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Mary Jane and Tex Williams in 2011.
Mary Jane and Tex Williams in 2011 | Photo by Erik Tryggestad

Tex Williams, longtime missionary and World Bible School president, dies at 91

Robert Harold Williams, known among Churches of Christ worldwide as “Tex,” died Wednesday afternoon. He was 91.

For nearly two decades, Williams served as president of World Bible School, a ministry that teaches the Bible through correspondence courses delivered by postal mail and online. The 46-year-old ministry, which is supported and overseen by members of Churches of Christ, has played a role in thousands of baptisms worldwide — especially on the continent of Africa.

A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Westside Church of Christ in Round Rock, Texas. A graveside service follows at 1:30 p.m. at Cook-Walden Cemetery in Pflugerville, Texas.

At an early age — 7 or 8 years old — Williams was told by a Sunday school teacher that he was destined to become a missionary.

His response: “No, I’m going to be a cowboy,” he told The Christian Chronicle in a 2011 interview.

Eventually, he fulfilled his teacher’s prediction.

Williams attended Texas A&M University and Abilene Christian College (now University), where he played football. He worked with the Boles Children Home in Quinlan, Texas, (now part of the Arms of Hope ministry) and directed the Bel Canto Singers.

He and his wife, Mary Jane, married June 10, 1955. He preached for the Northside Church of Christ (now Hyde Park Church of Christ) in Austin, Texas, which assisted the couple as they became missionaries to South Africa. In 1957 the Williamses began serving there, mainly in the cities of Port Elizabeth and Benoni. In Benoni they helped launch Southern Africa Bible College, which trains ministers to serve in Churches of Christ across the continent.

After nearly 13 years in Africa, the couple returned to the U.S., where missionary Cline Paden invited them to train future missionaries at the Sunset School of Preaching (now Sunset International Bible Institute) in Lubbock, Texas.

In 1985, Reuel Lemmons recruited Tex Williams to move to Austin and serve as his assistant in the World Bible School ministry. Two years later Tex Williams became the ministry’s president.  During his tenure, he recruited another missionary to Africa, John Reese, to join the ministry in 1991. In 2006, Reese succeeded Tex Williams as president.

Tex Williams had been homebound in recent years. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane, their five children and multiple grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Memorial gifts may be made to World Bible School.

Filed under: Africa missions International missionary Obituaries Partners People South Africa Tex Williams Top Stories World Bible School

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