Majel Pitts, who was born December 22, 1916, in Rosboro Arkansas, died peacefully at the age of 97 on July 20, 2014. She was the only child of her parents Julius Enoch Pitts and Mary Elizabeth Wallace, of Dover and Russellville, Arkansas.
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Majel grew up in the lumber mill towns where her father was the manager of the Caddo River Lumber Company. She graduated from Waldron High School in 1935, and the University of Arkansas in 1939, majoring in business. While at the University , she met her future husband, Dr. Lindsey Finis Billingsley of Randolph County Arkansas. They married September 14, 1940 and resided in Little Rock while Lindsey finished medical school.
After a residency in Tacoma Washington, Majel and Lindsey, with their two children, Linda and Carl, relocated to Colorado Springs in 1947, where Dr. Billingsley opened his general practice. Except for a two year tour of duty with the Army, in Frankfurt Germany, they lived in Colorado Springs. Dr. Billingsley died in 1962.
Majel, always self sufficient, pursued a secretarial career in Civil Service, working at the US Air Force Academy as secretary to the professors in the English Department. She retired in 1984.
Having learned to swim in the Caddo River in Arkansas as a girl, she began competitive swimming at age 67, by joining the Pikes Peak Senior Athletes. To quote Majel in an article about her in the Gazette in 2003, "My best time in the 50-yard freestyle was 58 seconds, way back when I first started when I was really young...in my 60's." In twenty years of competitive swimming, Majel won 42 medals, including competitions in Colorado, Wyoming, Arkansas as well as three nationals. The medals will be handed down to her children, grandchildren
and great grandchildren, as reminders of her perserverance, "determination, and sense of adventure," (words from her granddaughter, Landis Seabolt.)
Majel was predeceased by her husband and her parents.
Survivors include her daughter Linda Billingsley Johnson, (Patrick), and son Carl Baker Billingsley ( Dawn Blinci). Her grandchildren are: Gretchen Johnson Watson (Leroy C.)
and Erin Lindsey Connor (Thomas), Lowe Billingsley (Risa), Donner Billingsley (Kellie), and Landis Billingsley Seabolt (Travis). Majel's great grandchildren are: Claire, Emma, and Madeline Watson, Joseph and Jayce Connor, Luke, Mason and Morgan Billingsley, and Weston and Cash Seabolt, plus one we are about to greet.
Our family is very grateful to Dave Barnes, her neighborhood caretaker while she remained at home until last November, the staff at Cheyenne House, of Life Quality Homes, and the many friends, co-workers, and swim team members who enjoyed Majel's living life so independently and with a great sense of humor.
A memorial service will be held at 4 PM Friday, July 25, 2014, at Blunt Mortuary, 2229 West Colorado Avenue, with a reception immediately following. We welcome all who remember Majel as a strong spirit who was dearly loved.
A private graveside service will be held at a later date.
2229 West Colorado Avenue Colorado Springs, CO 80904
Published in The Gazette on July 23, 2014