Perkins Mourns the Death of Dr. William J. “Billy” Abraham

It is with profound sadness that Perkins School of Theology announces the sudden death of Dr. William J. “Billy” Abraham on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021.

A memorial service for Dr. William J. “Billy” Abraham will be held Saturday, Oct. 30 at 10 a.m. at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas (3300 Mockingbird Ln, Dallas, TX 75205), where he was a Sunday School teacher for many years.  For those unable to attend in person, the service will be livestreamed here.  A reception will follow in the church’s Great Hall.


Dr. Abraham, 73, died suddenly on Thursday, Oct. 7.  Read his full obituary here.

Professor Emeritus of Wesley Studies at Perkins School of Theology-Southern Methodist University, Dr. Abraham—who retired in May 2021—was the Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies from 1995-2021. He joined the Perkins faculty on Sept. 1, 1985, as the McCreless Associate Professor of Evangelism and the Philosophy of Religion under the leadership of then-Dean James Kirby and Provost Hans Hillerbrand.


“For almost four decades, Billy Abraham’s scholarship and commitment to excellence impacted the lives of countless Perkins students, colleagues, and others across the globe,” said Perkins Dean Craig C. Hill.  “He was a Christ-bearer, both in the academy and in the local church—to which he was profoundly committed—and his death is a tremendous loss to Perkins and to the wider community. Our heartfelt prayers are with his family at this time.”


“Billy Abraham was a scholar known for his academic rigor, a professor known for his energy and his brilliance, and an intellectual known for his ability to hold a thoughtful conversation with those of opposite opinions,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His legacy of kind graciousness will live on in his students and his many friends.”


A clergy member of Rio Texas Annual Conference (formerly the Southwest Texas Annual Conference), Dr. Abraham transferred his membership in 1990 from the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, where he was ordained Deacon in 1979 and Elder in 1984.


At the time of his death, Dr. Abraham was the inaugural director of the new Wesley House of Studies at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary.


He is survived by his wife, Muriel;  a daughter, Siobhan;  and a son, Shaun. Another son, Timothy, died in 2012.

A Memorial Fund has been created to perpetuate Dr. Abraham’s missionary, intellectual, and spiritual legacy. In lieu of flowers, donations to be sent to Billy Abraham Memorial Fund care of Siobhan Abraham, 6214 East Lovers Lane, Dallas, Texas 75214.


Tributes and Features:  William J. Abraham

    • Obituary:  William J. Abraham, December 19, 1947 - October 7, 2021

    • Remembering William J. Abraham (1947–2021) (Eerdmans Blog, James Ernest, vice president and editor-in-chief at Eerdmans)

    • Billy Abraham, traditionalist scholar, dies (United Methodist News Service, Sam Hodges) 

    • Α Giant Has Fallen: On the Passing of William J. Abraham (Dr. David F. Watson, Firebrand Magazine)  

Read More About Billy Abraham: