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Billy Frank Cottingham passed from this life Tuesday, August 20, 2013, at the age of 90 years. Born January 13, 1923, in San Antonio,Cottingham was a direct descendent of a pioneer family that immigrated from England to America in the 1600s. The family settled in the San Antonio area around 1850. Billy was a fifth generation from San Antonio. He graduated from Brackenridge High School and joined the U.S. Air Force at the outbreak of World War II. He flew in B-24 heavy bombers and was wounded in aerial combat during the infamous Anzio Beach Landing. He flew 51 combat missions in the European theater of operations. His decorations included the Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart. Upon completion of military duty, he returned to San Antonio and married his high school sweetheart, Reinette Van Wagn.
Billy chose Southwestern Bell for a career and worked there for 50 years. During his career he helped convert manual telephone exchanges to dial operations along the South Texas/Mexican border. He was director for Southwestern Bell's Technical Training Center for the San Antonio Area which included El Paso, the Gulf Coast and from Amarillo to Brownsville. He participated in college recruiting and hiring for Bell during the 1970s. He was supervisor of the Bell Pavilion during Hemisfair. Billy was appointed to administer employee benefit services for Southwestern Bell from 1979 until his retirement in 1991. He was a member of the telephone pioneers and served as president and administrator of the organization. He sat on the board of the San Antonio Telephone Federal Credit Union for 20 years and is past chairman of the board for that financial institution.
Billy and Reinette traveled extensively throughout the world. He had a great zest for life and was an avid quail hunter. Billy often reflected on his gratefulness for the hunt, the camaraderie afield, the guns, dogs, quail and the relaxed atmosphere of the hunting camp.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Lou Cottingham, his sister Dorothy Moseley McDonald, and his son Ronny Cottingham. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Reinette, his son Gary of Austin, two daughters, Claudia Bush and Reinette Miller of Houston, three grandsons; Haydn Bush, Matthew Cottingham and Jackson Miller, 5 granddaughters; Dea Cottingham, Courtney Pitcher, Meredith Krause, Elissa Miller and Natalie Stambro; 10 great grandchildren, Lilly and Gavin Bush, Lucy and Connally Pitcher, Dylan, Iris and Vera Cottingham, Emma, Max and one more baby soon to be born Miller.
"Nothing can replace the beauty of one life, the goodness of one heart, the integrity of one soul." Billy was a Christian man who lived his life to the highest moral and ethical standards. He was no stranger to hard work. Billy had a wonderful sense of humor and applied it to all his endeavors. All were blessed to have had the privilege to love and be loved by him.
A funeral mass celebrating Billy's life will be held on Saturday, August 24th, 11 a.m., at Holy Spirit
Catholic Church, 8134 Blanco Road in San Antonio.
In lieu of flowers,please make a donation to
Published in Express-News on Aug. 23, 2013