Billy Howard Thames

  • "Billy Thames was a long life friend to me and my family He..."
  • "Mr Thames service to the country will be missed but His..."
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  • - Johnny Speedling
  • "The truth well told. Billy was an outstanding senator and..."
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  • "Psalm 65:2"

Senator Billy H. Thames


Senator (Ret.) Billy Howard Thames, passed away Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at UMMC from complications from colon cancer surgery. He was 69. Billy was born on April 2, 1944 to Lelan Howard "Bill" and Cleo Kate Shoemaker Thames in rural Simpson county. While material possessions were few, love abounded in Billy's family and he grew to be a kind and compassionate soul. Even as a child, Billy dreamed of ways to better his circumstances and those of his family. He accepted his Lord, Jesus, as his Savior, as a young man and served Him for the rest of his life. He became a brilliant entrepreneur and engaged in many successful…and some not so successful…endeavors throughout his lifetime. At age 35 he sold his thriving farm equipment business, T and K, and semi-retired for a time. Feeling drawn to serve his God and help others, his lifelong passion, he entered the realm of public service and ran and was elected to the Mississippi State Senate in 1980, representing Smith, Clarke and Jasper counties and later parts of Scott and Jones. He loved to tell friends about his 3 little girls, Lisa, Lori and Belinda, then ages 8, 7 and 2 going door to door asking people to vote for their daddy. They continued to be his biggest supporters throughout his political career. Billy used his tenure in the Senate to take on causes of those who could not help themselves. He championed mental health services, and was honored with having the crisis center in Newton, "The Senator Billy H. Thames Crisis Center" named in his honor. Billy helped countless constituents with their personal needs. Billy was the recipient of many awards during his tenure and was held in the highest regard by his colleagues and all who knew him. He was a true statesman. A gifted orator and skilled political strategist, the membership of the State Senate would grow uncharacteristically quiet each time Billy took the podium because his passion and conviction for the causes he championed was compelling. Billy served for 28 years and in 2008 made the decision to retire having been successfully elected eight times. He formed his own governmental relations company, "The Thames Advantage", along with his wife, Ann, and took on issues in which he believed to advocate with the Mississippi legislature. All through his life, Billy was a lover of music and sang bass for many years with the gospel quartet, "The Dixieland Quartet". In his honor, three of the original members will sing at his memorial service. Billy served as minister of music in many churches in rural south Mississippi over the course of many years. He loved acquiring real estate, and enjoyed success with tree farming and owning rental property until the time of his death. Most of all, Billy exuded kindness, warmth, humor and love. His was an exemplary Christian man, always putting others first. All who knew him were influenced by his warm smile, his pleasant and charming demeanor and his sincerity. He enjoyed gardening, football and grilling for his family and friends. His love for his wife and family was immeasurable. He often told friends that the happiest days of his life were spent with the love of his life and soul mate, his wife, Ann. He adored his three daughters, his parents, his sister and his grandchildren. Billy was preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Cleo Thames, his nephew, Alan Pittman and his brother-in-law, Terry Pittman. His loving memory will sustain and comfort his wife, Ann Coleman Thames of Brandon; beloved daughters; Lisa Williams and husband, Mark, of Seattle, WA, Lori Grimes and husband, Ricky, of Mize and Belinda Arrington and husband, Jay of Mize; his sister, Jane Pittman of Brandon; grandchildren Sidney Byrd, Jordan Foster, Haley Sykes, Britney Byers, Jace Foster and Jaylin Arrington, three great-grandchildren, two nieces, two nephews and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. Visitation for Billy will take place at the reservoir campus of Pinelake Church in Flowood, MS, where he and Ann had been attending for some time and had planned to join, from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, September 12. A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, September 13 at Pinelake at 10:00 a.m. with visitation from 9-10 prior. Interment will be in Lakeland Place Garden Park Cemetery on Lakeland Drive in Flowood immediately following. Pallbearers will be cousins, Tommy, Kelly, Mike, and Terry Thames; and friends, Rep. Johnny Stringer and Sidney Crosby. Honorary pallbearers will be members and staff of the Mississippi Legislature. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the . Friends may sign online guest book at

Published in Clarion Ledger on Sept. 12, 2013
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