Welcome

A memorial service for William Eugene Dickson will be held on Saturday, August 12th at 1pm at the West Valley Presbyterian Church, 6191 Bollinger Road, Cupertino, California.

In memory of Bill’s passions and life’s work, contributions may be made to LightSys Technology Services, Save the Redwoods League, Covenant Presbyterian Church Missions Department, West Valley Presbyterian Church Missions Department, or the charity of your choice.

LightSys and former GMI colleagues put together some great information on Bill’s ministry.

I set this site up to try and share the multitude of warm wishes, stories, and photos we have received in the last few days. We’re encouraging people to send us memories and photos you have of Bill to inmemorium@dickson4.net. When you do, let us know if you are willing for us to post it here for all those others whose lives were impacted by Bill to read. If you’d like your story to remain private and stay with just our family, please also let us know that when you share.

Thank you,

Jon Dickson

Memories of Bill – Carol Yuke

Meeting Bill

I met Bill sometime in the early 1980’s in a side office on the second floor of Hudson Taylor Hall, the main building of the U.S. Center for World Mission. Bill had come down from the Bay Area to explore the possibility of joining DataServe, a newly formed IT agency in the service division of the USCWM. He was interviewing various staff members, and somehow, he found me.

At that time, the USCWM was only three years old. Founded to finish the task of world evangelization among the unreached or “hidden” peoples, it attracted visionary Christian volunteers who came with faith, dedication and high ideals. But the USCWM was a maverick upstart with a grand vision that greatly outstripped its budget, a highly questionable business plan, strong-minded leaders whose philosophies conflicted with managers, old school missionaries working alongside young people with little or no work or ministry experience, everyone with their own human frailties.

Working at the Center was a little like blasting into space in a hypersonic aircraft. Lots of people couldn’t handle the G-forces and ended up throwing up before the X-plane left the atmosphere. Some moved on after a short stint to work with other mission organizations. Others left full time ministry altogether, frustrated, disappointed, or disillusioned with organized religion. With such a high turnover, longer term staff used to say that if you could last six months at the Center you had it made.

I had already worked at the Center for two years when I met Bill. I felt it my role to give prospective staff a realistic perspective, to dispel any rose-tinted illusions about life there. But I didn’t have to worry about Bill. Bill already had a secular orientation and a natural skepticism that inoculated him against a presumptuous faith that could be harmful to self or to others. He had faith, but he was not naïve. He believed in God, but he never confused himself or anyone else with God. He had clear eyes and a strong rational bent. But though he sometimes talked like a cynic (and more on this later), he walked like a man of faith, and that is what he was.

 

Backpacking

One of the first things Bill did after he joined DataServe was to share his love of the outdoors with his new friends at the Center. My first backpack trip, easily the most beautiful hike I ever made, was a three-day trip that Bill organized:  Big Pine Lakes on the Palisade Glacier: seven glacier lakes high in the eastern Sierra.

Our group was three single women and Bill. None of us knew each other very well. For Linda C. and me, it was our first trip carrying anything on our backs. There were relational difficulties, funny in hindsight because we all became close friends in later years.

We took the North Fork Trail, hiking the switchbacks in the blazing afternoon sun. Liza W. was way ahead of anyone on the trail. Linda C. was next. I trailed last. Bill, the scout leader, cheerfully brought up the rear. At one point on the trail, I asked no one in particular, “How long is this going to be?”  Behind me Bill said, “Well, you see across that meadow? And the waterfall at the far end?  On top of the waterfall there is a bridge. The trail is nice and wooded there. A mile from the bridge is First Lake. We are camping at Second Lake!”

I have the most precious memories of Fifth Lake, waking up just before dawn to the smell of hot chocolate Bill had made, and watching the moon nestle itself down like a lustrous pearl between the peaks of Temple Crag, all splashed with pink. “I think I shall never see this again.”

We had hoped to get to all seven glacier lakes. But the clouds were turning dark higher up, and Bill realized we had to get down the mountain before the rain began. So we came down the mountain, singing songs through the golden aspen woods.

It was on this hike that I recognized that quality in Bill that forever characterized him to me:  Joy.  Later I came to appreciate his deep love for family and culture, which was nurtured in the outdoors. “Land of my high endeavor, land of the shining river, land of my heart forever.” To this day, whenever I hear “Scotland the Brave” I think of Bill.


