Abilene Funeral Home, Inc
3349 N. 12th St.
Abilene, TX 79603
Phone: 325-672-7400 Fax: 325-672-7449
Billy Ray Powers
Billy Ray Powers, 86, of Abilene, passed away Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at Hendrick Hospice Center of Abilene. A memorial service with military honors will be held 10:00 a.m. Saturday, May 20, at Hillcrest Church of Christ, 650 Ambler Avenue, in Abilene, directed by his loving family. A private Inurnment is planned at a later time at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery at Abilene. Arrangements for cremation have been entrusted to Abilene Funeral Home.
Billy Ray loved building things, traveling, singing and serving others, and those passions directed his tour of life.
Powers was born April 17, 1931, in Ardmore, Oklahoma, to Ernest and Audra Gupton Powers, the oldest of their two children. As sister, Helen Marie, was born a year later. He grew up in Dallas and graduated in 1948 from Sunset High School where Lillian Rogers was a fellow student. The two met on a blind date and married a few years later on Aug. 30, 1952. Over the next six decades, they would rear three children, live in three states and serve churches around the country where they lived or traveled with beloved friends and fellow RV enthusiasts.
After high school Billy Ray attended University of Texas at Arlington for a while and drove a Coca-Cola delivery truck before joining the Navy July 18, 1951. He went to flight school in Tallahassee and then was assigned as a radio operator in Key West, one of two Naval Airship stations, known as the blimp bases, established during World War II to patrol the coast and Keys.
After being honorably discharged in June 1953, Billy Ray remained in the reserves but moved to College Station to enroll in the architectural construction program in the College of Engineering.
While he was still a student, the Powers doubled the size of their family with the birth of twins Stephen and Stewart. They lived with their babies in the married student barracks until graduation in 1958. A baby sister, Gail, would complete the family seven years later.
Billy Ray went to work for Mobil Oil and moved to Alexandria, Louisiana, and typical of the business would relocate seven times during his 20-year career with the company, first as the motor vehicle supervisor for its southwest region and later in the engineering department where he supervised construction projects. After 20 years with the company he began his own petroleum construction firm, Ketiwa Construction, choosing from the language of the Sac and Fox native American tribe a word for “large bird” because he wanted his company named Hawk Construction.
The Powers settled in Midlothian where they continued a lifelong commitment of active service in congregations of the Church of Christ. He served as an elder in Midlothian, was a frequent song leader and loved singing with his family for weddings and other church functions. He also indulged his passion for singing as a bass in Dallas’ Vocal Majority. During his service with the Vocal Majority, the group won the prestigious National Champion Barbershop Chorus four times.
In retirement, the Powers became full-time RV enthusiasts, eventually settling in Lubbock where Bill spent 11 years as the Satellite School Coordinator for Sunset International Bible Institute, travelling around the country to assist congregations with establishing or improving their satellite school program.
The Powers moved to Abilene in 2011 to be closer to children and grandchildren whom they loved dearly.
Billy Ray was preceded in death by his parents and Stephen’s first wife, Myrna McCreary Powers. He is survived by Lillian, his wife of more than 64 years, and by three children and their families: Stephen and his wife Joy Cherry Powers of Abilene, Stewart and his wife Jill Buchanan Powers of Waxahachie, and Gail Powers Crain and her husband Terry of Abilene. He is also survived by seven grandchildren: Bradley Powers and his wife Kristin McClure Powers of Sacshe, Scott Powers and his wife Ashley Wright Powers of Sugar Land, Trent Powers of Dallas, Geoffrey Powers of Dallas, Whitney Powers of Waxahachie, Seth Crain of San Antonio and Parker Crain of Abilene. And he is survived by his sister Helen Marie Powers Tuttle of Cockrell Hill.
The family welcomes memorial gifts in honor of Billy Ray to Sunset International Bible Institute, 3723 34th Street, Lubbock, Texas 79410.