Minden Press-Herald

Wednesday
Oct 01st

Brother Bill, Before You Go

Press-Herald Reader Shares Love of Brother Bill Ichter

He was there last year when my family needed him.  Although he had never met my father, he drove from Minden to Dubach to speak at his graveside.  Five months later, he married Linda and me at the little gazebo in Academy Park.

In his role as chaplain of the Minden Medical Center, he considers it a blessing to be able to get up early every morning, rain or shine, and go in to pray with those facing surgery or with families who have lost loved ones.  For most of his 85 years, Brother Bill Ichter (ICK-ter) has made time for those who need him.

I was visiting with my friend Alan Lee the other day when the subject of Brother Bill came up.  Alan said, “When it’s Brother Bill’s time to go, there won’t be a building in Minden big enough to hold all the people that will want to come to the services.”

I agree.  I gave Brother Bill a call and asked him if we could sit down to talk some about his life’s work and his legacy.  He graciously agreed.  Here is that conversation:

Besides Linda and me, of course, who is the most memorable couple you married?

Brother Bill:  Well, I do remember your wedding.  Only three of us could fit in the gazebo.  That was the first time I was ever asked to hold the flowers during the ring ceremony.

Someone told me recently that "when Brother Bill leaves us, there won't be a church in town big enough to hold all the people who will come to pay their respects."  How do you feel about that statement?

Brother Bill:  Well, flattered of course.  I guess longevity has its rewards.  Some who grew up in our church still remember me as “The Cookie Man” and how I could make them believe there was a barking dog in the room.  I still do that today with the little ones.  I love to see their eyes get wide.

What thoughts go through your mind when you think of Minden, Louisiana?

Brother Bill:  Jerry and I moved to Minden years ago to be close to her mother and sister.  I can’t say enough good things about Minden.  Look what we just did for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; how this community turned out.  I couldn’t live in a better place.

(Ms. Jerry called during the interview) You've been married to Ms. Jerry for some 60 years.  Why has it lasted that long and what advice would you give to others?

Brother Bill:  Marriage is like a garden that needs to be cultivated every day.   Did you notice how many times I told Jerry that I love her on the phone just now?  It’s very important to me, even after 60 years of marriage, to let her know how much I love her.

What do you think your legacy will be?  What would you like people to remember most about Brother Bill Ichter?

Brother Bill:  My legacy is my family.  It’s an honor for me to see how many of them have chosen to follow my footsteps into the ministry and into missionary work.  It’s like my kids went into the family business.  I’m pleased at the thought that they’ll be helping people and serving the Lord long after I’m gone.

If you could only have three words on your tombstone, what would you want them to be?

Brother Bill:  During World War II, when I was a soldier in General George S. Patton’s army, our unit’s motto was:  “I’ll try, sir!”  If I had to choose three words, I think I would like it to be the past tense of that motto:  “I tried, sir!”
My wife Linda summed it up pretty well when she said this about Bill Ichter: “When Brother Bill talks to you, he makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the world.

That’s because he tries…

Written by Randy Rogers

 

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