), Baptist Center for Ethics (ethics daily.com) or Woodmont Baptist Church, Nashville, TN.
Visitation and a Celebration of Life service will be held at Woodmont Baptist Church, Nashville, TN on December 8, 2018. Visitation will be from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM with the service immediately following at 3:00 PM.
- In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Baptist News Global (baptistnews.com), Baptist Center for Ethics (ethics daily.com) or Woodmont Baptist Church, Nashville, TN.
- Visitation Saturday, December 8, 2018
- Celebration of Life Saturday, December 8, 2018