Billie Oscar Ragsdale passed away on April 5, 2010, in Reno, Nev., at age 94 years, four months.
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He was a beloved husband, father, soldier, engineer, church elder, and was active in many community service organizations throughout his life.
Billie was born Nov. 7, 1915, in Vienna, Ill., to Elmer and Cora Jane (Pierce) Ragsdale.
Billie married Isabelle Roques of St. Louis, Mo., on July 2, 1941, enjoying 53 years of marriage before her passing on Feb. 8, 1995.
Billie subsequently married his high school sweetheart, Maxine May (Stewart) on July 22, 1995.
He is survived by five children: Billie Thiemann and Richard "Dick" of Middle Tennessee, Alan of Lemoore, Calif., Don of San Antonio, Texas, and Michael "Mike" also of Middle Tennessee; and by 12 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Billie worked as a ranch hand and did odd jobs to pay for his college education, graduating with a degree in industrial engineering from Montana State University, Class of 1939.
During World War II he served in North Africa and the Italian Campaign as a radio and communications officer, and was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery.
After the war, Billie worked at A.P. Green Brickworks in Mexico, Mo., then with General Electric in Evendale, Ohio, where he designed aircraft engines. He retired from GE after assignment in Syracuse, N.Y., and Greenville, S.C.
Billie was active in his church life, serving as elder, officer and enthusiastic choir member. He was an avid golfer, which led to his retirement to Sun City West, Ariz. He had two authenticated holes-in-one to his credit, and his golfing companions dubbed him "The Ledgend." He is remembered as a hard-working and dedicated role model for all who knew him.
Services in Nevada and Tennessee will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Montana State University Foundation, P.O. Box 172750, Bozeman, MT 59717. Gifts should be designated to the Billie O. Ragsdale Scholarship Fund for mechanical and industrial engineering students.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Apr. 20, 2010