“Her children rise up and call her blessed.”
Blessed. That is the perfect word to describe Billie Jo Gregory. She was blessed, and she lived to be a blessing to others. She was a daughter, a sister, a wife, an auntie, a grandma, a great-grandma, a great-great grandma, and a friend. We are rising to call her blessed, because we are the fortunate ones who called her mom. We are her daughters, Kathy and Connie and we are privileged to tell you about this amazing woman.
Billie Jo was the first child born to Reese and Dorothy Rodenberg. Her birth took place in Luling, Texas on the 23rd of September 1938. Because her Daddy was an oil man, she grew up relocating frequently and making new friends wherever she found herself. She maintained high marks in school, although her position as the eldest of four children required her to take on more responsibilities than most girls her age. Billie was a musical young lady who enjoyed playing piano and singing. Her beautiful voice earned her a seat in the Texas All-State High School Choir. The years of sudden hometown changes ended when her family settled in Odessa, Texas. That is where she met the boy who would capture her heart forever. While attending a service at Eastside Baptist Church, she caught the eye of the preacher’s son. She went home and told her parents about this good-looking boy. Her Daddy warned her, “stay away from that preacher’s kid.” So, like a good daughter, she married him.
Our Daddy, Tommy Gregory, adored our mom and cherished her throughout their 62-year marriage. She was the traditional mid-century homemaker, devoting her life to creating a comfortable, happy home for us. She was a young mother, and her youthful energy made our childhoods joyful and fun. She danced in the living room to the top hits of the day, took us swimming and bike riding, and played the position of pitcher in backyard baseball games. We thought she was the prettiest and the coolest Mom around. She was also the greatest Auntie around, babysitting and helping raise several nieces and nephews. As the generations passed, her nest increased to include five grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren and she adored them all. She and Daddy were partners in the music ministry of Eastside as well as several other Baptist churches. Mom served as church pianist, while Daddy led the music in worship. They made a great team. Additionally, she taught Bible classes for various age groups. When we were high school students, Mom ventured out to prepare herself for a new season of life. She enrolled in college classes where she attained the skills and confidence needed to make her mark in the workplace. Her first job as a secretary at First Baptist Church of Odessa prepared her for a position as a deputy clerk in the Ector County Clerk’s office. During her career she was promoted to the Chief Deputy position, and she oversaw the installation and implementation of a modern technology system for county record keeping. To say that Billie collected “Precious Moments” figurines would be an understatement. Her Christmas tree was a masterpiece adorned with hundreds of her treasures. During the past decade, she shared her love by blessing family and friends with gifts from her collection. In 2001, after two decades of serving Ector County, Mom and Dad began their retirement years together. They loved gospel music and travelled far and wide to attend Gaither Homecoming Concerts. They relaxed during RV trips to the Davis Mountains, and they were experts in the art of picking up garage sale bargains. For the past four years, Mom has worn a smile and carried on following Daddy’s passing. These years have brought her joy through the births of five little ones and time spent with friends and family. But beyond the smile, we sensed that she missed him every day with an emptiness that could not be filled. Last Tuesday morning, the Billie and Tommy love story continued as she passed from this life into glorious light. We smile through our tears as we imagine the reunion that they experienced last Tuesday.
Billie Jo Gregory was preceded in death by her husband, Tommy, and her parents, Reese and Dorothy Rodenberg. She is survived by her daughters: Kathy Lollar (Steve) and Connie Aguirre (Manuel.) She is also survived by her granddaughters: April Lollar (Hunter), Natalie Douga (Scotty), Tomi Jo Aguirre, Riki Aguirre (Ashlea), and Micah Aguirre. The next generation who calls her “Great G-Ma” are, Cameron Lollar, Aubreigh Ward, Joel Douga, Brennon Lollar, Kielyn Lollar, Aidan Ahrens, Cristian Elliott-Jarrett, Liam Richards-Aguirre, Gavin Aguirre and Ash Aguirre. Mom was thrilled to add the title of “Great-Great G-Ma” with the births of: Adaleigh Ward, Axton Lollar and Jaxon Lollar. She is survived by her beloved siblings Reba Chisum, Jim Rodenberg (Linda), and John Rodenberg (Jody), as well as dozens of nieces and nephews who loved their “Auntie” or “Aunt Bill.”
Billie Jo Rodenberg Gregory walked in faith every day of her life. She believed in Jesus Christ and held fast to the promise that his grace would lead her to her heavenly home. On Tuesday, July 12, 2022, her faith became sight when she saw Jesus’ face to face. We marvel at the mysteries that have been made clear to her. We will miss her until Jesus calls us home. We are planning a joyful celebration of Mom’s life on September 23, which would have been her 84th birthday.
To all of you, thank you for loving our mother. No doubt, she loved you too.
From her grateful daughters, Kathy and Connie.
Memorial events for Billie Jo Gregory are as follows:
Visitation at Sunset Funeral Home. Monday, July 18. 6:00 – 8:00 PM.
Private family burial.
Celebration of Life at Connection Christian Church – Odessa. Friday, September 23. 10:30 AM