Billy L. Moody
Billy L. Moody, long-time resident of Fort Stockton, TX, passed away in San Angelo, TX, on December 19, 2016, at the age of 95. He was the son of Pecos County pioneer W.R. Moody and his wife Edith and is survived by his daughter Marilyn and husband Tom Hale of College Station, TX, and his son Charles and wife Jill Moody of San Antonio, TX. He was blessed with eight grandchildren: Amy and husband Gail Steiger of Prescott, AZ; Molly and husband Paul Swets of San Angelo, TX; Will and wife Shelley Hale of Hamilton, TX; Walt and wife Adah Hale of Fountain Valley, CA; Sally and husband Ryan Schedler of Dallas, TX; Julianna (J.J.) and husband Michael Reilly of Hanover, MD; Rebecca and husband David Boatcallie of College Station, TX; and Amy Gillespie of San Antonio, TX. Of these were born twenty-two great-grandchildren with number twenty-three expected in February 2017. Also Bill was blessed with one great-great grandson. In addition, Uncle Bill was loved by many nieces and nephews.
Bill lived nearly all of his life in Fort Stockton, TX, on the same farm where he was born until summer of 2016. Graduating from Fort Stockton High School in 1939, he went on to Texas Tech University for a short time before War World II. He joined the armed forces in 1942 when war broke out and became a pilot. On his birthday September 25th, 1945, he married Juanita Nell Barbee in Gunter, TX, in the home of her parents, and they lived on a base in Michigan until he was discharged as a 1st Lieutenant, United States Air Force.
Coming back to Fort Stockton in 1946, Bill farmed and ranched raising alfalfa, cotton, and cattle. He had a small pecan orchard behind his house where he enjoyed caring for his beloved trees. He became a real estate broker and appraiser in 1948. In 1950 at the age of 29, Bill was elected to the office of County Commissioner, Precinct One for Pecos County and was the first to serve thirty years consecutively, retiring before he was 60. During those years, the Comanche Springs swimming pool was built and the Fort Stockton airport was purchased. People wanting to know about the history of Pecos County could find answers at Bill's office located in the center of Fort Stockton. He served for several years on the Pecos River Compact for the State of Texas, fighting for water rights and testified before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning these issues.
Bill was very active in his community. Because he loved to sing, he sang in the church choir and was part of a men's quartet for many years singing in various functions in the Fort Stockton area. He taught a junior boys' Sunday School class and got together with several different groups for Bible study through the years. He served the Jaycees as club president and state officer as well as president of the local Lions Club. Additionally, he served as president of the Fort Stockton Chamber of Commerce and director of West Texas Chamber of Commerce, member of the Sheriff's Posse, president of the local Girl Scouts, and adjutant and commander of the American Legion Post #234. Bill was chosen by the Chamber of Commerce to be the Fort Stockton Citizen of the Year in 1975. He also worked with the U.S. Highway Association, 4-H Adult Leadership, Farm Bureau, Community Chest, Salvation Army, and was a coach for the American Legion Junior Baseball Program and Little League Baseball for numerous years. The annual Water Carnival was important to Bill when he was younger, and he helped in various capacities to make each production successful. Volunteering for many different organizations, Bill was awarded the 2015 Fort Stockton Volunteer of the Year. He might be seen at a track meet at the high school in the concession stand or at McDonald's helping feed a bus load of students on their way to Kerrville to the Lions' Camp. He supported the Fort Stockton Historical Society and was a delegate to the state Republican Party Convention. As a member of the Water Board for Pecos County, Bill fought against the sale of water outside of Pecos County to larger cities in West Texas. Fishing was one of his favorite activities so he was always ready to "wet a hook". He taught both of his children to fish and some of his grandchildren.
Bill suffered some losses in his life. The main loss was the death of his beloved wife, Nita, in 2002. This was devastating as was the loss of Bill's youngest brother, Jim, in World War II. The loss of Comanche Springs due to deep well irrigation at the head of the aquifer caused him much grief. This was an historic landmark and a big attraction to Fort Stockton. Watching it dry up was sad. Whenever there was a death in Fort Stockton, you could count on a box of donuts from Bill. He knew so many families and will be missed when comfort is needed.
Funeral arrangements for Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, are being handled by Heritage Funeral Home, (432) 336-3939 or www.heritagefuneralhomeofthebigbend.com. and a viewing is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 28 from 5pm to 7pm. The funeral service will be at 1pm December 29th at Civic Center inFort Stockton, TX.
Fort Stockton's First Baptist Church, 401 N. Gillis St, Fort Stockton, TX 79735, (432) 336-3307; and West Texas Boys' Ranch, 10223 Boys Ranch Rd, San Angelo, TX 76904, (325) 949-1936.