Royce Koonce was born December 29, 1936, in Chireno, Texas, to the late Wylie David and Sarah Gladys Koonce. He and Billie Nell Lowery were married August 6, 1960. They had one son, Kevin, who was born July 31, 1967. Royce worked in road construction (with a few years off to serve in the Army) until he retired and then ran Lowery's Fish Camp. He turned this camp into a beautiful place that people loved to visit. He loved the outdoors, and fishing and visiting with the people who came to his camp as well as all of his and Billie's family and friends were his favorite things to do. He was an expert at trotlining and pulled in some really BIG catfish. He could really put on some superb fish fries! He raised cattle for several years and was really proud of the year one of his cows had twin calves. He always was patient in showing his great nieces and nephews his cows. When he was a child, all of the kids had to pick a certain amount of cotton, and his sisters Lucy and Claudette would help fill his sack to keep him from getting a spanking. Also, when he was a child he was bitten by a snake fishing with his friend Carl in a creek. They decided to cut the snake bite because they thought it was a water moccasin. When Royce didn't feel bad or get sick, they just kept fishing! Nothing would deter his fishing! Royce was beloved by all who knew him. He is survived by his wife, Billie Nell (Lowery) Koonce of Etoile; his sister, Janette Burgin of Nacogdoches; his nieces, Nancy Williams, Cynthia Arnold, and Sandra Church of Nacogdoches, Sara Maynard of Ohio, Cheryl Medlock and Martha Meadors of Oklahoma, Kimberly Rachel of Fairfield, Carol Freeman of Dallas, and Lori Austin of League City; his nephews, Jim Lazarine of Nacogdoches, Philip and Paul Bowers of Oklahoma, Mack Austin of Austin, Richard Koonce of Tyler, and Stephen Koonce of Forney. He was preceded in death by his parents, W.D. and Gladys Koonce; his son, Kevin Koonce, on August 7, 2013; his brothers, James Koonce and Wayne Koonce; his sisters, Lucy Lazarine and Claudette Bowers; and his nephews David Koonce and Dean Koonce. Services are set for 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 16, 2014, at Etoile United Pentecostal Church, located at 168 Hwy. 103 in Etoile, with Pastor Glenn D. Morton officiating. Interment will follow at Blue Springs Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday at the church. Pallbearers: Johnny Church, Jimmy Mettlen, Eddy Arnold, David Lowery, Tommy Lowery, and Michael Lazarine. Online memories and condolences may be offered at www.CasonMonk-Metcalf.com. Cason Monk-Metcalf of Nacogdoches, directors.
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Published in The Lufkin Daily News on July 15, 2014