Knowledgeable

Bill was exceptionally knowledgeable. Being a librarian, I have many friends who love knowledge, and I treasure them. Bill was like the World Book Encyclopedia. His knowledge base was full of organization, outlines, clarity, and pithiness. Yes, he could go on and on about the workings of a topic, until one would say, “Okay, okay; I get it already!”  But I learned a lot from him.

I learned about food from him. He taught the librarian how to appreciate the Joy of Cooking as a reference tool, not simply a book of recipes.  Being ethnically Chinese, I grew up eating and cooking Chinese food. But it was Bill, not my mother, who taught me that the best way to make fried rice and any Chinese dish flavorful was to add a little chicken powder. To this day, that is what I do! Bill taught me how to peel a banana the way his mother taught him. I paid him back by teaching him how to eat a ripe persimmon, which totally grossed him out.

Bill was a mechanical genius, a miracle worker to those of us not so gifted. Much has been said about this by others.

 

Linda

Linda and Bill had both been part of Z-Volk, the fellowship group that grew out of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. Not long after Bill joined DataServe, Linda moved down to Pasadena, where I met her. I remember being impressed by her spiritual depth, empathy and compassion for others. And her sensibility. She was already Bill’s best friend. They were very compatible. She had a deep love and respect for him, understood and accepted him better than anyone else, and she was committed to deepening their relationship. The odds seemed to be better than not that she would be the woman he would marry. I don’t think Bill realized this at the time, but eventually he came around. As a single man Bill was a wonderful person. But as someone during the memorial service observed, he seemed to come to his fullness and become everything he was meant to be after he married Linda Eldridge.

 

A caring heart

Bill had a way of making every person he knew feel exceedingly valued. I knew I was not the only one who felt this way. Perhaps it was his ability and willingness to be transparent and to share his heart with us. He was genuine and honest about his thoughts, feelings, shortcomings, failures, hopes, accomplishments and joys.

Even though he married and became a father, and moved away to Colorado, Bill still had enough time and interest to stay in contact with his single friends. For me it might have had something to do with the fact that I was a financial supporter, but it was more than that. I have supported others for years who rarely took the time to communicate with me. But whenever Bill and Linda were in the Bay Area, they would take the opportunity to connect with me. I always felt happy and blessed when they did.

On one of their visits we all went to the San Francisco Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito.  The Bay Model had no water in it that day, so it wasn’t visually inspiring. But the boys were still in grade school, and they ran excitedly all over the place. It was fun to see Bill as a father. Another year Bill and Linda invited me to his parents while they were visiting for Christmas. When the boys were adults, Bill and Linda would visit by themselves. Or maybe just Bill himself on occasion.  Like many others I was delighted when they decided to move back to the Bay Area.

 

Helper and Catalyst

Bill always used to say he was not a specialist, but had just enough information to be dangerous. This was very true, because he wouldn’t just sit there with that information, he would act on it. He could be helpful, too helpful at times. And he could be catalytic without even trying.  (Example mercifully omitted here. 😉)

 

Optimism and Hope

Last week I was weeding our library collection, and came upon a Stephen Colbert quote that made me think of Bill.

Don’t be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying “yes” begins things. Saying “yes” is how things grow. Saying “yes” leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people. So, for as long as you have the strength to, say “yes.”

In the 1980’s Bill belied these words. He was wisdom in youth, a wise old man in a young man’s body. He was exceedingly rational, clear-eyed, intellectually rigorous and honest. But he was no cynic. His very presence at this fledgling, upstart Christian mission organization was a sparkling and resounding “Yes!” He was constantly learning and growing, stretching his boundaries, constantly optimistic, constantly hopeful.

“Yes” is not just for young people; it is for young spirits. The older Bill got in years, the younger and more sparkling he seemed to become in spirit. He seemed always to be finding new ways to say “Yes” to God, to people, and to life.

I remember my last, hour-long phone conversation with Bill last fall. He was excited about the second trip to the Camino de Santiago he and Linda would be taking, this time as hosts at a hostel along the way. He spoke of his clear sense of calling to share his faith with travelers whose secular language and worldview were so native to him. I was excited for him, and for Linda as well. Bill was in no way done with living or with serving God and his fellow humankind.

That is really the way to go, full of passion for life, with battles to be fought, and goals yet to accomplish. As John Wooden said, “Players with fight never lose a game, they just run out of time.”  But here lies the great comfort of Bill’s faith – that when the clock stops, it is followed by victory and glory, purchased by the blood of Christ almost two thousand years ago.  And we will have plenty of time to enjoy that.  Amazing!

