Born: January 21, 1870, Marion, New York.
Died: July 29, 1957, Pittsburg, Kansas.
Buried: Oakwood Cemetery, Baldwin City, Kansas.
William was the son of Methodist minister William White Runyan and Hannah O. Runyan, and husband of Lena Knapp.
He showed an interest in music when very young, and by age 12 often served as church organist.
He became a Methodist minister at 21, and held various pastorates in Kansas, 1891–1903. He was appointed evangelist for the Central Kansas Methodist Conference, and served for some 20 years.
Runyan wrote his first Gospel song in 1915 and was greatly encouraged by Daniel Towner of the Moody Bible Institute.
In 1924, Runyan went to John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas.
He served as pastor of the Federated Church, and editor of the Christian Workers Magazine.
Moving to Chicago, Illinois, he was associated with the Moody Bible Institute, and was an editor for Hope Publishing Company until retiring in 1948.
He received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Wheaton College, Illinois, in 1948.