Cover photo for William Hester Aiken, Jr.'s Obituary
William Hester Aiken, Jr. Profile Photo
1939 William (Bill) Hester Aiken, Jr. 2023

William Hester Aiken, Jr.

September 6, 1939 — December 19, 2023

LYNCHBURG

William (Bill) Hester Aiken, Jr., 84, formerly of Rustburg, VA, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, in hospice care at Westminster Canterbury, Lynchburg VA with his devoted wife Lucy by his side.

Bill was born in Richmond VA on September 6, 1939, to William and Jean Aiken. He graduated from Douglas S. Freeman High School and attended Ferrum College for 2 years, and then went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Bridgewater College in 1962. After graduation, he enlisted in the army for 3 years and was stationed at Fort Benning GA and then in Landstuhl, Germany, where he drove an ambulance for the large army hospital. Knowing he eventually wanted to pursue a profession devoted to helping people with personal difficulties, Bill spoke with an officer administrator about transferring to a job more in line with his career interests. He was moved to a unit where he worked with soldiers having problems adjusting to military life. He primarily conducted assessment interviews but also provided some individual, group, and family counseling. Those experiences laid the foundation for a lifelong career in social work.

When he returned to VA, Bill obtained work at Beaumont School for Boys in Powhatan VA and worked there for 3 years. During that time, he met and married Lucy Booth of Farmville in 1968. He applied and was accepted in Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville, KY. The couple moved to Kentucky where he earned a Master of Science in Social Work in 1970. He and Lucy then returned to Virginia where Bill worked for Family Service of Central VA in Lynchburg. He became Executive Director and also acquired state licensure as an LCSW. In 1983 Bill started work with Campbell County Social Services where he provided family counseling until his retirement in 2003. He also taught college courses as an adjunct faculty member at Sweet Briar, Longwood, and VCU. Post retirement, he continued providing clinical supervision for individuals pursuing licensure as social workers and volunteered as a mentor for youth in the Campbell County Schools. In 2017, he was awarded the Ferrum College Distinguished Alumni Award.

A man of deep faith, Bill established a positive relationship with the church at an early age. As a boy, he was drawn to participate in worship, Sunday school and group activities at a church near his home and was baptized there. He valued the interest the pastor and members showed in him and they became mentors and role models. During college and later in the army, he continued regular church attendance and once during his time at Ft. Benning, he was invited by a church member who ministered to prisoners at the regional jail to accompany him there, an experience that moved him deeply. In Germany, he enjoyed attending church services on the base and shared relationships with clergymen who counselled some of the same hospital patients Bill worked with. He called these army associates, “good Christian Brothers.”

After moving to Lynchburg, Bill and Lucy joined St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, and after moving to Rustburg, they became members of New Concord Presbyterian Church. Bill became involved with the lay preacher program in Presbytery of the Peaks. Upon completion, he began preaching at a number of small churches in central Virginia. He also served as Sunday school teacher, deacon, and elder. He and Lucy later moved their membership to Rivermont Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg.

A lifelong sports enthusiast, Bill competed as a teen and young adult in baseball, football, basketball, and tennis, and later enjoyed attending live competitions at the high school, college and professional level. He attended professional sports events in major US cities and acquired an impressive collection of sports memorabilia. Later on, when traveling to events became difficult, he was fond of keeping up with his favorite teams on TV, discussing the latest results, and having some good-natured banter with family and friends.

Bill loved traveling and learning about new people and places. He and Lucy visited all 50 states and numerous foreign countries. He was a music lover and from an early age had great fun imitating favorite singers with his friends and later enjoyed singing karaoke. Always interested in history, social issues, and important current affairs, Bill remained eager to acquire and discuss new ideas. When he and Lucy moved from Rustburg to Westminster Canterbury in March 2022, he quickly made new friends, attended a course on climate change, and participated in a writing group where members shared and received feedback about each other’s work.

Bill is survived by his wife of 55 years, Lucy; 2 sisters, Mary Reynolds (Phil) of Rockport TX and Ellen Aiken (David Hunt) of Roanoke; nieces Audrey Reynolds of Asheville NC, Paige Reynolds of Austin TX, and nephew Brent Reynolds of Oklahoma City OK; great nephew Connor Ryan and great niece Caroline Ryan, both of Texas. Bill also leaves behind a large number of cousins and friends with

whom he shared a long-standing bond and many vacations, reunions, and holiday get-togethers. Reminiscing about these experiences gave him great pleasure and he was known for his remarkable memory for details about people and events.

The family thanks the healthcare and rehab workers at Westminster Canterbury and Westminster at Home, Home Health and Hospice for their wonderful care and support. A private burial has been planned. The family invites everyone to a memorial service at Rivermont Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg VA on Friday December 22,2023 at 1:00PM. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Development Office of Westminster Canterbury for the Employee Assistance Fund, 501 VES Road Lynchburg VA 24503 or Rivermont Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 2424 Rivermont Ave, Lynchburg VA 24503.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Hester Aiken, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Friday, December 22, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Rivermont Evangelical Presbyterian Church

2424 Rivermont Ave, Lynchburg, VA 24503

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