“And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
*****
With each year heaven is dearer. This year Heaven will be splendid — because Bill is there.

From George Halley, GMI

There will only be one frugal Scot named Bill Dickson.  More than most, Bill lived a life of unique passion and courage leaving his own special mark on us all.

Bill will be well remembered for his particular idiosyncrasies.  Typically, he would give me a fun, formal greeting when we would see each other, like “Good Day, Sir”.  I loved responding with something like, “Good Morning, Good Sir”, and as soon as I called him good, he would reply with “There is no one good except one”   This is just a touch of his humor and style.  Often times, his personality was grating – he could talk too long or off subject for the social context or the work being done.  It is not always easy being with someone with such a strong personality, but the times were special and something which were uniquely Bill.

Secondly, Bill will be remembered for his mercy.  Bill was a man who helped out so many people, sometimes at the determinant of his family life.  He would leave the front garden unfinished, but rush off to help an elderly widow with a home issue or join a work gang of fellow Presbyterian’s.  He spent endless hours with children, teaching them new skills in electronics and making them feel special.  In particular, he would continually put pieces of hardware on the side for Eli Farney and help him with specific problems.  One day, my daughter came to GMI and Bill immediately put her to work as a cable tester.  She will always remember him this way – the kindly man who found something which she could do to help and took the time out of a busy day to teach her this skill.  He was known for training people throughout the world and helping out the new interns as they passed through GMI.  Personally, I felt his mercy in a great way.  More than anyone, Bill would check in with me on how my family was doing and managing my hectic work schedule.  My situation seemed to be ever present in his mind which gave me great comfort.

As I said, he was a man of great passion and courage.  To be a US based missionary living through donations is very difficult.  It is extremely hard to understand how difficult this is until you actually live it.  For Bill, he had a constant reminder of how dependent he AND THE FAMILY HE LOVED were dependent upon the good graces of others for their daily bread.  I wonder how many times Bill and Linda wondered if this was really worth it.  Bill had to be so strong (I’m sure many people thought stubborn!)  Yet, this is who God made him to be and he was true to his good, good Father.

I didn’t meet Bill until six years ago, after Mike O’Rear died.  I cannot imagine how horrible and hard this was.  Bill lost a friend, felt the need to help the O’Rear’s in any way, while having to run a ministry who was not prepared for this setback.  The fact that the O’Rear’s began to thrive again says much of who they are, but also about the support they received in prayer and materially from the Dickson’s.  In my limited viewpoint, this was the beginning of some very difficult times for Bill.

See, Bill and the rest of the board members decided to give over the leadership of this ministry that Mike and he had built to someone new to take it in new directions in the hope that it would flourish.  He supported the move, but over time many of the decisions made for the sake of the ministry were not the same as Mike and Bill may have made.  One of the hardest things for a man to give up is to give the work of his years to another person.  Bill handled it mightily, but there were decisions which were slowly rusting out his core.

Finally, this is what I will remember about Bill – the great grace which God gave him to push through those last years of GMI.  In those times when he was unintentionally hurt, he was able to run to the cross and find God’s immense arms to hide in.  There are some days, I don’t know how he did it, but he did.

You know, one of his biggest regrets was that when he got married that he was able to do all of overseas missionary trips while Linda stayed home.  Before they were married, Linda had been the world traveler.  How he was looking forward to spending more time going overseas with her and seeing her gifts being used.  Linda, I want you to know that everything is known in heaven.  You need to still do those trips and he will see them and experience them with you in a special way (that is if he isn’t too busy worshipping Jesus).

Both Mike and Bill died unexpectedly.  I don’t understand why God took Bill at the time that GMI closed because I saw a great future for him at LightSys.  I guess his memory will always be linked with that great mission agency and his future is for Kathy and Loren to live out.

When I heard that he died in a car accident hitting a tree, I immediately thought of Rich Mullins.  I believe Bill had a great respect for Rich and discussed his death with an intern at a one time.  They died the same way and in such an unexpected time.  After his death occurred, a simple vision came to me of Balaam and his donkey moving off the path because of the Angel in the way.  Well, it feels as if God said Bill’s its time to come to my mansion and his mechanical donkey took him home.

