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Billye Abercrombie

Obituary
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Billye Sue Abercrombie, a native New Mexican, went home to be with her Lord and Savior shortly after 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, 2013. She was 85 and member of First Baptist Church, Las Cruces. A memorial service will be held in the auditorium of the Las Cruces Good Samaritan Village Thursday, March 7 at 2 p.m. Billye Sue was born on Nov. 14, 1927. She was the youngest of five children born to Herbert Greenwood and Mittie Watkins Tyson. At this time, her father was the principal of a small rural school, Bronco, near Tatum, N.M. She graduated from El Paso High School. With the exception of one semester at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Billye Sue attended New Mexico State University where she completed her bachelor's degree in home economics. She was the first 4-H Club director in Doña Ana County. She married Frank Dees Abercrombie on July 17, 1951 and moved to Roswell, N.M. where he worked for the Soil Conservation District. She served as the Chavez County Home Extension Agent. Frank then accepted a supervisory position as a Range Conservationist in Africa, overseeing projects in the "bush" about 100 miles from Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia. This was primitive living. A generator for electricity was turned on at dusk and stayed on until daylight to keep wild animals at a distance throughout the nights. All water was hauled from the river and had to be boiled and filtered before it was safe to drink. Home leave was a welcome relief after several years in Somalia. Upon their return to Africa, they lived in Kano, Nigeria and then later moved to Kaduna, Nigeria. From Kaduna, they moved to Lagos, Nigeria; then to Addis Abba, Ethiopia; and from Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya. While in Ethiopia, Billye Sue transcribed textbooks into Braille for the secondary school in Addis Abba. They spent 19 years serving in Africa before Frank retired as Head of Range Management for East Africa for Aid for International Development (A.I.D.). While on home leave from Nigeria in 1964, Billye Sue and Frank adopted their son, Frank Tyson Abercrombie. They took their nine-month-old son back to Nigeria with them, then to Ethiopia, and eventually Kenya. He attended school at Rosslyn Academy in Nairobi. The years spent in Nairobi were times of great happiness and Billye Sue enjoyed fulfilling one of her most cherished callings, a mother. When Frank was eligible for retirement, they returned to Roswell. Their son attended and graduated high school from New Mexico Military Institute. Frank gardened and grew enough vegetables to feed a small country, and Billye Sue, with constant support from her siblings, provided shelter and lovingly cared for her elderly mother. Billye Sue moved to Good Samaritan Village in 2001. Some of the residents remember her teaching tap dance classes. As her health declined, so did her activities. But she continued to keep up with family and friends, found pleasure in morning visits and evening walks in front of the Garden Apartments, and always enjoyed his company when her son, Frank, stopped by frequently to visit. She was preceded in death by her husband Frank Dees Abercrombie; sisters Johnny Mack Stewart and Morene Short; a brother H.G. Tyson; and one niece Dariya Stewart Reich. She is survived by one son Frank Tyson Abercrombie, and one sister Lorene Tyson, both of Las Cruces, N.M. She is also survived by the following nieces and nephews and many great-nieces and great-nephews: Synde Sue Short Cleveland, Mike Tyson, Richard Tyson, Fred Stewart, Allan Stewart, Dr. John T. Wilson, Jr., Joyce Wilson Witter, Nancy Wilson Yates, Margie Wilson Manthei, Donna Abercrombie Bussey, Jeanie Abercrombie Jones, Nellie Abercrombie Smith, Dan Abercrombie, Robert Abercrombie, Susan Abercrombie Harris and Sally Abercrombie Torres. The family requests donations be made to help struggling people around the world become self-reliant for food and income: Heifer Foundation, PO Box 727, Little Rock, AR 72203 or www.heifer.org.
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Mar. 7, 2013
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