Contact: Dorinda Beeley, or (404) 530-9797, for media inquiries.


COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, August 4, 2017 – William (Bill) Dickson (61) passed away in a car accident on Wednesday, August 2 after his car hit a tree while traveling on Highway 101 in Northern California.

Bill is best known for his pioneering work using database technology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and digital publishing for the cause of global mission. Bill was instrumental in supporting hundreds of organizations globally in their use of technology in the early days of the digital era. Some of those included the International Mission Board, World Vision, Lausanne, COMIBAM (the Latin American mission association), The Comission (an effort to engage the former Soviet Union when the Berlin Wall fell), MANI (Movement for African National Initiatives), and many others. He also helped create the digital versions of products such as Operation World, Peoples of the Buddhist World, the North American Mission Handbook, Operation China, and The Future of the Global Church.

When he died, Bill was serving with LightSys Technology Services as Director of Strategic Technology. Early on he managed the Computer Center and Telecom departments of the US Center for World Mission (USCWM) in Pasadena, California. For much of his career he served as chief technologist and later as Vice President for Research and Development (1991-2011) for GMI (Global Mapping International). Bill also served as GMI's Interim President for 9 months in 2012 after Mike O’Rear died unexpectedly.

Bill graduated from the University of California, Davis in 1977 with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. During college Bill was very involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. After working for a consulting engineering firm in Palo Alto for four years, he began volunteering for GMI's founder Bob Waymire, the Director of Research at OC International at the time. Bill was also deeply influenced by his time at USCWM and through the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course he took in 1982.

He is survived by his wife Linda and his two sons, David and Jonathan. He was deeply involved in his church in Colorado Springs, Covenant Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder.

His passion for missions can best be summed up in his own words, "I believe that we have an enemy who likes to muddle communication and confuse efforts to take news of the Kingdom to the ends of the earth. I believe that good research, done cooperatively, is like turning on the lights in a dark room, and that instead of stumbling over each other in the dark, Kingdom workers can develop trust and begin moving together with clarity and purpose."

"If you have stories or memories you would like to share about Bill, we would appreciate hearing from you and will pass those on to his family," says Dorinda Beeley of LightSys. Stories and photos can be emailed to

A memorial service for William Eugene Dickson will be held on Saturday, August 12th at 1pm at the West Valley Presbyterian Church, 6191 Bollinger Road, Cupertino, California.

In memory of Bill's passions and life's work, contributions may be made to LightSys Technology Services, Save the Redwoods League, Covenant Presbyterian Church Missions Department, West Valley Presbyterian Church Missions Department, or the charity of your choice.

LightSys Technology Services is a fellowship of Christians dedicated to partnering with other mission organizations in the evangelization of the world by providing IT consulting, training, software development, and missions mobilization. LightSys desires to equip missions and missionaries with the technology needed to fulfill their calling.

Bill and Linda Dickson

Bill and Linda Dickson

LightSys staff and former GMI staff contributed to this article.
(04-Aug: article edited to correct Bill's graduation date from 1973 to 1977)