William James Cleveland, Jr. was born in Lexington, Kentucky on June 12, 1945, to the late W.J. and Rita D. (Thompson) Cleveland. The family moved to Seattle and from there returned to the South where Bill spent his formative years. He attended Oakwood Academy and earned his high school diploma in 1964. Bill later attended Oakwood College and graduated in August, 1969, with a B.S. in Theology.
Bill was the product of strong ministerial leadership. Following graduation from Oakwood, he followed the pattern of service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church that was set before him by his father, Elder W.J. Cleveland, and his uncles E.E. and Harold J. Cleveland. Bill pastored churches in the Southwest Region and Allegheny East Conferences.
While subsequently working at the Review and Herald Publishing Association, Bill's editing and writing skills were developed, preparing him for future employment in the field of publication editing. He was invited to Oakwood University by then president Dr. Delbert Baker, who was Bill's friend and mentor. The years he spent at his alma mater were his most prolific, and he took great pride in the various publications produced through his department. He also assisted in photography while at Oakwood, and captured many of Oakwood's historic events for posterity. He held the position of Publications Editor until his unexpected death on December 22, 2011.
Bill held his family's Scrabble championship, along with any other board game that required word construction or thoughtful strategic maneuvering. He maintained a passionate love of classical music and avidly collected hundreds of rich and diverse soundtracks. Bill was somewhat of a loner who went quietly about his life and work, but he always had a special place in his heart for young minds, and authored several articles in the Junior Guide and Insight periodicals. When the family was able to get together, he always brought money and gifts to pass around to his nephews and nieces, along with his interest in their lives and words of guidance where needed.
Bill is survived by his siblings: two sisters Celia Marie Cleveland-Waddell and Cynthia Elaine Slack, and one brother Paul Richard Cleveland. He was loved greatly by six nieces and nephews: Marcus Waddell, Paul Richard Cleveland II, Sherrie Marie Waddell, Stephanie Denise Allen, William Earl Cleveland, and Ryan Alexander Slack.
We trust God in all things, and, without question, commit the soul of our brother, uncle, friend and co-worker to God's keeping. Until then, let us live our lives, each day better than the day before, in anticipation of that wonderful moment when death will be no more and we shall see Bill, transformed and whole again. We look forward to that blessed day when all tears will be wiped from our eyes, and we will gather together around the throne of God in the earth made new where our joy and happiness will have no end.
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