Etchells, Billie Marie (nee Harris)
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91, of Phoenix, passed away peacefully June 20, 2013. She was born October 1, 1921 in Chandler AZ to Welborn Richard Harris and Grace P. Smith-Harris. She was a life-long resident of the valley except for a couple of years during elementary school and while her husband was stationed at Air Force Bases during WWII. Billie enjoyed excellent health until the very last year of a very happy and active life. Billie married Air Force pilot Samuel C Etchells Jr. of Trenton, NJ, in July 1943 in Phoenix, AZ. Two children were born to this marriage: Kenneth R. Etchells and Kathleen C. Etchells. Billie and Sam lived in the Arcadia area of Phoenix for many years until divorcing in 1965. At the young age of 15, she was Valedictorian of her Chandler High School Class of 1937. She graduated from Gregg Business College 1940. She graduated Cum Laude from Arizona State University in just 3 years in 1968 receiving a BA degree in Economics. In 1969 she received her Masters degree in Economics from ASU. She was a Phi Kappa Phi (National Honor Society) and Omicron Delta Epsilon (Economics Honorary) Treasurer for the ASU Chapter. She taught Economics for a short while at ASU before starting her career with the State of Arizona's Office of Economic Planning and Development. Billie retired in 1987 as the Chief Economist of the Arizona State Department of Revenue. Billie traveled the world for decades having visited over 35 countries including Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, all of Europe, and many more. She enjoyed Tournament Bridge, Genealogy, Reading, Movies, the Phoenix Suns, following news, current events and politics; walking with neighbors/dogs; spending time with her family and always staying active and busy. She was a wonderful and generous mother, grandmother, sister and friend who was kind, humble and compassionate to all. Her life-long charitable donations were numerous and varied having quietly supported many charities including schools and the indigent. Billie is survived by her son, Kenneth R. Etchells (Linda) of Phoenix; Daughter Kathleen C. Etchells-Cella of Van Nuys CA; sister Rosa Lee Harris-Simmons of Phoenix; Grandchildren Elizabeth "Lisa" A. Etchells , Pamela M. Etchells-Baker (Justin), Cynthia D.(Cindy) Brown, Peter R. Cella and Patrick B. Cella; and 3 Great-grandchildren: Hunter W. True, Austin P. Baker and Jackson R. Baker. She was predeceased by her Parents, older sister Florence M. Harris-Shaw, and brother Richard Henry Harris (Cleo). She enjoyed many valued friendships throughout her life. Billie will be greatly missed and always remembered for her intelligence, kindness, independence and love of life. The family wishes to thank all of the compassionate staff at The Stratford Senior Living Home for providing excellent care to Billie. The family also would like to thank all of the excellent staff at
who provided such exceptional care and comfort to Billie during the last few months. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to
, 1510 E Flower St, Phoenix, AZ 85014.
At her request, no services will be held. The family will continue to celebrate her life.
Published in The Arizona Republic on June 23, 2013