Billy Joe Holsey, 84, passed away peacefully with family by his side on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, in Alamogordo, after a defiant battle with prostate cancer.
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He was born in December of 1927 in Fort Cobb, Okla., to Henry Alexander and Florena (Lett) Holsey. His parents were farmers in Oklahoma growing cotton, peanuts, cattle silage and garden vegetables. They also kept a milk cow and some livestock.
Bill joined the U.S. Army after graduating from high school and was stationed in Korea in 1946-47. When he returned to Oklahoma, a pretty young lady named Wilma Rogers caught his eye. In 1950, Bill and Wilma were married in Oklahoma City.
In 1956, they moved to Alamogordo so that Bill could take a job at Holloman Air Force Base, where they raised their four children. They joined the Cuba Avenue Church of Christ soon after moving to Alamogordo and have made many lifelong friends there.
Bill worked at Holloman as a mechanical engineering technician and sheet metal fabricator until he retired in 1985. He was also one of the first pistachio growers in the Tularosa Basin.
In 1972, he purchased a 40-acre farm near Tularosa where, after drilling a well and installing a drip irrigation system, he planted about 1,100 pistachio trees and 200 pecan trees. His family has many fond memories of Bill in his overalls and straw hat, tending the trees while chugging along on his old red tractor.
Bill and Wilma marketed their pistachios locally as "Under the Sun Pistachios" for many years.
After selling the pistachio farm in 1998, Bill and his green thumb stayed busy with gardening and landscaping in his yard. He also enjoyed watching sports, especially the Dallas Cowboys, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the San Antonio Spurs and both the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Oklahoma Sooners. Bill liked to laugh and joke with friends and family. In his last years, when visitors were leaving, he would often say, "Don't rush off now."
Bill was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Janett Bogoslofski.
He is survived by his wife, Wilma; his four children, Randy Holsey, of Alamogordo, Steve Holsey, of Carrollton, Texas, Linda Schauer and husband, Tony, of High Rolls, and Jennifer Torres and husband, Robert, of Peralta; six grandchildren, Jessica Pope, Thomas Schauer, Rachel Crain, Caleb Holsey, Sarah Schauer and Seth Holsey; five great-grandchildren, Kenneth, Abby and Liam Pope, and Althaea and Samuel Schauer; nephews J. Chris Bogoslofski, of Mobile, Ala., and John Bogoslofski, of Longmont, Colo.; and extended family across the southern and southwestern United States.
A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at Cuba Avenue Church of Christ at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, with a reception immediately following.
Honorary pallbearers are John Rogers, Tony Schauer, Robert Torres and John Bogoslofski.
If desired, memorial gifts may be made to Cuba Avenue Church of Christ or to the
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Oct. 25 to Oct. 29, 2012