Dr. William Billington, Jr.
April 5, 2023
Dr. William “Bill” Morgan Billington, Jr. passed away peacefully on April 4, 2023, with his family by his side. He was born January 25, 1947, in Clovis, New Mexico and spent his childhood in small-town Texico, New Mexico as the son of the late William Morgan Billington, Sr. and Ophelia Osbourne Billington. He graduated from Texico High School and went on to work for the United States Department of Agriculture as a crop surveyor.
During the Vietnam War, Bill was placed in the United States Army Security Agency, where he trained in radio communications and cryptography. He served in the United States Army Security Agency in locations both at home and abroad: Asbury Park, New Jersey; Clark Air Base in the Philippines; the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; and in Munich, Germany.
After his military service, he graduated with honors from Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. During his collegiate years, he also served as pledge class president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.
Bill was truly a modern-day Renaissance man. He worked as a stocks and commodities broker at Clayton Brokerage in San Antonio, Texas, and as an underground miner and dynamiter at Duval Mining Corporation in Carlsbad, New Mexico before entering medical school at the Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine. He graduated in the top quartile of his class in 1978 and went on to complete a family medicine internship and become board- certified by the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.
In 1979, Dr. Billington – known to many of his beloved patients as simply “Dr. B” – moved to West Point, Mississippi, to establish the Family Medical Clinic. His newfound clinic quickly became a cornerstone in the community due to Dr. B’s encyclopedic medical knowledge, his welcoming bedside manner, and a penchant for jokes…but something was still missing, until his nurse introduced him to the charming born-and-raised West Pointian named Debbie Kay Hill.
It was April Fools’ Day 1982 that they announced they would be married – and everyone thought the playful couple was teasing! But on August 7, 1982, Bill and Debbie were indeed married at the altar of First Baptist Church. Their aspirational forty years of marriage formed the foundation of what would become “Team Billington,” the term coined by Bill to describe his large, incredibly close family. With Debbie by his side as the clinic manager, Dr. Billington treated over 42,000 patients throughout his distinguished forty-year medical career, serving the West Point community and beyond.
In his younger years, Bill loved to ride his motorcycle, until a crash when Debbie was eight months pregnant brought both the bike – and the hobby – to a halt. He was also a proud pilot of a small Cessna aircraft, which he flew until his family outnumbered the available seating. An avid traveler, Bill then began his foray as captain of the trusty 26-foot van which helped him take his family to forty-nine of the fifty states. He enjoyed snow-skiing, archery, traveling, open water scuba diving, and writing. He had been working on his first novel. Bill was also an adventurous world traveler. From ziplining in Belize to sharing bananas with Costa Rican monkeys, from Austria’s Vienna Operahouse to Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein Castle, from Czech Republic’s Charles Bridge to France’s Notre Dame?Bill was truly an explorer who wanted to see all that the world had to offer. But where he loved best was at home with his family in West Point, MS, with his beloved pup Caesar by his side.
Both family physician and family man, Bill never missed his children’s t-ball/baseball/soccer/track/tennis/basketball games, piano recitals, Bible drills, school plays, church programs, or graduations. Our family will forever treasure the memories he made with us, and we hope to carry on his storied legacy of kindness, compassion, courage, and Christian faith. He was quick with a megawatt smile and a witty joke, but he was always quickest in telling us how much he loved us. Bill was an endlessly devoted husband, a fiercely supportive dad, and a joyful new grandfather – also known as “GranDoc.”
He held a wide variety of leadership roles throughout his life, including serving as Chief of Staff of North Mississippi Medical Center in West Point, Medical Director of West Point Nursing Home, and Secretary, Vice- President, and President of the Prairie Medical Society. Dr. Billington also volunteered as the team physician for the Oak Hill Academy Raiders for many years. He was a former member of the West Point Rotary Club and former board member of BancorpSouth in West Point. Dr. Billington was a faithful member of First Baptist Church of West Point, where he was a deacon, a member of the Spradling Sunday School Class, and member of the Security Committee, as well as other various committees.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his beloved in- laws, Bernard Wallace “B.W.” and Ruth Gary Hill; and an infant son. We are blessed to know that our family will one day be reunited in Heaven.
Dr. Billington is survived by his beloved wife of 40 years, Debbie Hill Billington; their four children, William Morgan Billington, III (Katie) and Gary Steele Billington (Dr. Elyse) all of Charlotte, North Carolina; Ross Wallace Billington (Lorianna) of Starkville, Mississippi; Lauren Renee Billington of Jackson, Mississippi; two grandsons, William Morgan Billington, IV and Avery Alexander Billington; as well as sister, Jill Beard (Don) of Lubbock, Texas; nieces, Heather Sullivan (James) of Lubbock, Texas, and Michelle Clevenger (Scott) of Hart, Texas; sister-in-law, Donna Ross (Scott) of West Point, Mississippi; niece, Katherine Ross Stringer (Glen) of Columbia, Mississippi; nephew, Stephen Scott Ross of West Point, Mississippi; and great-nephew, Ross Edward Stringer.
Visitation will be on Friday, April 7, 2023, from 5:00-7:00 P.M. at Calvert Funeral Home in West Point and one hour prior to the funeral service on Saturday at First Baptist Church in West Point. Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 8, 2023, at 11:00 AM at First Baptist Church of West Point, with the Reverend Dale Funderburg officiating. Burial will follow in Greenwood Cemetery in West Point. Calvert Funeral Home in West Point is honored to be entrusted with the arrangements.
Pallbearers will be Bobby Cole, Jeff Foster, Edgar Harris, Keith Holton, Gregg Kaiser, Steve McKinney, Stanley Spradling and Wes Williamson.
Honorary pallbearers will be Jerry Collins, William Downer, Dr. Terry French, Dr. Ned Miller, Dr. Hal Posey, Dr. William Sartin, the members of Spradling Sunday School Class, and his former staff members at Family Medical Center and Medical Center Pharmacy, as well as the North Mississippi Medical Center staff.
Our family would also like to especially thank Bill’s devoted caregivers: Minnie Pearl Booker, Jerry Collins, Betty Davis and Jeanette Smith.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church Music Ministry, P.O. Box 794, West Point, Mississippi 39773 or Canopy Children’s Solutions, P.O. Box 1078, Jackson, Mississippi 39215.