UPDATED BREAKING NEWS: Well-known retired minister killed in head-on crash

Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Billy Ed Hostettler was widely known in the Greene County area for his homespun folksy way of making people understand the love of God and basic Christian principals. (Greene County Daily World file photo by Nick Schneider)

Well-known retired minister Billy Ed Hostettler, of rural Bloomfield, died in a two-vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon on State Road 45 in Monroe County, about one-fourth mile east of the Greene County line.

Hostettler, driving a 2006 Honda Accord, was traveling westbound and for unknown reasons veered left of center and struck a 2000 Kia Sportage head-on, driven by Wanda Deckard, 71, of Solsberry, according to Monroe County Sheriff Department Lt. David Goodrich.

Hostettler died at the scene of the 1:13 p.m. accident, located west of Breeden Road, according to the police report.

Lt. Goodrich said it is believed that Hostettler suffered from a medical condition that caused him to lose control of the vehicle.

He said there were no skid marks leading up to the impact spot, which was off of the paved roadway on the shoulder.

Deckard suffered multiple internal injuries -- lower leg injuries, multiple fractures to the hip and lower legs and possible lung injuries.

She was initially treated at Bloomington Hospital and then transferred to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

Her condition is listed as serious.

The investigating officer said there will be an autopsy conducted to determine if a medical condition with Hostettler attributed to the wreck.

"At this point it looks possibly like a medical condition," he told the Greene County Daily World. "Indications are with him going left of center like he did. Impact was on the shoulder of the roadway. The Deckard subject was trying to avoid the crash and was up in the grass when she was struck. It's just unfortunate. It looks like a medical issue caused him to lose of the vehicle where he struck an incoming vehicle head-on."

Hostettler, 82, was widely known in the Greene County area for his homespun folksy way of making people understand the love of God and basic Christian principals.

He's was a pastor for more than four decades, a frequent preacher at weddings and funerals; and someone who has a knack for offering works of encouragement during illness or other troubling times.

Billy Ed -- as he was known by his friends and parishioners completed his second book last October, a nearly five-year project that pulled together some of his favorite pulpit teachings and stories.

Entitled "Reflections from the Heart," the 95-page book contains sermons and newspaper articles written by Hostettler over the years in the Greene County Daily World and the former Bloomfield Evening World.

The book has 37 devotionals penned by Hostettler.

Hostettler said the reason for his second publishing venture is really pretty simply.

"Really it's something for my grandchildren to have," he told the Greene County Daily World for story published shortly after the book was finished.

Billy Ed wrote his first book "From then -- Till now" in February, 2003.

It was a 217-page autobiography dedicated primarily to his family in a effort to help them better understand their father and step-father. He put some of his most vivid thoughts and recollections about growing up in Greene County down on paper in long hand.

Hostettler had been a Christian Church minister for more than 40 years -- since he was ordained in August 1963 -- when he pastored the Crane Village Church. He served as associate chaplain at Bloomington Hospital and chaplain for Bloomington Hospital's Hospice office in Greene County.

Billy Ed spent most of his growing up days near in Greene County -- near Scotland.

After high school graduation, he joined the U.S. Army and then launched a 30-plus years of work at the old Crane Naval Ammunition Depot.

After he entered full-time ministry, he was assigned to churches at Crane Village, Antioch, Bethany, Bloomfield Christian Church (two times) and the Lyons Christian Church (two times).

In his ministry, he preached at more than 700 funerals and 300 weddings.

Funeral arrangements are pending at Jenkins Funeral Home in Bloomfield.

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  • Extremely GREAT Loss to this community. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, prayers for the people in the other car. I will miss you Billy Ed.. I will miss you alot.God Bless

    -- Posted by shelby67 on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 3:39 PM
  • What a great loss to all of us. Condolences to the family.

    -- Posted by Frankly Speaking on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 3:53 PM
  • What a great man and an ICON for Greene County. He married us 38 years ago and we liked to always tell him that what he did 'took'. And he married thousands before and after us. He presided at so many weddings, funerals, baptisms and so much more. A very kind man. He will be greatly missed. I know he had to be happy that he was still actively ministering for Jesus until the time he passed to Glory.

    -- Posted by Christ4U on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 4:07 PM
  • Billy Ed will be missed greatly. He was a wonderful man. I will be praying for all the family.

    -- Posted by lil bug on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 4:39 PM
  • What a great man. He was an inspiration to many and a comfort to scores of people. His smile is what I will always remember. My condolences to the family. Hopefully someone will read "the poem" at his services to comfort his family.

    -- Posted by drivin'missdaisy on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 5:08 PM
  • He will be missed! He was a wonderful person.

    -- Posted by greenecounty21 on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 5:19 PM
  • Such a great man! He will be truly missed by many!

    -- Posted by blfdhilltop on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 5:29 PM
  • awww, I hate to hear that! But we all know where he is now tho, don't we? He has reached his goal!

    -- Posted by lacydee on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 5:30 PM
  • Billy Ed has been a wonderful example of what a Christian should be. He has married, baptized, and did many funeral services for the people in the area. Billy will be greatly missed by all but we know he is in Heaven now. Our prayers go out to Ms. Deckard and family and pray that she will be okay.

    Signed by a person who has been baptized and had Billy for my dad's funeral. Billy was always there.

    -- Posted by mamacha on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 5:44 PM
  • I am sure of this....at 1:13 pm today, the Good LORD uttered these words, "WELL DONE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT!" and B.E. entered the Kingdom of Heaven! I cried when I heard the news. Disbelief, shock and "why?" entered my thoughts. After praying, I know that it was time for B.E.'s work here on earth to be done....and now he is reaping his just rewards!!!! Although my words pale in comparison to the LORD's......"Well done, B.E., Well done!"

