Bill Estes, known to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren as Papa, passed on to a better place Aug. 9, 2013. Though he will be deeply missed by all those who knew and loved him, we know Bill is in Heaven looking back on his life and saying, with his usual grin, “my cup runneth over.”
Bill was born April 29, 1927, in Burkburnett, Texas, and grew up in the Wichita Falls area. After high school, he played college basketball at Midwestern University in Wichita Falls until he joined the Navy during World War II. After the war, he returned to school at the University of North Texas in Denton, transferring to McMurry University in Abilene when he was offered a basketball scholarship.
At McMurry, Bill met his one true love, Lila Kathryn Winters and they began a long and magical love affair. Their song was “Again,” best sung by Doris Day. The song refers to “That once in a lifetime” that lasted, in Bill and Lila’s case, for 64 years.
On their first date, Bill boldly told Lila that they would have “three little busters.” If that scared Lila, it didn’t scare her off (and Bill turned out to be right about the little busters — well, sort of ... three little busterettes). After Bill graduated from McMurry with a bachelor's degree in business administration, he and Lila married in Abilene on June 12, 1949, and settled in Big Spring, Texas, for a time.
Bill was called back to military service in the Army during the Korean War and was honorably discharged after it ended. After military service, Lila and Bill moved back to Big Spring, Texas. After a short stint as a repo man, Bill began working in the insurance industry, later owning a successful insurance brokerage business for many years.
He never really retired from the insurance business, but continued working with his daughter, Debney, in her insurance business through the rest of his life. For most of their working lives, Bill shared his office with Lila and her real estate business.
Bill was a servant of God and he always made sure church was an important part of his family’s life. He served as chairman of the board for Wesley United Methodist Church in Big Spring where he taught Sunday school.
Bill was also a community supporter, serving in leadership positions in numerous civic organizations there. After more than 40 years in Big Spring, Bill and Lila moved to Mesquite in 2000 to be close to their children and grandchildren.
In Mesquite, Bill and Lila became members of First United Methodist Church, where they were welcomed with open arms by a warm congregation. Bill loved sharing his athletic abilities with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, teaching them how to throw, pitch and hit baseballs, serve and hit backhands in tennis, shoot lay-ups, free throws and pull-up jumpers in basketball and to play and enjoy golf.
He always taught with patience and love and he rarely missed one of his grandchildren’s ball games. He encouraged and lifted each of them.
In Heaven, Bill is joining his parents, Dow and Bessie Estes; his little brother, Kenneth Estes; and his big sister, Joyce Taylor.
So very many family members are missing him here on Earth until they see him again, including his beloved wife, Lila; his three daughters and their husbands, Debney and Ford Farris, Denise and Karl Kutch and Dawn Estes and David Timmins; his six grandchildren and their spouses, Heather and Justin Randolph, Brant and LeeAnn Farris, Kelly and Justin Keen, Kevin Kutch, Grayson Timmins and Katy Timmins; and his five great-grandchildren, Addie and Boston Farris, Kinsley Keen, Connor and Hudson Randolph and Kinsley’s baby brother on the way. Other family members who miss him as well are Bill’s little brother, James Estes and wife Nancy; Bill’s little sister, Wanda Baber; his precious mother-in-law, Gladys Winters; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Bill’s ashes will be interred at Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, with family and close friends invited and the Rev. David Weber officiating. Bill’s well-lived life will be celebrated at First United Methodist Church at 300 N. Galloway, Mesquite, Texas, at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, again with the Rev. Weber officiating.
Donations in Bill’s name may be made to the First United Methodist Church in Mesquite.
To read Bill’s full tribute, leave condolences, or share a photo or fond memory, please visit the New Hope Funeral Home website at www.newhopefh.com .