Billy Ray McDowell formerly of Ranger

262362_t160Billy Ray McDowell left his family on earth to be with his family in heaven Friday, Nov. 13, 2009, following a long battle with interstitial lung disease.

Funeral: 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Mount Olivet Chapel followed by a 2 p.m. graveside service in Eastland Cemetery in Eastland, officiated by his longtime pastor, the Rev. Johnny Hendricks. Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Mount Olivet Funeral Home.

Billy was born in Hobbs, N.M., April 25, 1935, but grew up in Ranger. After serving in the United States Army, he married Margaret Frances Berry on July 10, 1959, at Calvary Baptist Church in Eastland, where they met. He had a long work history and enjoyed many activities, including hunting, fishing, motorcycling, water skiing and anything cowboy.

As a young boy he washed dishes in a cafe and set pins in a bowling alley, long before automation. As a young man he broke horses for his uncle, Johnny Stewart, was a roughneck in the oilfields and drove heavy equipment in road construction work. He built houses with his cousins, Raymond and Joe Beggs, and then became a commercial carpenter where he worked on downtown projects such as the Water Gardens, the glass-fronted Bank One building and numerous parking garages, plus the first hotel built at DFW Airport. He taught vocational building trades at Burleson High School for 10 years. In later years he was a long distance truck driver where he reached his goal of driving in each of the 48 continuous states plus Canada.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Reginald P. and Jessie Victoria McDowell; brothers, Paul, Jack, R.P., Richard, Timothy; and sister, Jewel Reid.

Survivors: Wife of 50 years, Margaret Berry McDowell; daughters, Beverly Lovell and husband, Kenny, Vicky Burns and husband, Todd; grandson, Casey Lee Lovell; granddaughter, Melisa White; great-grandchildren, Chandler, Bethany and Breana Whittle of Crocker, Mo.; numerous nieces and nephews, all of whom loved him dearly, among them, the son of his heart, Bo McDowell; closest cousin and best friend, Jimmy Stewart.