Iowa Man Killed in Philippines Blast
MELANIE S. WELTE
Mar. 05, 2003
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Barbara Brooker says her brother always knew the dangers of being a missionary in the Philippines. But he felt he had a calling to do the work, and he loved working with children, whatever the risk.
William P. Hyde, 59, a native of Shellsburg, died Tuesday in the blast that killed at least 20 others at the Philippines' Davao airport. He was the fourth Southern Baptist missionary killed overseas in terrorist attacks in recent months.
``They really knew it was not safe,'' Brooker said of her brother, just hours after learning of his death. ``We've always been afraid of the danger. My mother always worried that we would get a call some day.''
Bill and Lyn Hyde had been missionaries since 1978, spending the last six or seven years in Davao, a city on the island of Mindanao. The Filipino government has been fighting Muslim rebels on Mindanao, the country's main southern island, for more than three decades.
Brooker and her husband, Dick, spoke to Lyn Hyde by telephone Tuesday morning and talked about the bombing. Bill Hyde had gone to the airport to pick up another missionary family when the bomb went off.
Authorities said the bomb was hidden in a backpack left at the airport. Brooker said Lyn Hyde theorized that someone set the backpack down next to her husband because he was an obvious American target.
``In the Philippines, he would stick out. He's a very big man,'' Brooker said.
Hyde died in surgery from severe head and leg injuries, according to the Richmond-based International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Nearly 150 people were injured, including missionary Barbara Wallis Stevens, 33, of Willard, Mo., who was wounded by shrapnel in her left side and foot. Her 10-month-old son, Nathan, was seriously injured with shrapnel in the liver.
The U.S. government called the bombing a ``brazen act of terrorism.'' In another recent attack, a suspected Islamic militant killed three workers at a Southern Baptist hospital in Yemen on Dec. 30.
The Hydes' two sons, Tim and Steve, were being flown to Davao to be with their mother, said the Rev. Ross Robinson, minister of missions and evangelism with Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, where the Hydes were members.
Steve Hyde is also a missionary, in Cambodia, Robinson said.
The Hydes returned to the United States every five years. They spent most of their last furlough, from May 2001 to June 2002, living in a church-owned home in Plano, Robinson said.
He described Hyde as ``fun-loving, happy, always smiling. A very warm, very tenderhearted man.''
Friends in Iowa echoed Robinson's kind words.
``He was a really good guy, just kind of a big fellow, kind of the teddy bear type. Kind, gentle and always smiling,'' said the Rev. David Miller, pastor of Northbrook Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids, where Hyde had spoken.
``The irony of a man that sweet and kind being killed in an act of terror and hatred is just really sad,'' said Miller, president of the Baptist Convention of Iowa.
Miller said the Hydes had been close friends with missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham, of Wichita, Kan., who were kidnapped by the Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf. Martin Burnham was killed and his wife was wounded during a rescue operation in June 2002.
Another friend, Marion Livingston, of Cedar Rapids, said Bill Hyde loved to sing and enjoyed playing golf.
``He loved the Lord and loved the Filipino people,'' Livingston said. ``If he had to die, he died doing what he felt the Lord wanted to him to do.''