Father William Andrew
Mine is the sunlight,
mine is the morning
Born of the one light,
Eden saw play
Praise with elation,
praise every morning
God’s re-creation of
the new day
-An excerpt from
Morning Has Broken, a favorite of Father Bill’s
By Michelle Wagner
simply as “Father Bill” to friends who made up his Outer Banks
family, the Rev. William Stickle of Colington Harbour passed away on
by many as a courageous and kindhearted leader who didn’t hesitate
to challenge authority, he will be most remembered for his gentle and
warm spirit, his devotion to God and church family and his unwavering
compassion and humanity.
who knew Father Bill often referred to him as a man who was ahead of
his time in terms of leadership in the church as well as in his
passion for civil rights. He had a strong conviction in taking care
of the poor and volunteered for many years with Interfaith Community
I loved about Father Bill was that he was so inclusive and it was
clear to me from his words in his homilies that he was so
peace-centered,” said longtime friend Eve Turek, one of his devoted
parishioners who attended his masses at Holy Trinity Catholic Church
in Nags Head and later the weekly masses he celebrated at his home
for a small group of neighbors.
him, peace and justice were always one and the same – justice is to
treat someone with peace and peace meant that everyone is treated
fairly and justly. What I was always drawn to was his heart-centered
frame of mind more so than the Liturgy itself.”
Father Bill is survived by his dear friend, loyal
companion and caregiver Frank Zappulla, Jr. of Kill Devil Hills, his
first cousin Helen Coen of Green Village, N.J., many cousins of his
Devine family, his church family and many friends.
in Philadelphia, Pa., Father Bill is preceded in death by his parents
Margaret Devine Stickle and William Stickle as well as his much
beloved canine buddy, Ali, a boxer he affectionately named after
Bill was divine before he even came into this world,” said
Zappulla, referencing his mother’s maiden name.
as a Dominican at St. Dominic’s Roman Catholic Church in
Washington, D.C. in 1950, Father Bill became the first Roman Catholic
priest at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. in 1959
and was the founding pastor of the university’s St. Thomas Hall.
While there, he led students in efforts to obtain equal rights for
women and African Americans. And he routinely invited nuns to deliver
the sermons at mass during that time, an unprecedented move within
the Catholic Church.
1965, Father Bill took a group of university students to Selma, Ala.
to march with Martin Luther King, Jr. in one of the historic marches
from the Brown A.M.E. Church. Father Bill was honored to shake hands
with and be invited by Dr. King to sit next to him during a gathering
before the march.
Bill served as pastor of Holy Infant Church in Elkton, Va. and then
St. Peter’s Church in Richmond, Va. in the late 1970s. He then
served as hospital chaplain at the Medical College of Virginia
Hospitals and McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond,
colleagues and close friends of U.S. Bishop of Richmond Rev. William
Sullivan, who died in 2012.
Bill retired to the Outer Banks in 1996 but continued celebrating
mass, first at Holy Trinity Catholic Church where he gained a strong
following among parishioners, and then later in his home.
the latter part of his time at Holy Trinity, Turek remembers that one
of his pet projects he succeeded in completing was to raise $5,000
during Lent to “Build an Ark” for Heifer International, a
non-profit organization whose mission is to end world hunger and
poverty as well as care for the Earth.
would always say that Lent wasn’t about giving up something unless
what you were giving up would benefit the poor.”
said that after Hurricane Katrina, Father Bill also raised money
among his small group of parishioners in his home to help those
impacted by the storm and then along with a friend, Rev. Peter Daly
of Prince Frederick, Md., hand delivered the donations to a
during every mass, Turek recalls being touched by Father Bill always
saying these words: “If Jesus is right and God is Father, then it
follows that we are all sisters and brothers to every human being on
the planet, and so we pray to treat all our sisters and brothers as
Jesus would with peace.”
Bill volunteered at ICO since the organization’s inception in 2005
and was named ICO Volunteer of the Year in 2010.
also volunteered at the Wright Brothers National Memorial for many
Bill was an amazing soul and we are so blessed that our life journeys
crossed paths,” said Jenniffer Albenese, ICO executive director.
“He was wise and kind and will be truly missed by many.”
Driver, volunteer coordinator at ICO, describes Father Bill as the
sweetest, kindest man she had ever met. “He was just a good, good
soul. I don’t know what else to say. I just adored him.”
Zappulla said that one of
Father Bill’s favorite charities was Doctors Without Borders. In
lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the charity at
At his request, a simple
service in Father Bill’s backyard will take place at 1 p.m. on Oct.
15. His ashes will be buried near a cherished crucifix that once
stood at his UVA parish but is now in his yard. Family and friends
are invited to share memories and refreshments at that time.
A mass of intention will
be held in Father Bill’s honor at Holy Redeemer by the Sea at 9
a.m. on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016.
Funeral Service, Inc. was entrusted with arrangements. Condolences
may be expressed at www.gallopfuneralservices.com.
Gallop Funeral Services, Inc.
6917 S. Croatan Hwy. Nags Head, NC 27959 252.449.8695