I won’t presume this is what happened, but for such a wonderful man, I can think of no better way to think of his death.  Tonight, my cup is full of tears.  Tomorrow, I will have one of those little Frosty’s at Wendy’s in his memory.  You will be missed, good friend.

Shalom,

George Halley

719.237.3072

“‘If it is for this world only that we have hope, we are of all men most to be pitied’.  Sorry that in this fallen world it counts as good news that in order to live to a normal age we seem to have to let go of our minds and bodies bit by bit.  May the Lord maintain your joy and sense of humor through the un-fun stuff ahead.”

From Loren Muehlius (GMI)

Here are some thoughts about Bill. I knew him from working with him 27 or so years at GMI, Global Mapping International.

I haven’t come up with specific memories of Bill, but definitely remember character traits. Bill was very knowledgeable. If I had a computer issue, I could ask Bill about it and almost all the time he would have an answer. Thus it was very reassuring and comforting to have Bill as a resource. Of course sometimes the answer Bill gave would involve a 5, 10 minute or longer answer. Bill’s knowledge wasn’t only about computers or technical things, but involved a host of other subjects. I considered Bill a walking encyclopedia.

Bill desired to use his answers as teaching times, which I think is one reason they were often long and detailed. He wanted to enable us with his knowledge to be able to do the task or fix the issue ourselves.

He had a great heart to serve people. If our computers at GMI weren’t working, Bill would usually be working to get them back up right away. He helped other people with computer issues as well as with other things such as cars, house repairs, moving, or simply doing ordinary things.

Bill was great at giving time to people even when he had other things on his plate to do. This of course would delay the thing which he had on his plate to do, but it shows how he valued people. It was interesting to see Bill’s interest in people. He would start conversations with restaurant workers, workers at stores, and even a person who simply crossed his path.

He was a very committed person. An indicator of this is the large amount of time, effort, and thought he put into GMI. He spent many hours helping us fellow workers and sometimes days and nights working on computer issues. When our CEO, Mike O’Rear died of a heart attack, Bill stepped in to lead GMI.

All of the above were done with a spiritual motivation. He didn’t do them to get people’s compliments or approval, but since He knew Jesus loved and had served Him, Bill could show and demonstrate Jesus’s love to others. Bill wanted others around him and throughout the whole world to know Jesus, His love, and His offer of salvation to those who put their trust in Him.

I will definitely miss Bill for all his insights, concern for people, and servant heart. However, it is great to know he is now in the presence of His Maker who I’m sure has shared the following words with Bill, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

-- 

Loren Muehlius

From Bob Waymire

Bill and Linda Dickson, “Knowledgeable Servants” 

                                                Sierra College, Memoir Class, June 2016

By Bob Waymire

 

I first met Bill Dickson in 1981 while in the Research and Strategy Dept., of OC International, when Bill visited and asked, “Is there any role for techies in world missions today?”  My immediate response was “Yes, absolutely!  Let’s step into my parlor.”  This led to a pivotal meeting with Bill and a few of his techy friends that next weekend in Menlo Park, California.  They rose to the challenge to put legs to the vision of a computerized mapping system to serve Global Missions.  This led directly to the launching of Global Mapping Project, which became GMI.  After Bill and Linda were married they joined us in Pasadena.

 

It was in the Dickson garage in Palo Alto in early 1982 that I first saw the initial programming/graphics that were the forerunners of the “GMI Globe” prototype mapping system.  He had some close cohorts that were involved, including Pete Holzmann (long time friend, co-worker, programming expert, and on the original GMI Board).  All were some of Silicon Valley’s finest.

 

Bill from that time to the present has been the main ‘technical guru’ of the GMI staff, the implications of which are tremendous and varied.  His technical expertise is matched or exceeded only by his servant’s heart and his capacity for accomplishing complex tasks.   One thing that surely made Bill smile was when, because of my role at GMI, many people thought I was some kind of technical guru myself.  Well…Bill tried to “educate” me on several occasions, but he finally had to give up, which took a load off both of us.  I’ve been forever thankful for Bills’ seemingly infinite affinity for detail.

 

Bill was both technical and contract liaison with our “partner” ESRI, the cartographic giant.  Eventually ESRI’s ArcView mapping system became GMI’s “contribution” to the world missions community.

 

Bill and Linda came to GMI self-supported.  Believe me that was significant in those early days when the best supported were under-supported.  The Dickson’s helped rescue needy GMI on more than one occasion.  (This was not widely known.)

