Billie Ruth Pierce of Odessa, Texas passed peacefully from this life Friday, April 2, 2021 to her eternal home with her savior, Jesus Christ. She lived her whole life for such a time as this.
She is survived by her loving husband, Walter L. Pierce of Odessa, TX; her son, Richard Pierce and wife, Sharon of Midland Texas; her daughter, Susan Sullivan and husband, Dennis of Mesa, AZ. She is also survived by grandchildren, Tracy Renton (Neil), Timothy Sullivan (Audrey), Lee Pierce (Terra), Steven Sullivan (Marenda); great-grandchildren, Brandon Renton, Rebekah Renton, Hudson Sullivan, Madison Sullivan, Savannah Sullivan, Korie Pierce and Weston Pierce. She is also survived by brother, Frank Barnes; and two sisters, Nell Maxwell, and Judy Northcutt, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, and a multitude of friends. She is preceded in death by brothers, Robert L. Barnes, A.L. “Buddy” Barnes and Marion Dee Barnes.
Billie was born to the late M. D & Ruth Barnes on July 1, 1931 in Winnfield, LA. Her childhood and teen years were spent between Louisiana and West Texas as her dad worked in the “oil boom” of the 1930's & 40's. The family finally settled in Wink in 1947. Billie graduated from Wink High School in 1948 and began working at the Railway Express Office and later for the Humble Sales Office. During high school and even part time after, in addition to her other job, she worked at the “Day Drug Store.” It was the local gathering place for the town young people. She often told of Roy Orbison sitting in a booth playing his guitar and singing. The drug store is where Billie met Walter, who had moved to Wink after his discharge from the Army Air Corp. She and Walt were married in Wink, TX on August 3, 1949.
Billie was an accomplished seamstress. Through the years, she sewed for not only herself and Susan, but also for her mother and sisters. She made almost all the clothing for herself and Susan, even making Susan's wedding dress and veil, as well as an extensive trousseau. She also taught herself to knit and crochet. She made many beautiful things including a sweater for Rickey with a full-body Hereford steer while he was involved in raising steers for show in 4-H. She also knitted Walt a beautiful sweater with a colorful pheasant across the back. Billie always took great pride in her handwork and strove for perfection. It was a hard time for her when arthritis in her hands forced her to give up the beautiful handwork she enjoyed doing. She always challenged herself to learn new types of crafts and hobbies. Through the years, as well as the knitting and crocheting, she learned macrame, ceramics, indoor terrariums, as well as many other crafts. Throughout the 1970's Billie was actively involved in working for Weight Watchers while they lived in Enid, OK. She was a lecturer and often traveled to many places in the state to help others. She participated in their annual style show and won awards for her many activities and encouraging attitude to help others. It became a family joke later in life when someone would comment on how healthy she and Walt were. She always stated, “it's that healthy Weight Watcher eating we always did.” We would just laugh because everyone knew how much they enjoyed good food – especially desserts.
In the 1980's, Billie and Walt both became interested in genealogy and their familial roots. However, Billie took it to heart and began to do extensive research. She took every opportunity to travel with Walt on his job and she would spend the days scouring old courthouse records and cemeteries for information that she could use for her own documentation or share with others. Walt bought her a computer and she taught herself the old DOS programs to help keep all her research straight. All this research brought her in contact with the DAR (Daughters of the Revolution) as well as DRT (Daughters of the Republic of Texas). She was excited to be able to connect her lineage as well as Walt's to both organizations. She became very active in both groups in the Houston area and was instrumental in founding and became a charter member of the New Kentucky Chapter of DRT to serve the Spring/Tomball area of East Texas. She served two terms as president, during which time the chapter won several awards at State Conventions. She designed the chapter pin, which is still worn by members today.
After ten years of research and hours of hard work, she accomplished a long-time goal. In 1993 she published a book, “The Pierce Family with Allied Lines: Shrock- McLarran-Henry.” She had completed all the research to publish a similar book for her Barnes family; however, several circumstances prevent her from accomplishing that goal.
The heartbeat of her life was Billie's family. When her children were involved in 4-H, she offered her time and talents in whatever activity was needed. Among them, sewing leader, club sponsor, and many other activities. In 1968, Billie was one of 12 honored as Outstanding 4-H Leader of the Year in the State of Texas She was passionate about helping and serving her family. She carried over that passion of love and support to her grandchildren. Although, during their growing up years, she never lived close enough to be actively involved in all their many activities, “Granny & Pappy” were always excited to hear of their activities and their successes.
From the beginning of their marriage, Billie was always a faithful and active member of the local United Pentecostal Church, wherever they lived. She was always available to do whatever she was called upon to do - from song leader to Sunday School teacher, making peanut brittle, Ladies Auxiliary leader and many other various roles. However, most importantly, Billie was a prayer warrior and spent many hours in prayer for her family. During the years, she often led Ladies Prayer & Bible Study groups.
These past few years were difficult for Billie - she felt that she no longer had a purpose. She had always enjoyed being active and involved in church and with friends and family. We don't always understand how and why life happens as it does, but we are thankful that we can trust that God does all things well. Even during the final years, Billie was a testimony to her caregivers and other residents in the Assisted Living Facility. Several have mentioned her taking the time to pray with them and comfort them during trials in their lives. The parade of visitors through her room in those last days -from the caregivers, kitchen workers and janitorial staff are evidence of her love for others. Granny's life of prayer and faithfulness to the Lord serves as a reminder to all of us to seek Him diligently and be a testimony of Christ to those around us, by the life we lead.
Visitation will be from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Friday, April 9, 2021 at Sunset Memorial Funeral Home.
Funeral Services will be held at 10:00 AM, Saturday, April 10, 2021 at Sunset Memorial Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
The family would like to take this opportunity to express their appreciation to friends and family who have supported Granny & Pappy, especially during their final years. Thank you for the many messages of love and support we have received during this time of loss.
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