California-Nevada Conference Is Saddened by Death of Bishop Bill Dew

July 15, 2010

SACRAMENTO, CA | July 15, 2010—The California-Nevada Annual Conference today is mourning the loss of Bishop William W. ("Bill") Dew, Jr., who died Wednesday morning after collapsing at his home in Elk Grove.

Bishop Dew leaves his wife of 52 years, Mitzie Eggers Dew, who was his college sweetheart; three children: the Rev. Linda Dew-Hiersoux, pastor of Central United Methodist Church and at The Table (both in Sacramento), William Waldo Dew, III, and Marilyn Jane Dew (along with their spouses); and six grandchildren.
"Bishop Dew was an outstanding pastor, leader, colleague, and friend," said California-Nevada resident bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. "He helped all of those he worked with to act on the possibilities God gives us. In a sermon I fondly remember, he reminded us, 'You can't think your way into new ways of acting, but you can act your way into new ways of thinking.'
"I will miss my friend."
Bill Dew was born in Newport, Kentucky on December 14, 1935 and attended Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky, where he earned an A.B. degree, before attending Drew Theological Seminary. He served a student charge in the New York Conference and graduated from Drew with a Divinity Degree. Elected a probationary member of the Kentucky Annual Conference, he was ordained a deacon by Bishop Raymond Archer, who was serving the faculty at Drew. Dew transferred to the California-Nevada Annual Conference and was ordained an elder by Bishop Donald H. Tippett.
The Rev. Dew served churches in Springville, Lindsay, and Clovis; Epworth UMC in Berkeley; and San Ramon Valley UMC in Alamo, California. He served as a District Superintendent of the Central District, 1979-84.
While in Berkeley, Rev. Dew taught the required course in Polity and Doctrine for United Methodist students who attended Pacific School of Religion.
He received an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Rust College in 1991 and an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Union College in 1992.
The Western Jurisdictional Conference elected him to the episcopacy in 1988, and he was assigned to the Portland Area. Bishop Dew served the Portland Area from 1988 to 1996. He then served the Phoenix Area from 1996 to his retirement in 2004.
California-Nevada Board of Pensions Executive Secretary Grady Knowles, who frequently has cited Bishop Dew's mentorship, said today, "Bill Dew was a wonderful pastor and a profound preacher, but also a great colleague and friend. He saw the Church clearly and loved it anyway. The United Methodist experiment, both locally and much more broadly, has been deeply enriched by his great mind and his even greater heart for all those '...subtle, sneaky reasons we were born a human being and not a chair..'"
Bishop Dew's memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, August 7 at 11 a.m., at Central UMC in Sacramento. Bishop Bruce Blake will officiate.