 

One of the profound privileges for me as the Founder of GMI was to see how ‘The Lord of the Harvest’ provided capable and unique individual team members that were key foundation stones upon which GMI has been built…and now continues in innovative expansion under the leadership of Jon Hirst.  Bill and Linda Dickson and many since those earliest days were all “sent to the Kingdom for such a time as this”, and every one a capable and unique servant of their Lord.

 

In this current era during the transition after the ‘surprising’ exodus of Mike O’Rear, and before and including the arrival of Jon Hirst, Bill, in a very wise and sensitive manner, led all of GMI and friends through this very difficult time.  Bill’s willingness to take on the leadership role during the transition epitomized his ‘faithful servanthood’ that has been an example for all, both inside and outside of GMI.

 

Whatever they do, and wherever they go, the team of Bill and Linda Dickson will provide an enriching environment and experience that will glorify their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

My life has been significantly enriched for having known and served with them,

 

Bob Waymire, GMI Founder (emeritus) [Note: penned over a year ago in response to H.S. unction?!]

From Valerie in Singapore

Bill Dickson, a servant leader and mission collaborator

We first met in 1996, when I visited GMI’s office at Mike’s invitation. That week, Bill introduced me to geo databases and Atlas GIS, a geographic information system. I recall he had explained various features in considerable detail. Bill also explained how GMI was helping God’s people to see the world more clearly through the use of information resources and mapping.

Bill was a humble servant leader, often serving others quietly but effectively in the background. We catch a glimpse of Bill’s humility in his Skype profile: “technology cook and bottle washer at GMI”. Of course, he was more than that! He was Vice President for Research and Development (1991-2011). He enjoyed helping others. Bill used his vast knowledge of computers and information technology to facilitate countless Christian leaders in their ministry. Bill worked not only with computer networks and databases; he was also committed to human networks and relationships.

Bill was a mission information collaborator. He understood the value of working together with others to acquire and share strategic information for Christian ministry. Bill developed good relationships with key information workers at several international mission agencies in the USA and beyond. This resulted in significant collaborative projects such as Language Mapping Project, Global Ministry Mapping System, and Mission Infobank, a library of research resources from and for Christian leaders. I am grateful to have worked with Bill and others at GMI on a few projects. As a project manager, Bill had the knack of knowing where various pieces would fit together, and he always acknowledged the work of each person in the team.

Our last conversation was on Skype in June this year. With GMI closing, we reminisced the long time focus and “old” core values. For many years, GMI’s highest priority had been to serve evangelical mission leaders in the developing world through partnership with like-minded organizations. The 2009 annual report had described GMI core values as follows: “With a heart focused on God’s mission in the world, guided and empowered by his Spirit, GMI produces and presents applied research, serving others with excellence through respectful partnerships”. That was how Bill (and Mike) had served God’s people around the world.

Bill walked in a manner worthy of the calling to which he was called, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love”. (Ephesians 4:1-2, ESV).  By God’s grace, may we also live a life worthy of our calling.

 

— Valerie in Singapore

J. Nelson Jennings – Onnuri Community Church, Seoul

Dear Family and Friends of Bill Dickson,

Along with many others, I was deeply shocked when I received the news of Bill’s recent accident. Please know of my heartfelt condolences and prayers.
I did now know Bill for nearly as long as others sending you their notes and remembrances. I only met him in January 2016, when I was in the GMI Office at the beginning of my tenure as GMI Global Engagement Director. Bill took the time to sit with me and share some of his extensive institutional memory and areas of mission research expertise. The time and care he gave left a deep impression.
Since that time I enjoyed and appreciated greatly interactions electronically. His contributions to Christian world mission clearly were extensive.
Again, know of my and many others’ shared grief, gratitude, and sure hope in our risen Lord’s grace and mercy.
In Christ,
Nelson

Rev. J. Nelson Jennings, PhD
Serving Christ’s Mission as Networker,
Instructor, Preacher, Scholar, Author
Onnuri Community Church, Seoul
Mission Pastor, Consultant, and International Liaison

Stan & Lorri Nussbaum – GMI

Dear Linda, David, Jonathan, and family,

I have never before had such a hard time believing that someone had died. Perhaps it is that I always saw Bill as so competent in so many ways and so passionate about ministry. In my mind, that makes it seem that he was not finished with his work yet, not even close. It’s incomprehensible that he has switched off his last computer, given his last guidance to a colleague, and come home for the last time.

But in these days that have no explanations, please know that God still has our trust and you have our sympathy. We both deeply appreciated Bill during the years we were privileged to share with him at GMI. And that was such a good final conversation I had with him at your Springs home in June. Seems like yesterday. May Bill’s Lord, yours, and ours comfort you now as only he can.

Peace,
Stan and Lorri Nussbaum

Bruce Wilson – from Memorial Service

Thoughts about and memories of Bill Dickson by Bruce Wilson

Bill was a great friend, an excellent listener, a savvy business partner, a wise counselor, and a thoughtful follower of Jesus.
I met Bill soon after moving to California in 1978.  He was part of the Z-Volk post-college group at Menlo Park Presbyterian.  He seemed nice enough, and I enjoyed chatting occasionally.
This turned into a much deeper connection in the summer of 1979, when Bill, Bob G and I bought a 4 bedroom Eichler house in Palo Alto, that was soon christened “Middlefield Manor”.   Bill’s own business savy as well as his dad’s silent advice, laid the long term health of our business partnership, that could easily have been a horrible mess of broken or strained relationships.
The intentional community that the first 5 guys built, served 20 guys until 1987 when Jane and I changed it from a bachelor pad into a married couple’s home.  Bill’s contribution to the communal life showed up in his excellent cooking that shamed the rest of us into significant improvement’s of our own dinner offerings.  His steady voice at the Monday night house meetings helped to clear up the inevitable conflicts, and prepare our hearts for the prayer meeting that followed right after.  He was a great idea generator for house parties, one costume theme being “Come as your favorite saint or sinner”.
Bill introduced me to cross country skiing in winter and the simple joy of a well planned back pack trip in summer.
During the long years in the house, Bill was a consistent friend to me and the other manorities, always listening first, and then responding with what ever was needed.  Bill shared his own needs and received from others.  He also gave to others.  He was willing to sit in silence to share pain, and not have to give advice.  Sometimes he would share his own experience of God’s leading and have a word of prayer.   And sometimes, Bill would expound at length on what the full background was of some topic, as well as multiple options to solve the problem at hand.
In 1982, Bill launched out of the house
I got a letter dated July 9, 1982 from Bill while I was in Scotland.  It was full of excitement about the impending trip to Seattle, and then going to Pasadena to attend IIS (Institute for International Studies) on Aug 2 to 25.  “After this point I have an almost-firm open-ended offer to work on the U.S Center for World Mission staff”
Indeed, the next several years were on staff at USCWM.
His next letter of March 19, 1984 – was on DataServe Inc. letterhead, with the tag line “Information Technology for Frontier Missions” – which showed that he had indeed gone on staff, and become integral to the technical support operations at the center.
April 12, 1984 DataServe support letter starts off:
— Quote —
Dear Friends,
I give up!  For a year and a half I’ve been gathering up ideas for
the perfect prayer letter.  It should be all that conventional wisdom dictates,
that is, concrete, concise, upbeat, personal, and interesting.  It should
further deal with some unusual requirements that I have, that is, that it
should explain the unexplainably long time it has been since most of you
have heard from me, and give some sensible account of what has taken place
in the interval.  It should, above all, recount the truly remarkable things
that God has done here during the last twenty months.
I wish I knew how to write such a letter.  This is, unfortunately, a fallen
world in which computers break and engineers seldom win Pulitzer prizes.  I
have therefore been persuaded (nay, ordered) by one of my most valued and
wisest counselors (a practitioner of “tough love”) to sit down at a terminal
and write something less perfect.  I will promise to keep these letters
readably short, and will try hard to get them out regularly.  Please overlook
the lack of style, and join me in praising God for the things He has done,
and in interceding for the things yet undone.
— end of quoted section —
This captures his style and his focus on following Jesus.
The letter goes on to describe:
1. Data serve, Inc being founded as “a technical service ministry
2. Global Mapping Project being formed to make available a global scale database of information on the unreached peoples of the world
3. Group of committed computer technologists has been formed in the Bay Area to develop the computer system needed to handle the mapping aspects of the Global Mapping Project
Four years pass with Bill in Pasadena before the next newsletter I have.
January 1988 – the newsletter now records the transition from GMP to GMI.
Global Mapping has become Global Mapping International..
The font is now proportional, there are graphics, a logo, and of course a map of the world.
There is breaking news of an electronic bulletin board that can be accessed by dialing with a modem to a specified telephone number.
To us in 2017, the modem reference is an archaic throw back to ancient technology, but for the time, Bill was part of the team breaking new ground on information collection and sharing.
***
More recent memories are the hikes we had at Rancho San Antonio.  Stories of past times in Pasadena, Colorado and walking the Camino were told and re-told.  His future plans to speed up the pace of publishing various resources books were well thought out and he was drawing me into his dreams.
Now Bill has
 – longer faster data links to the new un-reached people in the next Galaxy
 – bigger clearer idea containers beyond what we call books, either paper or digital
 – time to sit down and continue the conversations with those who got to heaven first
Bill – I will miss you.
Bruce Wilson

