Lee, William Walker M.A. (1909-1979)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

WILLIAM WALKER LEE, M.A.: born on 9th April 1909 in the village of Toft Hill, County Durham. His father was a miner and a most respected Local Preacher in the Primitive Methodist Church; it was his influence that brought Bill into the Church in his early years. Bill went to King James I Grammar School, Bishop Auckland. He was a keen sportsman and played both cricket and football for Bishop Auckland. He heard the call to the ministry and at Hartley College he was the youngest man in his year. 

He travelled in the Redditch, Birmingham (Aston Park), Leeds Mission, Wednesbury Mission and Bolton Mission Circuits. In all these his talents as a preacher and pastor won souls for Christ and lifelong friends. In 1957 he was called to the Chair of the Bolton and Rochdale District where his talent for administration quickly established him in the office he was to hold for the next 21 years, making him the longest serving District Chairman of his day. In 1965 Conference elected him President, an office he filled with grace and enthusiasm. In the same year Manchester University honoured him with a Master’s degree for services to the Church and community in Bolton. In 1966 he was called to the Leeds District as Chairman. 

He was a member of the committee for Anglican-Methodist Union Conversations and founder-chairman of the Sector Ministers’ Committee. In both of these he was an ardent and eloquent advocate for the cause he supported. Wherever he served, his concern for his brother ministers and for ecumenical relations was never in word only, but in many thoughtful deeds. 

His wife Laura, from his home village, supported him in all his work. She died in 1974, Later he married Kathleen, an ordained minister, who when Bill retired in 1978, accepted an appointment in the Bolton Circuit. So he became a Supernumerary and the ‘minister’s husband’ but he asked nothing more than to continue to preach the good news as often as possible and to help wherever he could without intrusion. 

On Easter Day, although far from well, he preached at Delph Hill about his Risen Saviour. He had great sympathy for all in need and always made time to listen. He was a good and gracious man who gave his whole life to building the Kingdom. He died on the 10 May 1979 in the seventy-first year of his age and the forty-eighth year of his ministry.


William was born on 9 April 1909 at Toft Hill, Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham, to parents Matthew, a coal miner, and Florence Mary.

He was President of the Methodist Conference in 1965.

He married Laura A Linsley (1911-1974) in the summer of 1935 in the Auckland Registration district, Co. Durham.

He married Kathleen B Burgess in the summer of 1975 at St Albans, Hertfordshire.

William died on 10 May 1979 in the  Manchester Greater Registration District, Lancashire.


  • Hartley
  • 1931 Redditch
  • 1935 Birmingham Aston
  • 1940 Leeds Mission
  • 1944 Wednesbury Mission
  • 1949 Bolton Mission
  • 1957 Bolton District Chairman
  • 1966 Leeds District Chairman
  • 1978 Bolton (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1979/76

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *