Graveside services for Billy Wills, 92, was conducted Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, at 2 p.m. at Salem Cemetery near Teague.
Visitation was prior to the services from noon. until 1:30 p.m. at Bowers Funeral Home in Teague.
Wills passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Hillcrest in Waco.
Wills was born on May 8, 1927, in Teague. He was the oldest of four children born to Homer Wills and Verna Rackley Wills. He was raised on the family land south of Teague and attended schools in Teague.
He began work at an early age, working at various Teague businesses, including Sheffield Mobil Station and Dow Gulf Station. He worked for Day Whitaker and Joe Walker Construction in Teague and later Brown & Root Construction. Billy worked for 36 years as an equipment operator and diesel mechanic for Fred Owens Construction in Teague. In 1986, after Owen’s retirement, he went to work for Watkins Construction in Corsicana. He retired from Watkins in 1989.
He served in the army from 1950 until 1952 and in the army reserves from 1952 until 1956 in Kansas, Colorado and San Antonio, Texas.
Billy was perhaps best known for his success in bull riding. He began riding at a young age and area newspapers were filled with accounts of his riding success in local rodeos.
In an article in the Teague Chronicle dated July 8, 1954, the account reads, “Billy Wills can be classed as champion material after sitting one out on the deck of a twisting, turning Brahma bull.....Billy made the best ride of the whole show..... He rode the bull past the horn and dismounted standing up as he hit the ground on the run.”
He joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 1947 and rode in many rodeos across Texas and throughout the United States. He was seriously injured in 1949 on a bull ride in Hillsboro and in later years walked with a cane and a limp, which he attributed to his bull riding days.
His greatest pleasure was tending to his cattle on his family land and his dogs. He is perhaps best remembered for riding throughout town with his French poodle in the cab of his old pick-up truck, or with the back of his truck loaded with five dogs and finally with his last and much beloved dog, “Cowboy,” who had a reputation of his own in Teague.
Billy fully enjoyed his 30 years of retirement. He filled those days by getting up, getting dressed and heading down to the coffee shops to drink coffee with his friends. He did this every single day of his retirement until he was no longer able to drive at age
91. After coffee, next on his agenda was heading down to the feed store to swap tales with friends and customers, then it was out to feed cubes to his cows, spilling the cubes out the back of his truck when he was no longer able to lift the feed sacks.
He is survived by his children, Pam Stuver and husband Jeff of Teague, Ricky Wills and wife Missy of Teague and Darrel Johnson of La Marque; grandchildren, Kip Stuver and wife Heather, Kerry Stuver and wife Kristy, Jill Clements and husband Jason, Tanner Wills and fiancé Callie, and Whitney Wills; two half-brothers, Ricky Gene Wills and wife Carolyn, and Larry Wills and wife Becky; numerous great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Wills was preceded in death by one son, Billy Don Wills; parents, Homer Wills and Verna Rackley Wills; one brother, Fred Wills; and two sisters, Maxine Fogleman, and Helen Graves.
In Lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials are made to the Salem Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 105, Teague, Texas 75860.
Please visit our website at www.bowersfuneralhome.net to sign the memorial guestbook or to leave a message for the family.
Bowers Funeral Home
900 US HWY 84 W
Teague, Texas 75860