How My Boss Became My Boss and Work Memories – Mark and Suzanne Gradin

Wow… I have told the following story in varying levels of detail an innumerable amount of times in the last 5 1/2 years and am saddened beyond measure to have to add another chapter to it:

I met Bill Dickson on Friday, January 6, 2012. My soon to be boss, Mike O’Rear, was showing me around the Global Mapping International offices and introduced me to Bill as well as the rest of the staff. Always full of knowledge and often having a lot to say that first introduction to Bill was no exception and I recall Mike cutting off the conversation at some point and continuing my tour.

A bit later as I sat with Mike and he to asked me if I would be interested in the following job description: he wanted me to come on board at GMI and work very closely with him on “about a dozen projects” he had in mind. “How would you feel about that very vague job description?” he asked. I said that that sounded great! He then told me a bit about what his own job entailed and the stress he was under. After hearing all that fell to him at GMI I finally said to him “Mike, what if you get hit by a bus?!?”

He paused, thought very carefully, and then said “GMI would be better off without a Mike O’Rear than without a Bill Dickson.” He went on to explain that while he was the one who figured out what GMI was going to do, Bill was the one that made it happen.

Mike had me come in that next Tuesday morning at 10:30am to fill out paperwork & get started at GMI. As many of you know, the next morning, Wednesday, January 11, Mike had a severe heart-attack and never regained consciousness….

So after all of 22hrs of being Mike’s assistant, Bill became the interim president and I became his assistant. Those were some pretty difficult times, but God brought us through them. And while Bill moved onto Lightsys last year, and GMI recently ended its ministry, I believe God has done some really good things these last 5 years. Not least of which for me personally is that I met my wife, Suzanne, in GMI’s office (Bill used to take credit for introducing us, which may have been the case, but that’s another story).

I know that Bill was really overwhelmed with what suddenly fell to him as the interim president of GMI, but I tried to do what I could to help him, and one of the most encouraging things anyone has ever said about me was something he often told people: “It’s obvious that Mike’s death didn’t take God by surprise because He brought Mark here the day before.”

God was not surprised by Bill’s death either, and while we’re left to wonder why he couldn’t have stayed with us longer, I know he’s been having a good long conversation with Jesus, and probably figuring out all kinds of cool stuff with Mike.

Mark Gradin


My favorite memory of Bill was that we’d become friends at work, (I worked at David c cook) and he came to my office one day with a huge bag of snack mix and said, “you look like you don’t have any problem with self-discipline and I do. I have a proposal for you. I’d like to keep my bag of snack mix at your desk, and I will come once a day for one cup of it, so I don’t eat more than I want to. In return, you can have some of the snack mix whenever you want. Is spicy ok?” And so begun our daily conversations, when bill came to get his snack mix allotment for the day. It brought such a smile to my face-he was a dear man and I’m going to miss him.

Suzanne Gradin

Warren Cory

Bill was a very smart guy and good counselor and friend, and he was zealous for the things of God.
A year ago on her birthday, Martha (my wife) received the official diagnosis of breast cancer, with good hope for recovery.  She relayed the hopeful prognosis to friends as “good news.”   Bill responded as follows.
“‘If it is for this world only that we have hope, we are of all men most to be pitied’.  Sorry that in this fallen world it counts as good news that in order to live to a normal age we seem to have to let go of our minds and bodies bit by bit.  May the Lord maintain your joy and sense of humor through the un-fun stuff ahead.”
Bill’s hope in this fallen world is ended.  His eternal hope that makes it all worthwhile lies ready to be fulfilled.  But back in this world, we will miss him.
Well done, good and faithful servant.
–Warren Cory