Lester Kern Billman, age 91, of Sharyland, TX passed away on Saturday, July 13, 2019 with family members at his side. Much loved, he was proud of his military service, his Montana roots, his ingenuity, his marriage to Rubye Louise Billman and his large family of brothers, sisters, daughters, son, grand and great-grand children.
Born in Belt, MT on August 24, 1927 to Agnes Mildred Avery and Willis Delvin Billman, Lester’s first years found him in the Great Falls area of Montana. In 1932 his family moved to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Lester attended Sharyland grade and middle schools then graduated from McAllen High School in the spring of 1945. He was 18 in November 1945 when he enlisted in the US Navy beginning a two-year tour of duty with the pacific fleet. He was stationed as a Pharmacist’s Mate Third on the USS Shangri-La where from November 1945 to September 1947 he participated in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater during post-World War II operations.
After active duty, in 1948 Lester joined Southwestern Bell where his expertise as a lineman, and installation technician was deployed throughout the Rio Grande Valley. In his 30-year career he completed continuous training through the Bell System’s extensive education programs. Lester was part of the initial wave of mobile phone technicians retiring as a mobile phone engineer and central office technician in 1982.
In August 1953 Lester and Rubye were married. They shared 66 happy years. During the first decades together they raised their four children in Sharyland, TX. In summer Lester and his family often vacationed at Garner and Falcon Lake State Parks, Padre Island National Seashore and many western states on the way to California. In later retirement he did not slow down enjoying RV camping, boating, water skiing, fishing and bowling. He also enjoyed raising cattle and farming. Lester was a true family man who loved spending time with Rubye and his children, and will be greatly missed.
Lester was preceded in death by his parents, Agnes and Willis; daughter, Gail Laverne Billman; siblings, Laurence Avery, Edith Clare Miller, Lillian Maxine Tedford, Joe Delvin, Dean Wesley, Albert Leo, Robert Lloyd, and Shirley Janette Fischer. He is survived by his beloved wife, Rubye Louise Billman; children, Rhonda, Randy and husband Bill, Teri and husband Matt; grandchildren, Shannon, Shea, Whitney, Megan, Hillary, and Jacob; and 9 great-grandchildren.
Donations in memory of Lester Kern Billman to the Wounded Warrior Project (https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/donate) are appreciated by the family. Mr. Billman’s final resting place will be the Rio Grande Valley State Veteran’s Cemetery 2520 Inspiration Road, Mission, TX. A remembrance will be held in the fall of 2019.
Wounded Warrior Project
7020 A.C. Skinner Parkway, Suite 100, Jacksonville FL 32256