William “Bill” Leavens’ voice will no longer be heard in this life, but the way he lived will continue to speak to anyone who knew him about what faith in God, love of family and joy of living truly mean.
Those three qualities — faith, love and joy — were constants in Bill’s distinguished and varied career that included Chamber of Commerce director, U.S. Congressional candidate, executive director of Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, Special Olympics and parish manager for St. Margaret Mary’s, Harrisburg, reflecting his core beliefs.
However, Bill would need all those qualities, as well as trust, resilience, determination, hope and humor, to endure the trials of the past six years. He had a bout with cancer, suffered a severe spinal cord injury two years after that and then fought the last eight months against a recurrence of cancer.
As always, Linda, his wife of 37 years, was at his side. The sources of Bill’s pride — children Theresa, William, Christopher and Katherine — were also there. Friends and neighbors gladly pitched in to help the family any way they could.
Linda kept family and friends updated on Bill’s progress and setbacks. Less than two weeks ago, her update was that Bill had decided to leave the hospital and spend whatever time he had left at home with his family. Lest people think that their countless prayers were wasted, she pointed out that familial bonds were strengthened, Bill was well enough to attend the weddings of two of his children, and God’s timing was perfection. “While the answer may not be what we would have hoped for, I do see God at work here,” she wrote.
Bill was overjoyed to return home. “He was smiling from ear to ear as he entered the house and spent much of the evening smiling…,” wrote Linda. He died the following afternoon.
It is a measure of Bill’s faith that he was always prepared to “go home to God.” In fact, his frequent saying during illness was, “There are no bad outcomes here.”
Imagine Bill’s joy and radiant smile when he went home to be with his Father.