I was saddened this morning to learn of Wilbur Fields’ passing, and I’m confident generations of Ozark students will share memories like mine:
- I took my first Ozark class, OT History at 7 a.m., with Wilbur Fields, and I remember a man so deeply saturated in Scripture that he could tell Bible stories as if he’d been there. (His crackling voice, animated delivery, piano-playing hymns and memorable phrases—“the Dead Sea is shaped like a hot dog that a rat took a bite of”—are seared into my memory.)
- I worked right outside Wilbur’s open office door for two years, and I remember a man so deeply connected to Jesus that he had out-loud conversations with him daily. (His office looked like an archaeological dig, and more than once I heard him rummaging, “Now, Lord, where did I put that pencil?”)
- I served with Wilbur in elementary age weeks of camp, and I remember a man so humble and childlike that the kids followed him like a Pied Piper through the woods as he pointed out fauna and flora. (When Chris DeWelt was an Ozark student, Wilbur showed him the gingko tree by the Missions Building, “Brother Chris, I wanted this tree planted here because the way the leaf functions is a clear argument against evolution and a testament to Creation.”)
- I took my Life Group guys to visit Brother Fields in Spring River Village, and I remember a man so knowledgeable and intelligent that these Ozark students sat enthralled as he walked them through from memory his archaeological digs and their biblical significance. (They were surprised by his still intact sense of humor. At Anna Wilson’s funeral, when the prodigious Wilson family all walked in, Wilbur leaned over and said in what he thought was a whisper, “Dozens of cousins!”)
You were a blessing and a joy, Wilbur, and I am grateful for your example of faithfulness to Jesus, his Word, and his Church. I’m glad you now get to be with your Lord and your Louise. We appreciated you, dear brother.