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THRASHER BILLY JOHN THRASHER Billy John Thrasher of Katy, Texas passed away on January 16, 2014, surviving Dorothy Joan Thrasher, his wife of 63 years, by just 12 days. Billy was born in Holdenville, Oklahoma on April 7, 1930, and his high school sweetheart Joan was born in Guthrie, Oklahoma on August 24, 1932. Billy grew up in the Masonic Home in Guthrie, Oklahoma until he joined the U.S. Army at 18. Billy and Joan were married shortly thereafter on December 28, 1949. Billy served his country for his entire working life, retiring in 1978 after 30 years. He will be remembered by those with whom he served as a "soldier's soldier." Shortly after enlisting he attended parachute school and immediately completed the most difficult training to graduate as a U. S. Army Ranger. Billy's 4th Ranger Company was deeply involved in the Korean War, where he served as a rifleman and received the Purple Heart. Billy entered as a private, was later commissioned as a lieutenant and retired as a full colonel. Billy was an outstanding officer during two tours in Vietnam, where he served as both a helicopter pilot and battalion commander, and earned the Bronze Star, among numerous other honors and medals. He later served a command at the regimental level and performed duty on the U.S. Army staff in Washington, D.C. Joan and Billy were known as Mimi and Poppy to their family. Joan will be remembered for her unique ability to create the perfect home DOROTHY JOAN THRASHER environment for her family after each of the more than 25 moves during their marriage. "Home was always where Mom was." Billy will be remembered for his integrity, humor, selflessness, deep compassion for those with whom he served, and his true dedication to his family, especially in taking exceptional care of Joan during her long illness. Billy always said he hoped to live only one day longer than Joan. Joan and Billy are survived by their four children, John Thrasher and his wife Chris of San Diego, California, and her children Mark and Carissa; Lisa Walker and her husband Craig of Houston, Texas; Lori DeGraff and her husband David of Trinidad, Texas; and Gaye Lierley and her husband Dayton of Salt Lake City, Utah; grandchildren Jason, Blair, Corey and his wife Jen, Erick, Megan, Jordan, John, and Madison; and by their great-grandson, Colton. The family is forever grateful for the example of unconditional love that Mimi and Poppy exhibited daily, and is comforted by the knowledge that they are together again after only a brief parting, which is as it should be. A double interment with full honors will be at Arlington National Cemetery on March 18, 2014, commencing from the Administration Building at 3pm. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider remembering Joan and Billy through a charitable contribution to The Brookwood Community, 1752 FM 1489, Brookshire, Texas 77423, 281-375-2100.
Published in The Washington Post on Mar. 16, 2014