Bill Edgar Gage, age 92, of Franklin, Tennessee went home to be with the Lord on Friday, April 24, 2020.
Born as Billie Gage in Vienna, Illinois on Dec. 8, 1927, he was the son of the late Daniel and Arista Gage. He grew up in a small farming community with his four older brothers. He rode a horse to school, played the trombone and sang every chance he had.
He served in the Army National Guard. He attended Johnson Bible College, where he married his first wife, Esther Bernice Gage. He served as minister at Saybrook Christian Church in Saybrook, Illinois. Later he was called to be a missionary in Barbados, where he built seven churches, literally building one of them by his own hands which still stands today.
He was an accomplished fisherman, snorkeler and gardener, which enabled him to provide for his growing family.
Upon returning to the US, he first pastored Armington Illinois Christian Church while working part time selling insurance for The Golden Rule Insurance Company. He accepted chickens, guns, beef, etc., for premiums.
He then accepted an insurance position for State Farm in Miami and pastored part time. He was very successful. He held the CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) credential and became one of the top 10 percent agents for State Farm nationwide. He spent the remaining working years in Miami.
Always having a servant’s heart, Bill became very active in Lions Clubs International. He held every position at club and district level, including the distinctive position of Governor of Lions Florida District A. He was instrumental in founding the South Florida Diabetes Youth Camp and held multiple positions at The Lighthouse for the Blind. He collected and delivered eye glasses internationally, raised funds for South Eastern Guide Dogs, and worked tirelessly on many Lion projects. Among his many awards he was most proud of the Melvin Jones Award and being an honorary Kentucky Colonel.
Concurrently to his Lions activities, he was Chaplain for the South Miami Police Department, helped start a church in the Kendall area of Miami and was interim pastor at University Christian for two years.
After retirement he lived in Houston, becoming involved with the church and the school his grandchildren attended. He later moved to the Nashville area.
He loved to travel and did so extensively all over the world culminating in an around the world trip. He loved to meet local people, eat exotic food, sing with them and learn from them.
Bill had a passion for gardening. He was an incredible gardener with a superb green thumb. He always had the healthiest garden and very productive fruit trees from which he loved to share their bounty.
Bill loved to sing. There was never a time in his life that he wasn’t singing. He sang solo, duet or quartet, and any chance he could sing, he did. In his later years, he often entertained other residents at Brookdale and the Hearth, singing popular songs, many hymns and choruses.
He was fearless in everything he did, “living life wide open”. He was known for his quick wit and humor and his kind and compassionate spirit. He was a great encourager, influencing everyone who knew him to go for their greatest dreams.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 39 years, M. Marie Elton Gage; son, Stephen Collinson; and daughter, Loa Glenn.
He will be greatly missed by surviving children: Mark (Doris) Gage, Bobbie Ann Davis, Marshall (Donna) Gage, George (Renee) Davis, John (Janette) Gage and Susan (Clyde) Swink. He also is survived by a brother, Matthew Gage.
He has 14 loving grandchildren: Mark Jr., James, Shawn, Bryan, Jeremy, Cami, Stephanie, Heather, Jason, Yvonne, Daniel, Amber, Richard and Cody. He also had twenty-two great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Bill loved his family.
He took advantage and created many opportunities to live life to the fullest. Most of all he will be remembered for how he was committed to the Word and a deep respect and love of the Lord.
Memoriam may be made to Lighthouse for the Blind, 601 SW 8th Avenue, Miami, FL 33130