    Please pray for Wanda Deckard and for Mary Ruth and the family!

    -- Posted by on the Blood trail on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 5:56 PM
  • Billy Ed was the kindest most generous man I have ever met. I was blessed with being able to work with him and I am a better person because of him. He will be truly missed by me and this community. God has gained one Amazing Angel!!!

    -- Posted by mdewolf on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 6:22 PM
  • I remember his words at my dad's funeral several years back. My dad was an avid fisherman. At the conclusion of Dad's service, Billy Ed said, "It looks like the Lord caught a big one today." Well I can guarantee that God has caught an even bigger fish in Billy Ed! You just don't find many people like Billy Ed in this society anymore. Although a loss for those of us in this community, a BIG WIN for our Lord! Again, "Well done!"

    -- Posted by taximom on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 7:22 PM
  • Crushing loss for the community....For those who did not know him, you really missed out on a great person....Each day is a gift...Hug your kids and call your friends tonight to tell them you love them.

    -- Posted by Gene Hall68 on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 8:24 PM
  • L A, apparently you didn't know Billy Ed. For if you did you would know, that he is in Heaven praying for this woman and sorry for what has happened. Apparently you didn't know him for if you did you would know what a loving kind man he was and what a wonderful family he has left behind. And I'm sure not only is his family grieving the loss of their beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend but they are also praying for the recovery of Ms. Deckard. To his family, may peace be with you all. Billy Ed stood by lots of people during many different times in their lives, births, deaths, marriages and comittments to God. May Gods grace and love be with you all.

    -- Posted by EHS FAN on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 8:42 PM
  • Thank you to the editor for taking care of a problem before it got out of hand. And EHS Fan you are right the family is very worried about Mrs. Deckard. Just pray for all the families this accident has touched.

    -- Posted by lil bug on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 9:55 PM
  • Our loss. Heaven's gain. Psalm 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints." Billy Ed, a servant, devoted to God, left a legacy, an example. May his home-going encourage us to remain faithful until we pass from life on earth to life in the presence of God.

    -- Posted by Kay Morrison on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 10:46 PM
  • I have never responded to any story before but I feel I must this time. What a sad day for all of us. We will all miss him, his wonderful stories and that slow southern way of talking and really getting the point across. He was involved in so many things and we had anticipated helping him celebrate his 100th birthday. We pray for all the families involved in this tragedy. To sum it all up: Billy Ed was to Greene County and other counties what Billy Graham is to the world.

    -- Posted by focused on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 5:10 AM
  • Billy Ed touched a lot of souls in his life, mine included. What I will remember most about him was the comfort and support he provided to my family, particularly my father, when my mother passed. Please pray for Ms. Deckard and the families involved in this tragic accident.

    -- Posted by greenetucky on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 6:07 AM
  • It is quite evident that Billy Ed touched many people in his life, and may I request that all of you take a minute to send up a prayer for my aunt Wanda Deckard, as she is also important to many people and is in very serious condition. I know that is what Billy Ed would want. Our prayers are going out to his family as well. God Bless.

    -- Posted by too close to the scene on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 7:59 AM
  • My thoughts and prayers to Wanda Deckards family. I know Billy Ed would be beside himself knowing she's injured and I'm positive he's lifting up prayers to his lord for her recovery.

    -- Posted by shelby67 on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 8:18 AM
  • This is such a tragedy. My heart goes out to Billy Ed's family..and to my cousin Wanda who is in very serious condition.The peculiar thing about this is Billy Ed had just been to Bloomington hospital to vist my "Aunt Wanda" Please keep all families in your prayers.

    -- Posted by shadows on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 9:00 AM
  • And yes "too close to the scene" Wanda is very special and important to all of her family and the community. Larry,Gary,Joe,Wade and Theresa, my prayers are with you.

    -- Posted by shadows on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 9:08 AM
  • Thank you for all of the prayers for my Granny, Wanda Deckard. We do appreciate everyone's care & concern. We believe everything happens for a reason & know the Lord will bring us through whatever His will is. We are also praying for the family of Billy Ed in their time of sorrow.

    -- Posted by CMM on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 10:03 AM
  • Does anyone know how to get a copy of his books? I am especially interested in "From then to now", I would love to hear his history of living in Greene County.

    -- Posted by Dogwood on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 1:46 PM
  • You can get his books on Amazon.com

    -- Posted by shelby67 on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 1:58 PM
  • As a fellow associate chaplain at Bloomington Hospital I was privileged to know and be graced by Billy Ed in so many ways. The thing that always impressed me was just how many people knew and loved him as a favorite pastor, not just in Greene County, but far and wide. I know for sure this is exactly how Billy Ed would have wanted to go, in the saddle doing his work with his boots on. I also know that he as much as any of us would be greatly saddened that someone was injured on his way to Glory. We will keep Wanda in our prayers.

    -- Posted by joylawler on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 2:18 PM
  • he will be missed by all!

    -- Posted by notdumb on Fri, Aug 7, 2009, at 6:05 AM
  • Billy Ed; Wayne Deckard; Tommy Souders were one and all great suppporters of the human spirit who made the room, job , and world a better place to live.

    I count myself as fortunate in knowing him and learning from him. His family should understand where Billy Ed is now is the golden place he preached about in his sermons.

    From knowning him I agree with others, that right now he is bending the Almighty's ear about healing Ms Deckard before moving onto other things.

    -- Posted by SONNY_CLINE on Fri, Aug 7, 2009, at 6:24 AM
  • My condolences to Billy's family...you are wonderful people who follow the example of an extraordinary man. He will be greatly missed and my prayers are with you.

    Rob Hudson

    -- Posted by RHudson on Fri, Aug 7, 2009, at 1:24 PM
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