Local church members say their last goodbyes to 3 pastors killed - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Local church members say their last goodbyes to three pastors killed


A memorial service was held for Senior Pastor Terry Whitley and his wife, Associate Pastor Janice Whitley.

Pastor Terry Whitley founded Grace Christian Center church more than 30 years ago.

The church held a viewing for pastor and Killeen Fire Chaplain Steve Timmerman Wednesday evening. Killeen's fire chief remembers Pastor Timmerman as a comfort to firefighters and church members.

"Just like today, laying in that casket he looked so good in that uniform," said Killeen Fire Department Chief Jerry D. Gardner. "In my 31 years of service as a firefighter, I don't know that I've known anyone that loved putting their uniform on as much or more than pastor Steve."

The chief was one among many who saw Pastor Timmerman for the last time today, but even on this day, they remember him smiling.

"He was just a very joyful person," said Grace Christian church member Brian Worley. "It didn't matter what was going on. When I walked through those doors he was smiling every single Sunday, every Wednesday, every night."

One member says he brought that same joy, even to hospital doors.

"I was in the hospital for like a week, twice actually I was in the hospital and both times he came to visit me and he just came there and talked to me," said Marcus Parker. "It was like he wanted to be there, it wasn't like he was there because he had to be there."

When one young girl was asked how she felt about "Pastor Steve" she said she felt like he was related to her.

When asked, how so? Victoria, the young girl replied, "Like he was my daddy."

Earlier today, more than a thousand gathered in the Killeen Civic and Community Center ballroom to remember Pastor Terry Whitley and his wife, Associate Pastor Janice Whitley.

All three pastors were killed in a car crash coming home from the airport last Thursday. Pastor Steve Timmerman picked up the Whitley's from the airport in Austin.

The Whitley's were returning from a missionary trip in Bulgaria.  Pastor Timmerman had a officiated the marriage of a Killeen firefighter that day. Although three lives ended that night, Parker says one thing will carry on, their spirit.

"Through this strategy we've all just come together to worship God harder than before."   

The church asked that in lieu of flowers, people can donate to the Grace Christian Center's missions fund at Grace Christian Center Missions Fund, 1401 E. Elms Road, Killeen, TX 76542.

A fund for Steve Timmerman has been set up at the National Bank of Central Texas. If you would like to donate to the fund, you can contact the bank. The account number is 1211468.

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