Billy Dean Neace, 95, beloved husband, daddy, dad, great-granddad, and BillDad, departed from this life, after a brief battle with Covid19, on January 15, 2021. We know that he was welcomed into Heaven by his lord and Savior, his late wife Timmie Neace, and his grandson Stephen Neace, as well as a host of other family members who preceded him in death.
He was born on February 13, 1925, in Pigott, Arkansas, to Dollie and Ruldolph Neace. Growing up during the Great Depression, Bill and his brothers learned that life was hard as they picked cotton, took care of farm animals, and helped with other chores as the family struggled to eke out a meager existence.
When Bill was seventeen, World War II (broke out, and he was eager to be a part of the action. About this time his mother, now a single mom, moved the family to Detroit for a “Rosie the Riveter” job. Bill was too young to enlist in the armed services, but as soon as he turned 18, the Navy beckoned him into their service. He proudly served in the Pacific Ocean on the USS Fletcher DD445 for 10 months before a strange disease put him in the hospital for over six months, forcing him to be medically discharged. After his discharge, he joined the Naval Reserves and was called back into active service in 1953 during the Korean War.
After the war, Bill enrolled in Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and using his GI Bill earned a Doctorate in Pharmacy. During this period, he met the love of his life, Thelma (Timmie) Russett, and they were married on October, 1945, and had 57 wonderful years together, before her death in 2002. In 1946 they welcomed their firstborn son, Michael Dean Neace.
In 1949, Bill landed a job in Monahans, at Monahans Drug, so Bill, Timmie and their young son Mike packed up and moved to Texas, a long, long way from Detroit. Then, in March 1951, this young family was blessed with the arrival of William Blakely (Billy) Neace, and their family was now complete. With Bill working hard at the drugstore and Timmie chasing after two rambunctious boys, life was busy and fun until Bill was called back into active duty in 1953. After two years, they returned to Monahans, and Bill purchased Monahans Pharmacy, working there for 33 years before retiring and selling it to Billy and Guyma Neace. However, he continued to do relief pharmacy work until he was 90 years old, making him one of the five oldest pharmacists who were actively working in Texas.
Bill was community minded and believed in helping others. On October 26, 1955 he joined the Masonic Lodge, and on August 17, 2019, Bill, with his family in attendance, was awarded a 60 year service award. It was a proud day for all of us.
Having a longtime love affair with golf, Bill enjoyed playing it well into his eighties. He was a natural who competed in and won many tournaments through the years. In addition to golf, Bill was a huge fan of Willie Nelson and Red Steagall and loved two stepping to Red Steagall's music, attending many of his dances. He was an avid crossword puzzle worker and did so daily until his eyes just could no longer read the small print. He was a joker, who loved to tease and laugh, and will forever be remembered for his dry wit and deadpan comments.
Finally, as a family we thank God that we had Billy Dean Neace with us for almost 96 years. He told us on Christmas that his goal was to live to be a 100 years; he almost made it! So, Bill Neace, from your family who loves you so much,
“ANCHORS AWAY! YOU MAY BE GONE, BUT YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.”
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Dolly Kilbreath and Ruldolph Neace, his cherished wife, Timmie Neace, and his adored grandson Stephen Neace.
Also preceding him in death were his beloved brothers, Ray Neace and Rudy Neace, his nephew, Steve Neace and his niece, Cathy Ellison.
Left behind to treasure Bill's memories are sons, Mike Neace and wife Vicki and Billy Neace and wife Guyma. Grandsons, Mike Neace II and Cheryl McKenzie, and Matthew Neace and wife Krislynn. Granddaughter, Kristin Neace-Fuentes and husband Johnny. Great -grandchildren, Jake, Nate, and Luke Fuentes and Mad and Max Neace. He is also survived by nephews, Tommy Neace and wife Julie and Bob Neace and wife Angie, nieces, Susan McKay and husband John, and Peggy Walker and Roy Coble. Finally, numerous great- nieces, great- nephews, great- great- nieces and great -great- nephews survived him in death.
Private Family Graveside Services will be held at the Monahans Cemetery Pavilion on Friday, January 22, 2021. Pastor Beth Harrington will be officiating the service.
In lieu of flowers,please donate memorials to the Permian Basin Area Foundation, Stephen Neace Scholarship Fund or to the charity of your choice.