Billy Gene Willingham, 61
Billy Gene Willingham, 61, passed away in his home on June 2, 2014, from a brain tumor.
Bill was born on April 13, 1953 to Bertha Lee Willingham in Columbia County, Ga. He was raised by his mother and grandparents, Welbur and Rose Willingham.
Bill loved to run track and play handball and chess. His favorite football team was the Oakland Raiders. Bill attended elementary and junior high school in Columbia County. After his grandparents died, he moved to Queens, New York with his mother and father, Charles Powell. He attended and graduated from Bayside High in Bayside, New York in 1971.
After graduating from high school, Bill attended college in Ranger, Texas. He received a track scholarship and really enjoyed his time there. He then attended ISU for three years.
He married Kathryn Mills in 1978 and their son, Brian, was born later that year. In 1984 their daughter Jennifer Rose was born. Jennifer was named Rose in memory of Bill's beloved grandmother Rose whom he never stopped missing. Bill treasured memories of his grandparents and spoke of them often.
Bill was an active and involved father. He coached many baseball and basketball teams. Brian was just an infant when Bill started work at the USPS in 1980, and he worked there for nearly 30 years, retiring in late 2009. He then worked for Varsity Cleaning, Nonpareil, and Basic American. He and Kathryn separated and eventually divorced.
Bill met Natalie Steffler in 1999 and they were life partners until his death. Bill and Natalie went fishing and traveling every chance they got. He enjoyed outings with friends, socializing, playing pool and darts and attending concerts. He was an avid bow hunter. Diamond Creek was his favorite hunting and fishing location all along the way.
He especially enjoyed the Eastern Idaho State Fair in Blackfoot and worked at the fair every year. He was famous for his banana bread and bean pie. His other passion was picking and betting on the horses, especially the Kentucky Derby. He was adamant about the lottery and picked his numbers carefully. The Pick 3 was his favorite. Bill always had his fishing pole and tackle box with him, just in case he had time to find a spot to cast a line and catch a fish!
He leaves behind to mourn his mother, Bertha Powell; son, Brian; daughter, Jennifer; two sisters, Cassandra Robertson and Janice Powell Walker; a brother, Charles Powell; a daughter-in-law, Liz; a brother-in-law, Keith Robertson; two nieces, Christal and Symone Walker; two nephews, Christian Robertson and Marques Walker; a granddaughter, Kitana; a grandson, Kobe; a host of cousins and friends; and a very special friend, Natalie Steffler, who also has three children; Aaron, Clinton and Sunny; seven grandchildren; Neysa, Crystal, Kiesha, Noah, Clayton, Savannah and Kennessa; a son-in-law, Richard Rock; and a daughter-in-law, Kimberly Campbell.
Bill was an integral part of this blended family which extends to include grandparents, sisters, brothers, cousins, etc., all of whom will miss Bill's presence dearly.
Services will be June 21, 2014 at Praise Temple of God Church, 653 N 11th Ave., Pocatello, Idaho, at 2 p.m. Please join us after the service for a celebration of life and gathering and dinner at the home of Alicia Straube and Destry Bowden, Big Springs Dr., Pocatello, Id.