It is to our collective memory of Bill Fleming and how he touched each of us in our own way, along with all that he accomplished and stood for, that this site is lovingly dedicated. Michael Bernard
A Life of Service: William Edwin Fleming
Given by our Lord on May 28, 1919
Received by our Lord on November 29, 2001
William ("Bill") Edwin Fleming was born on May 28, 1919, in Bladenboro, North Carolina, the second-born of twins, to William Ezra and Flora Frink Fleming, who would eventually parent five children: an older son, Robert James, Bill's twin, Wilton, and two younger daughters, Rachel and Julia.
Bill's father, William, graduated with a degree in Education from Wake Forest College (Baptist), and began his teaching career in Bladenboro where he met his wife-to-be, Flora Frink, a graduate of Trinity College (Methodist), the precursor to Duke University, North Carolina, with a degree in music.
Soon, following the birth of the twins, William accepted the principalship of Fuquay Springs School. It was in Fuquay Springs that childhood memories for Bill were forged. The family attended a small Baptist Church which entertained a "Preaching Sunday" twice per month. On "Non-Preaching Sundays" the family attended the Methodist Church. Flora played the piano for Worship in their home Church, while father William taught Sunday School and presided as S.S. superintendent. Each year their church hosted a weeklong Revival, as did other local Churches. Periodically all of the Churches combined to host an evangelist in a vacant tobacco warehouse. A favorite and frequent evangelist was the Rev. Jimmy Johnson, most likely under whose preaching Bill surrendered his life to Christ.
During Bill's school years he would go out for the "big three": football, basketball, and baseball (where he proved a gifted catcher). During the summers Bill and his brothers worked for local building contractors to generate needed income. In 1927 his father had a two-story home built on property that would include woods and garden space.
The fall of 1938 found Bill attending North Carolina State College in Raleigh, majoring in Agricultural Education. By taking ROTC during college, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant upon graduation in 1943. Following six weeks of "Student Teaching," (to complete his teaching credential) Bill was assigned to Wright Field Air Base in Dayton, Ohio, to work in the Equipment Laboratory. It was there that he rendezvoused with a Ms. Emma Reitz in the Personnel Office, initiating a courtship, which would eventuate in marriage on August 5, 1944.
Following four years of service, and a stint at playing baseball in Japan, Bill would settle with Emma in Oakland, working at first in sales, and later in partnership with Emma in the beginning phases of a printing business, which would become their lifelong career.
As life unfolded, two daughters, Karen and Debra, would be born into their home on Golden Gate Avenue, before the construction of their new home in 1960, on Margarido Drive. Bill loved traveling and spending vacations with his family in the mountains and at the seashore.
Beyond his work, Bill participated in study and leadership positions at College Avenue Presbyterian Church, Gideons International and was a faithful member of North Oakland/Emeryville Rotary.
Bill will be remembered for a "quiet presence." His gentleness conveyed respect for others and a steadfastness that was grounded in his life-long conviction that Christ was Lord, and worthy of all praise.