William Francis Chissoe III
November 17, 1942 – May 6, 2019
William “Bill” Chissoe
“Well done, good and faithful servant …” On May 6th Bill Chissoe, a man of faith and service, went home to be with his Lord. Bill loved God and his family, and lived a purposeful life.
William Francis Chissoe III was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on November 17, 1942 to William and Gilda Chissoe. At the age of 6 Bill moved to Tulsa, OK with his father and step-mother Burnell, whom Bill loved deeply as his mother. He graduated from Central High School in 1960 and proudly enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving for 5 years and attaining the rank of Sergeant. While stationed in California Bill met the love of his life, Madge Willey. Madge caught his eye at the local Methodist Church, and he is quoted as saying that he was “twitterpated”.
After leaving the Marines Bill and Madge moved to Norman, “only temporarily,” so Bill could attend OU and earn a BS & MS in microbiology. 54 years later they’re deeply rooted in many areas of the Norman Community.
Bill worked for the University of Oklahoma for 35 years as an Electron Microscopist, explaining that he “takes pictures of very small things with very big microscopes.” He loved the work, the University, and especially the people he worked with. Working in a university environment was perfect for a man who had a joy of learning and loved to get to know people with diverse backgrounds and stories.
One of Bill’s greatest joys was the annual “Ugly Bug Contest” for elementary aged students across the state – it combined his love of teaching, science, kids, and engagement with the community.
Bill loved kids and he and Madge became sponsors with the church’s Methodist Youth Fellowship program. They formed life-long relationships, and enjoyed watching the youth grow and raise their own children.
Family was everything to Bill. He had three children, daughter Michelle was born in 1965, William IV in 1968, and David in 1969. He loved spending time with his kids no matter the activity. Anything they became interested in became an interest to him. He was supportive of all their activities, coaching numerous sports teams, serving as a scout leader, and attending all performances. He was quick to pass on knowledge, whether it was taking care of a car or painting a porch.
Bill passed on his love and commitment to service, but he never preached this to his children. Bill and Madge live their faith and values, and his children were expected to act with integrity, honesty, responsibility, following through on commitments, and absolutely treating everyone with respect. He was his children’s biggest fan but never let them think they’re the center of the universe – the world is bigger, and they should serve others.
Few things were greater than his love of family, but family wasn’t limited to blood relatives. Everyone was welcome in his home, and people in his home became family. Over the years he opened his doors to international students, UMYF kids, Russian graduate students, and others.
Bill was very active in McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church. He was a Lay Speaker and moved into leadership, eventually becoming Director at the local, district, conference, and jurisdictional levels. As a Lay Speaker he regularly visited numerous nursing homes in the area, conducting services and visiting residents. He was a member of the McFarlin Prison Ministry team. He was passionate about the United Methodist Men, starting and growing the organization at McFarlin, and then helping grow UMM programs throughout the state.
Considering his love of kids it’s not surprising he went on the youth’s first 10 mission trips to Mexico. He went on other mission trips to Costa Rica, the Republic of Czech, and other locations.
He served on various committees within McFarlin, and on the Conference level he served on the Criminal Justice and Mercy Committee and the District Committee on Ministries. He also taught a Spiritual Gifts class.
In recent years Bill loved gleaning. The act of collecting leftover food and distributing it to more than 15 agencies that helped feed the hungry was perfect as it combined so many ideas dear to Bill: turning scripture into action, avoiding waste, physical labor, and above all else – serving those in need. This is what gave him joy.
Bill was a grandfather eight times over and “Gramps” was beloved by each one, and had a unique and loving relationship with each. He was their Tickle Monster, their cook, their Santa, their overall-wearing kickball pitcher, their gardener, their pickup truck driver, Sergeant Grandpa, and creative non-cusser. Though an old school patriarch in many ways he would learn and adapt if it meant he could be closer to anyone he loved. He taught his family to be strong, and that as a family we are stronger, and that there is a bright side to everything.
Bill believed every moment you have with people is to be cherished. If you had a short phone call with him you had 100% of his attention and 100% of his concern.
In 2003 Bill was the recipient of a most incredible gift. Suffering from Polycystic Kidney Disease, Bill received a kidney transplant from friend and Sunday School member Roy Bendure. Bill lived a life of humor, optimism, and thankfulness, and he often remarked that he was playing with house money and “living on bonus time.” He was forever thankful for the time, special moments, and opportunities gifted him by Roy.
Preceded in death by his father, birth mother, mother, and brothers Richard and Gary. He is survived by his wife Madge, sister Donna, brothers Bobby and Terry, daughter Michele Lott and grandchildren John, Taylor, Cameron, and Duncan, son Bill and daughter-in-law Stephanie and grandchildren Billy and Russell, son David and daughter-in-law Dini and grandchildren Kevin and Aidynn.
The world has lost a great man. Bill, dad, gramps, pop, old man … you are missed but we know we will meet again.
The family would like to thank the expert and personal medical care of Dr. Tom Merrill, Dr. Anupa Khastgir, and their staffs. The family would also like to thank McFarlin United Methodist Church, the United Methodist Men, the Searchers Sunday School class, and are grateful for the tremendous support of friends who have become family over the years.
The family requests donations be made in Bill’s honor to: UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) – PO Box 9068 * New York, NY & 10087-9068 or the United Methodist Men – McFarlin United Methodist Men * PO Box 6390 * Norman, OK * 73070
- Memorial Service Thursday, May 9, 2019
William Francis Chissoe III
Calvin "Cal" Brannon
May 15, 2019
When I got word of Bill's death, I was in shock. I regret the grief his moving into eternity has caused. Yet, I am so thankful for the life you all had together. Bill was truly all the term "man of God" means. Bill lived the sentiment of St. Francis Assisi when he said, "Preach the gospel every day, use words when necessary." I consider him a friend. I prize those lunches we had regularly at Libby's. My prayers are with you all as you adjust to his loss in this earthly reality, but am so glad for the memories you cherish. Loma and I are praying for you all.
Grace and Love,
May 10, 2019
Bill and Madge built such a loving, thoughtful and caring family! I'm lucky enough to consider Bill family through marriage (is cousin-in-law once removed a thing?) and have felt his love and humor and thoughtfulness several times. I'm saying prayers for the family, hoping that you are able to celebrate his life together over the coming days and remember fondly - and proudly - the man he was. Sending you love from your Delaware family.
- Brent & Lou "LA" Montgomery
May 9, 2019
Around 1976, I told my mom I wanted to play soccer; I was seven years old. She was informed that there were only teams for boys here in Norman. She pushed on and I was allowed to play. I still remember being the only girl on the Cosmos team and how nice my teammates and my coach, Mr. Chissoe, were to me. They were all encouraging and never made me feel out of place. I've always remembered Coach Chissoe's smile and his kindness to me. I continued to love soccer and play thru high school. It's wonderful reading about his wonderful life and all those he touched.