Services to honor and celebrate the life of Walter Collins Billingsley will be 10:30 AM Thursday, July 5, 2018 in the Downtown Bixby Church of Christ. Burial will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery, Tulsa. Family will receive friends for visitation from 4-6 PM Wednesday, July 4, 2018 at Bixby Funeral Service. Walter passed away on Saturday, June 30, 2018 in Tulsa. He was 91.
Born February 4, 1927 in Maud, Oklahoma, Walter Collins Billingsley was the son of C.L. Billingsley and Pearl (Collins) Billingsley. Walter's birth mother passed away a short time after his birth. Grandma Billingsley then moved in with C.L. and took care of the family until C.L. married Maybelle Tomlison. Maybelle had never been married and took on the task of raising three boys - the youngest, Walter, was only two years old. Maybelle adopted the 'boys' (men) when they were all in their 60's. Her admonition to them was that they should start minding her.
The family moved to Wewoka where Walter attended school and, in 1944, graduated high school - second in his class. He and his family attended the Wewoka Church of Christ where Walter was active in youth activities, vacation Bible school and even enjoyed speaking from time to time.
Immediately following his high school graduation, at the age of 17, Walter volunteered for military service. The Army was providing a specialized training program at the University of Oklahoma and he enrolled. He joined the band and enjoyed playing for many activities. The college hours were very accelerated, and he received 65 hours in one year. He then became a part of the regular army and was sent to Camp Robinson, Little Rock, Arkansas. He was there about a year. The Army held him over because he had surgery and also had the mumps. While at Camp Robinson, he attended the North Little Rock Church of Christ. The congregation provided lunch each Sunday for those in the military.
With World War II having just ended, Walter was sent to Seoul, Korea as part of the Army of Occupation. While in Korea, he attended the Korean Church of Christ and decided he would finish his education and prepare himself to preach the Gospel. He attended Freed-Hardeman college in Henderson, TN, a two-year college, where he was able to take mostly Bible courses - since he already had 65 college hours. During the summers he preached at Wilburton, OK and surrounding congregations. The meeting he held at Bowden, OK was well attended and 13 people were baptized.
In 1948, Walter began college at Abilene Christian where he would graduate with a BA degree. He had known Faye Mallett at Freed-Hardeman but they had never dated. It was now time for Walter to look for a wife and he felt that Faye fit the bill. The couple dated most of the school year and were married September 4, 1950. They have been married for 67 years.
Walter began his full-time ministry work in Amherst, TX. While preaching in Amherst, he attended Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, N.M. studying toward a Master's degree in Bible. Following two years at Amherst, the family moved to West Plains, Missouri. The congregation there numbered about 300 and Walter also had a daily radio program which he thoroughly enjoyed. Walter was the only preacher for the church in the county, so he was called upon for numerous funeral, weddings, lectureships and many other speaking programs. The congregation also purchased a tent where he held annual tent meetings during the summertime.
Walter thought it good to move to an area where the church was not well known and chose Danville, Illinois. Tina was only 19 months when the family moved there. Karen and Brent were born in Danville so they had a busy house with three preschoolers. After six years in Danville, Walter received a call from the congregation at Broadway and Madison in Springfield, MO. He and his family moved to Springfield to work with the congregation. There, the congregation grew and had to have two services on Sunday mornings. The congregation then bought land and built a new facility. The 'Herald of Truth' was shown each Sunday morning and Walter gave area announcements at the end of each lesson. He also helped start a Preschool which many children attended.
In 1966, the family moved to Tulsa to work with the 15th and Delaware congregation. This has been home to the family except a short-time in Mayfield, Kentucky. Walter was with the Eastside (now Crosstown) congregation for more than 20 years. He headed their benevolent center in giving items to the needy and also counseled.
In 1998, he began work with the Downtown Bixby Church of Christ. He worked in whatever capacity was needed. He also served as an elder. Walter loved the Lord and his church and brought many souls to Christ. He was a staunch advocate of his faith. The church and his family were the center of his life.
Walter enjoyed people and parties. He looked forward to all the holidays, especially Christmas. He was known to model funny hats and noses, etc.. and birthdays were special when all the family could be together for a meal and to honor the special person on their birthday. Walter also enjoyed jokes, especially telling them. He loved to laugh, and he enjoyed life!
Walter is survived by: his wife, Faye of 67 years; a daughter, Tina Brewington and husband, Glen; a son, Brent Billingsley and wife, Suzie all of Tulsa; three granddaughters: Megan Walvoord and husband, Paul; Brenda Deal and husband, Philip; Wendy Billingsley and her soon to be husband, Isaac Hutchins; two great-grandchildren: William and Emma Walvoord; two sisters-in-law: Mary Billingsley and Ruth Hale along with several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by: a daughter, Karen who died of cancer in 1987. She was married to Michael Oliver. Walter was also preceded in death by his brothers: Wandell and Weldon.
Walter was a faithful servant of the Lord and an example of faithfulness. He will be missed by those who knew him.
To honor Walter's memory, the family suggests memorial donations be directed to:
In Search of the Lord's Way
P.O. Box 371
Edmond, OK 73083
What an amazing man. Walter touched all with whom he came into contact with. I appreciated the time he took to have bible study with me. When I was a new Christian. God bless Faye and family. Walter we will see you again at Gods appointed time. Thanks my friend. Robert Hunter
My dad, Mike Divers, loved Walter so very much. They both worked at the Christian Service Center in Tulsa in the late 80's. Walter will be missed. He was a very good christian example for men of all ages.
I barely remember Walter and Faye, as I was just a small child when they came to Broadway and Madison, but the few memories I do have are cherished ones. I am so sorry, Faye and Family. Love and prayers coming to you from Springfield, MO.
Faye... I knew when things were rocky with me in this world I would see both of you at church and your smiles of acceptance and your hearts of love were extremely appreciated. I will miss Walter. Love you both, Diana
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