Flora Dalton, a retired nurse, established with the Kentucky Baptist Foundation the Flora Elizabeth Dalton & Joel Dean Wilson Memorial Fund as a tribute to her late son, who died of cancer July 2005 at age 64. This endowment will serve as a perpetual legacy to Flora’s love for Christ and His mission in this world, to her love for her son and his “heart for serving Jesus Christ.”
According to Flora, who died in February 2009, Joel’s life of service could be summed up with these three Christian service words: student, servant, and steward. Growing up in a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio Joel walked to church alone because his parents had to work to provide for the family. In response to God’s call at age 15, Joel began his preparation for ministry while still in high school. Later he graduated from Bob Jones University and Arlington Baptist Seminary. He was ordained to the gospel ministry by Grace Baptist Church in 1971.
Throughout his adult life, Joel utilized with a passion the gifts with which God had endowed him in a variety of full-time and bi-vocational ministries, including music, pastoral, Christian education, coaching and church planting. He was involved in starting new churches and Christian schools in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina. His life of service extended beyond churches into the communities where he lived. For 19 years, through Louisville, Kentucky’s Metro Housing Authority’s Iroquois Homes, he sought to improve the living conditions, provide a safe environment, secure job training, start a GED program and continuing education classes and sports leagues for low income residents. He served as a Legislative District Chairman for the Republican Party and a past president of the Optimist Club.
What motivated Joel to a life of self sacrifice in the cause of the gospel were not the many accolades he received but the heavenly treasures he laid up as a firm foundation for the coming age so he could take hold of the life that is truly life.
The KBF is honored to be the fiduciary in perpetuating the Christian legacies of this mother and son through these important ministries: Oneida Baptist Institute (Kentucky), Clear Creek Baptist Bible College (Kentucky), St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital (Tennessee) and Camp Kudzu (Georgia).
Barry Allen first met Flora Dalton of Kennesaw, Georgia by telephone. Her nephew, Jim Cordell, who had retired as the KBC Church Music Department Director, referred her to the KBF to assist in the establishment of an endowment fund to honor the legacy of her son, Joel. Five months later her daughter-in-law, Mary Wilson, a member of Louisville’s Shawnee Baptist Church, brought her to the KBF office for a visit.
During the five months between the phone call and the visit, Laurie Valentine, KBF trust counsel, and President Barry Allen worked with Flora and her financial and estate planning adviser to establish the endowment fund. She was fulfilling a stewardship plan she and Joel had intended to fulfill together before he died. In addition to the gift of appreciated stock, which she used to establish the fund, she made periodic additional gifts during her lifetime and she designated the endowment as the beneficiary of a portion of her estate at her death. She also gave the proceeds from the sale of the car, which would have been her son’s had he lived until his planned retirement date. In the note she sent which accompanied the check, she stated, “I thank God that He has enabled me to do all the things I have done.”
What a joy it is to see how God used this wonderful Christian businesswoman, mother, grandmother and mother-in-law in service to Him.