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Leroy Michael Bills

Leroy Michael Bills, 82, passed away peacefully with his family at his bedside Thursday, July 5, 2018 in Faxon. 

Service will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 11, 2018, at Chattanooga Church of Christ, where he worshipped and served for over 40 years. 

Leroy was born Feb. 9, 1936, in Pulaski, Mich. He was the son of Margaret Wendt and Audley Youngs Bills. He grew up in Detroit and spent summers with his grandma and grandpa on their farm in Concord, Mich.

When Leroy was 17, he decided to join the U.S. Navy. His first order of business was to get a sailor tattooed on his arm. He went to the Navy recruiter and made an appointment to appear. But, Leroy has always been Leroy and he was late for the appointment. The Navy rejected him and didn't accept his application. So, Leroy went down the street and joined the U.S. Army. He was the only Army recruit with a sailor tattoo. He was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga. 

While his stepfather was stationed at Fort Sill Army Post, he moved to Lawton where he met Betty Pearl Beemer. They married June 6, 1959, and made Lawton their home. Leroy was a furniture repairman and refinisher for over 50 years. He owned and operated his own business for a number of years before working for Midwest Furniture.

In 1968 he participated in an Ivin Stewart campaign to South Africa. In 1974, Leroy and Betty moved to Camp LuJo KISMIF with their four children, Tim, Mike, Cricket and Christopher, to oversee the grounds. They worked with the camp for 26 years. Leroy continued to work at Midwest Furniture and retired after 30 years of service. He moved to Faxon in 2001 and enjoyed his golden years there.

Leroy loved working in his shop and being outdoors. He was particularly fond of feeding hummingbirds and cardinals. He loved watching the Dallas Cowboys, OU football, the Texas Rangers and OKC Thunder.

One of his greatest joys came late in life when he was reconnected with his brothers and sisters. He was one of 10 children of Audley Bills, but when he was 7 years old they were separated and he lost contact with them for over 60 years. While visiting in Michigan, he happened into a local hardware store. While talking with one of the staff, he learned they knew one of his sisters. He asked if he could leave a note to be given to her the next time she came in. He did, and sometime later she contacted him. It was a love at first sight relationship. Leroy started attending the annual Bills family reunions and reconnecting. The family will be celebrating their 100th reunion next year.

Anytime Leroy was in Michigan, he always visited the farm of his grandparents in Concord. The present family who now operate J & D's Honeybee's would accompany him on a tour of the farm. Leroy always looked forward to bringing home a case of honey.

Leroy is survived by his adoring wife of 59 years, Betty; sons: Timothy and wife, Laura, of Chattanooga, and Michael of Keller, Texas; a daughter, Cricket of Faxon; grandchildren: Travis, Joshua, Casey and wife, Kendra, and Aldyn, all of Keller, Texas, Christian and wife, Ashley, of Faxon, and Lauren Payne and husband, Cody of Stillwater; grea-tgrandchildren: Karsyn Lee, Thomas Michael, Jayelee Rose and Kale Michael; two sisters: Audrey Lattas and Ima Lee Worden and a host of other family members.

Leroy was preceded in death by a son, Christopher Jaye Bills; a daughter-in-law, Laura Elaine Bills, of Keller Texas; and seven siblings.

Sympathy in the form of donations may be made to the Chattanooga Church of Christ Songbook fund, P.O. 203, Chattanooga, OK 73528.

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