(Colonel, U.S. Army Retired)
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Billy was born October 11, 1936 in Winnfield, Louisiana. He was raised in Tallulah, Louisiana and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior as a teenager.
After graduating from Northeast Louisiana State College as a Distinguished Military Graduate, he began a 30-year career in the U. S. Army. Overseas service included tours in Germany, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan (Okinawa). His final two tours included the role of Commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Okinawa and that of Department of the Army Inspector General to the National Guard of the state of North Carolina. Billy received the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Senior Parachutist Badge. He retired as a full colonel in June 1989.
In 1992 Billy and his wife Bobbye began to enjoy Cajun dancing together. This led to many long-lasting friendships throughout the states of Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. Beginning in 1995, they also taught others to enjoy this activity at universities in North and Central Louisiana, as well as festivals and private settings both in and out of the state. In 1999, the Louisiana Department of Tourism selected the Keyes as the Cajun dancers for a promotional effort in the eastern third of the U.S. to publicize Franco Fete '99. They later produced a Cajun dancing instructional DVD. Due to Billy's illness, they retired from dancing in 2007.
Billy is preceded in death by his parents, Sylvester and Bertha Keyes, and sons Dwayne Keyes and David Keyes.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Bobbye Pryor Keyes, West Monroe; daughter, Tami Keyes Stagg and husband Dr. Daniel Stagg, III; granddaughter, Hannah Stagg and grandson, Daniel Stagg, IV, College Station, Texas; daughter-in-law, Ginger Massey Keyes and granddaughter, Victoria Keyes, Seymour, Tennessee; sister, Shirley Keyes Wilson and husband Frank Wilson, nephews Paul Wilson, Greg Wilson and Sean Wilson, Tallulah; brother-in-law, Raymond Pryor, Jr. and wife Linda Ellis Pryor, Tallulah; nephew Raymond (Trey) Pryor and wife Marissa Pryor and niece Julia Pryor, Anaheim, California.
Pallbearers are Richard Starling, Blake Blakewood, Wayne King, Tom Johnson, Jim Huckbay, and Daniel Stagg, IV. Honorary pallbearers are Tommy Dunagan, Alva Harkins, Terry Massey, Barry Blanton, and Daniel Stagg, Jr.
Relatives and friends are invited to Cedar Crest Baptist Church in West Monroe on Tuesday, March 12 for visitation at 10:00 a.m. and service at 11:00 a.m. officiated by Rev. Greg Clark. Interment will follow with full military honors at 2:30 p.m. at Memorial Park Cemetery in Tallulah.
The family would like to thank the staff of Landmark Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of West Monroe for their excellent care and compassion during Billy's stay.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.kilpatrickfuneralhomes.com. Kilpatrick Funeral Home West Monroe, Louisiana.
Published in The Town Talk on Mar. 11, 2013