Billie Genter Eaton

Billie Genter Eaton age 68, a resident of Green Valley, Arizona, since 2006, died at home from complications of kidney cancer on October 1, 2013. Billie was born in Dayton, Ohio, on February 20, 1945, to Michael Sheldon Genter and Eileen Manning Genter. Most of her growing years were in Medway and Springfield, Ohio, attending Tecumseh and graduating from Springfield's North High School in 1963. A look at her high school yearbook shows she was very involved with at-school activities and that she followed the lives of her classmates. She attended the 25th class reunion and planned to attend the 50th reunion, prevented by failing health. The internet allowed Billie to reconnect with many of her early friends. Billie met her future husband, Richard Thomas Eaton, Jr., in a class at Miami University in early 1966. They wed August 6, 1967, in Springfield, Ohio. Billie graduated from Miami in 1967, trained as an elementary school teacher. Military training and pilot assignments took Richard to Arizona, California, North Dakota, back to California and eventually to Phoenix, Arizona. Billie worked for schools and school systems during those moves. Returning to Arizona, she joined Chandler Schools, where she worked until qualifying for retirement. She attained additional educational levels during her teaching years, stopping just short of completing her Doctorate degree. She was a candidate for the NASA Teacher in Space Program. She was consistently awarded the highest ratings as a teacher and absolutely loved kids and teaching. Billie always enjoyed vacations to the Colorado mountains and return visits to Springfield, Ohio. She was very interested in history, ghost towns, genealogy (uncovering many forgotten things about her family history), horses, the sea and the romance of sailing ships. She also loved classic movies and stage plays. She enjoyed her husband's interest in trains; she especially liked steam engines. After retirement from teaching, she lived in Bailey, Colorado, for several years and enjoyed skiing, hiking in the high mountains, dressage, and participation in the "Conifer Newcomers and Neighbors" group, again forming many lasting friendships. She and her husband eventually moved to their retirement home in Green Valley, Arizona, where Billie was soon involved in "Lady Niners" golf and the "Women of Quail Creek" organizations. She developed an interest in Michael Crawford's work on stage and screen, joining the Michael Crawford International Fan Association, and participating in a fan association trip to London to see him in a play and celebrate his 70th birthday. Billie and Richard had planned to visit Ireland, to seek ancestral locations, and travel southward through Europe, eventually to the Middle East. Kidney cancer interrupted this and caused her death. It also ended her plans to watch her grandchildren mature, prevented her from further enjoying life, living longer than her parents and growing old with her husband. People who knew Billie remarked that she was always positive and outgoing, remarkably so in her last year as she struggled with surgery, anti-cancer medications, and their effects. Her last two weeks were a struggle due to the cancer. She died at home. Billie is survived by her husband, Richard; son, Richard (III), his wife, Sarah and four grandchildren, Cole and Reid Hultman and Timothy and Amanda Eaton and two sisters, Cynthia (Johnny) Varisco of Baton Rouge, LA, and Ann (Robert) Johnson of Springfield, Ohio. Her parents predeceased her, as did her sister, Susan Self. A Memorial was held in the home for immediate family and many friends. Billie chose cremation and will be placed in a niche in the Columbarium facility at Arlington National Cemetery, where she will be joined by her husband. The niche will bear her name, years of birth and death, and her husband's name, military rank and honor and years of birth and death. Having a marker bearing her name was important to her, as she had discovered several of her ancestors had no markers. A Service will be held, at Arlington, at the date of placement (unknown at this time). Thank you to all who have expressed their love for Billie and related her positive approach to people and life. Richard now must further her unaccomplished goals. This past summer, she managed to visit with family in Williamsburg, VA, and Springfield, OH. She made it to the ocean and a maritime museum while there. Her last trip was by RV with Richard and their two cats to San Diego to see the sailing ships and walk into the ocean. She thoroughly enjoyed that trip. Billie wished that "A Parable of Immortality," by Henry Van Dyke, be read at her memorial. Billie has set sail.

Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Oct. 20, 2013