Billie George Mathis was born April 21, 1933 in Albany, TX to Benjamin Milton and Della Aubry (Ragsdale) Mathis. On Feb. 21, 2021, he passed quietly and peacefully at his home surrounded by loving hands.
A service will be held Thursday, Feb. 25, at 10:00 a.m. at Bell Cypert Seale Chapel officiated by Pastor Misty Thomason. Interment will follow at Albany Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Bell Cypert Seale Funeral Home.
He married John “Johnny” Nell Johnson on Sept. 12, 1952 in Houma, LA. She preceded him in death bringing an end to their loving 59-year marriage. Together they raised a son, daughter, and a whole crew of grandkids that lovingly called them Pabear and Mabear.
He found love once again and married Darlene Kirkpatrick of Tyler, Texas on Jan. 11, 2014. Darlene and Billie found each other at the Albany High School Reunion, rekindling a youthful, childhood love. Darlene and her children Sharla and Billy joined the Mathis clan.
He is survived by his wife of seven years, Darlene Kirkpatrick; his son Nathan and wife Cindy Mathis of Snyder; his daughter Denby and husband Barry Chaney of Star; four grandchildren Machea and Gabriel Hernandez, Heath and Tyra Mathis, Aubrey and Duke Washmon, and Misty and Joe Thomason; 11 great grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews he loved dearly.
He is preceded in death by his brothers Bob, Diamond, Dave, and Joe; his sister Le May; and his granddaughter Monica Chaney.
After entering this world at just two pounds, he spent his first weeks in a shoebox by the stove, and they were not sure he would make it. He survived and made the most of every minute of his almost 88 year run.
Maybe that is where he got his award-winning sense of humor. He grew up in Albany where he spent his entire school career and graduated high school and often appeared in the Fandangle.
His first job was with Street Investment Oil Company where his father worked. He worked there for 20 years as a roustabout and pumper.
He was a Korean Vet enlisted 1953-1955; he also served in the reserves until 1961. During his time in the military, his oilfield experience of knowing how to run a winch line landed him and his buddy, Heely, a stint in the Black Forest of Germany and of the 40,000 miles they traveled around in a tank retriever. He said Stuttgart was the prettiest place he ever saw.
After his time in the military, he attended Ranger Junior College and Western Texas College, earning his Associates degree using the GI Bill.
“Willie” or “Willie Boss” moved to Snyder in 1965 and was a pumper for Texaco for 29 and a half years where he retired. He was a fisherman for life. He was also a lifetime member of the Masonic Lodge, Shriners, IOOF Lodge, and the VFW.
During his time in Snyder, his children grew up, got married, and he began his most prized career of Pabear.
He was a jokester who spent his time telling stories and making people laugh, a trait the Mathis clan all inherited. He always had a mint, toothpick, football shaped coin purse, and a bear hug that was uniquely his.
A visitation will be held on Thursday, Feb. 25 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at Bell Cypert Seale.
Special thank you to those who spent many hours of care: Teresa Lopez, Rosa Gonzales, Vicky Gonzalez, and Cogdell Home Health & Hospice. The family requests donations to the Permian Basin Honor Flight, PO Box 52890 Midland TX 79710. PD