Mark Allen McWilliams

Mark Allen McWilliams

The funeral arrangements for Mark Allen McWilliams, the pastor of Starrville Methodist Church in Winona who was killed Jan. 3, have been set. 

Visitation for McWilliams, 62, of Frankston, will be held at 1 p.m. followed by a funeral service at 2 p.m. on Monday at Starrville Methodist Church, 17339 FM 16, with Reverend Rod Sanford officiating. The burial will be at Starrville Cemetery following the service.

McWilliams was killed and two others, including his wife Rosemary and church member Mike Sellars, were injured before Sunday services on Jan. 3. 

Police said Mytrez Deunte Woolen, who was hiding in the church bathroom from police, took McWilliams’ gun. The pastor died at the church.

Woolen, 21, of Woolen, remains in the Smith County Jail on charges of capital murder by terror threat or other felony, aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the incident. His bonds total $3.5 million.

According to McWilliams' obituary, he was born in Amarillo and he was a licensed minister through International Ministerial Fellowship. He retired from the Department of Energy, Pantex plant in Amarillo after approximately 20 years of service.

In Bullhead City, Arizona, he worked as a hospice chaplain ministering to those who had six months or less to live.

"He loved the people and ministered with heartfelt compassion," obituary stated. 

McWilliams also preached at various churches in Amarillo. 

In 2017, Mark and Rosemary McWilliams moved to the East Texas area. He accepted a pastor position at Starrville Methodist Church in June 2019. They started a community prayer service each Tuesday January last year. 

Mark McWilliams is survived by his wife, a brother Laine McWilliams, a niece and nephew, both of Amarillo, Alyssa Jenkins and Dustin McWilliams, and a great niece Makala Robertson.

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I came to the Tyler Morning Telegraph in September 2019. I report on crime, courts, breaking news and various events in Tyler and East Texas.