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Harold BILLINGS


1931 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Harold BILLINGS Obituary
BILLINGS, Harold Wayne Nov. 12, 1931 - Nov. 29, 2017 "From boyhood to grandfatherhood, books have always been the bedrock and stars in my life." Harold was born in the Texas Hill Country in Cain City, Texas in 1931. He descended from a long line of Texans, from pioneers, ranchers and Texas Rangers, to judges and ministers. Having lived through the hardship of the Great Depression and austerity of World War II, Harold devoted himself to a life of knowledge, learning and literary scholarship; always carrying with him his love of the nature and folklore of his native hill country. Harold received his BA from Pan American University in Edinburg and his MLS from the University of Texas at Austin. He spent fifty years at the UT general libraries, rising from cataloger to Director of General Libraries, a position he held for the last twenty-five years of his career. During Harold's tenure at UT there was a historic shift in the function and usage of libraries made possible by the digital revolution. He was an early advocate of the digitalization of libraries, and oversaw the implementation of computer systems to manage, control and provide access to academic resources. He also played a pivotal role in the early stages of worldwide information sharing of libraries. In 2003 the American Library Association awarded him its annual Hugh C. Atkinson award for his "long commitment to innovation in automation, resource sharing and creative management." The university designated two scholarships in his honor and recently bestowed upon him the title of Library Director Emeritus. Harold also edited and wrote extensively about authors Edward Dahlberg and M. P. Shiel. Reflecting a long time interest in Arthur Conan Doyle, in 2006 he received the Morley-Montgomery award for his essay The Materia Medica of Sherlock Holmes. In recent years, Harold had turned to supernatural literary fiction, authoring such stories as "A Dead Church", "The Monk's Bible", and "The Daughters of Lilith". Harold is pre-deceased by his mother Katie Mae McCarty, father Harold Ross Billings, Step-mother Ethel Billings, brothers Noel Billings and Larry McCarty and sisters Lola Cook and Kathie Irwin. He is survived by his wife of sixty-three years, Bernice; children Geoffrey Billings, Brenda Billings of Austin, Carol Billings Blood and Daniel W. Blood of Greenwich, CT and Cape Neddick, ME; grandchildren Jackson, Walker and Ella Blood; brother, James Billings; sister-in-law Sue Mounce of Fredericksburg and her family, and many nieces and nephews. Harold is also survived by Hollye and Carter Hudson of New York, N.Y. A Celebration of Life will be held December 18, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at the Umlauf Sculpture Gardens. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the University of Texas at Austin General Libraries c/o Billings family, P.O. Box P Mail Code S 5400 Austin, Texas 78712.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Dec. 10, 2017
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