William Lillard
1927 - 2017
Geo. H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Directors
1010 Bering Drive
Houston, TX
William "Bill" Terrell Lillard
William Terrell "Bill" Lillard, age 89, passed away peacefully in his home on Sunday, the 30th of July 2017. A member of First Presbyterian Church, he departed this life and arrived at his eternal home with the peace of salvation through Jesus Christ.
He was born on the 13th of October 1927, in Fort Worth, Texas to Zack Ford and Mary Elise Lillard. He is preceded in death by his brother Zack Ford Lillard, Jr. and his grandson Bobby Lillard. He grew up in Dallas, Texas where he attended Woodrow Wilson high school and SMU before embarking on an incredible career as a professional bowler.
Bill married his beloved wife of 66 years, Dorothy Marie Jordan on the 22nd of February 1951, and they were blessed with two sons. Always a true gentleman, he taught by example with humility, kindness, and unwavering integrity.
Bill's career in bowling began in Dallas as a teenager where he fell in love with the sport. Soon after, he was recruited to bowl with some of the nation's best teams in bowling. He was privileged to bowl with Pfiffers, Jockey-Cooper, Falstaff, and the famous Budweiser teams. He won numerous tournaments and awards during his time with these teams, but Bill's outstanding accomplishments in the American Bowling Congress/United States Bowling Congress Open Championships are what truly defined him as one of the greatest bowlers to ever play the game. His Open Championship career began in 1948 and culminated in April 2015 with him becoming the all-time pinfall leader in the championship's history; a record that still stands today. He is one of only three men to have won 8 titles during his Open Championship career.
He was voted the Bowling Writers Association of America's Bowler of the Year in 1956, and he earned Bowling Magazine's recognition for first-team All-American in 1956 and 1957.
He was a charter member of the Professional Bowlers Association and claimed the Miller High Life Open in 1966. He was elected to the USBC Hall of Fame and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1972, and the Texas State Bowling Hall of Fame in 1979.
In December 1999, Bowlers Journal International listed Lillard No. 15 on the list of the 100 greatest bowlers of the 20th century. He often said he never worked a day in his life because he was blessed to be able to do something he loved everyday. Bill and his great friend and partner Pete Treybig have built and enjoyed family based bowling centers in and around Houston for some 50 years. He was blessed to combine his two greatest passions, bowling and family.
He is survived by wife Dorothy, son Zack Lillard and his wife Cheryl and granddaughters Catherine and Christina; son Bill Lillard and his wife Cindy and granddaughters Jenny Lillard, Allison Lillard Parker and her husband Taylor; great grandchildren Bennett, Grayson, and Caroline Parker.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o'clock in the afternoon until eight o'clock in the evening on Thursday, the 3rd of August, in the library and grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
A memorial service is to be conducted at eleven o'clock in the morning on Friday, the 4th of August, in the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church, 5300 Main Street in Houston, where the Rev. Dr. Bill Heston, Senior Associate Pastor, is to officiate. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception to be held in the church's Palm Court.
Prior to the memorial service, the family will have gathered for a private interment at Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery in Houston.
In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions, in memory of his grandson Bobby Lillard, may be directed toward Texas Children's Hospital Renal Fund #6323, Office of Development, Ste. 5214, P.O. Box 300630, Houston, TX 77230-0630

Published by Houston Chronicle from Aug. 2 to Aug. 3, 2017.
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Memorial service
First Presbyterian Church
5300 Main Street, Houston, TX
Funeral services provided by:
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35 Entries
Hello Zack, I don't know if you'll see this but I just was wondering how things were and I came across this. I am very sorry about your father's passing. I always enjoyed being at your house and knowing both your mom and your dad.
Paul Wiseman
July 18, 2020
I remember how kind, friendly and wonderful Bill was every time I would see him. He made bowling a wonderful time at Merchant's Park during the 60's and 70's He will be missed! Incredible class and dignified, a wonderful example for today's young people!
Alton Stuchli
September 27, 2018
One of the nicest men I ever, repeat ever, worked for. I just found out. Sympathy goes out to the Lillard family.
January 23, 2018
I remember Bill and Dottie as she was called many years ago when Bill was getting his start with bowling in Chicago. My dad was George Young one of the many pioneers to bowling. My memories of those days I have held deep in my heart, Bill was a fine man my dad had great respect for him. My condolences to the Lillard family.
Roger Young
October 11, 2017
Dorothy and Billy, Your husband was one of the greatest bowlers that I ever met and he was even a better person. He was a true gentleman and a person that I admired and respected. I ran into Bill at Texas state tournaments and the ABC nationals around the US many times and he always had the time to shake my hand, talk to me in length and wish me good luck. I am sorry for your loss.
Randy Detmer
October 7, 2017
My condolences to the family, friends and loved ones Bill leaves behind. He touched many lives.
Frank Stowell
August 7, 2017
I have known Bill since 1965 and was always proud to say that I began my bowling career in the same place as he -- Lakewood Lanes in Dallas, Texas. I cannot say enough positive things about him. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word. It is evident that he was a good family man, truly a person respectful of everyone. He was a fierce competitive bowler completely devoid of envy. He was my role model as a young bowler. I was fortunate to have been able to call him my friend and, even though both of us moved away from Dallas, I looked forward to the many phone conversations that I had with Bill and Dorothy over the years, as well as the enjoyable PBA regional events where I competed with their son, Billy. I will miss speaking with Bill, but I know that he is enjoying his new place. I wish peace and comfort to his dear family and loved ones in this sad time. But rest in the Lord has he has done and be confident that Bill will be there to greet you when it is your time to go Home.
Bob Strickland
August 5, 2017
As a teen, your hubby would come help me when I was practicing. He made me feel so special. I was, because he was. We love both of you dearly, always have. Love Terry
Terry Maree
August 4, 2017
Dorothy and family: This is such a sad time in my life to say goodbye to my dear friend, Bill. He was a man of such high standards that there was no way he did not demand great respect throughout his life. Being professional bowlers we often enjoyed reminiscing about "the old times" with joy and laughter. I will remember those days with tears in my eyes. He certainly was a role model to everyone. Barbara and I wish to express our sympathy at this time.

Skee and Barbara Foremsky
Conroe, Tx
August 4, 2017
Dear Dorothy and Billy!
Bill was an idol of mine since I was 8 years old.When I had the honor to know him and bowl with him during the ABC CLASSIC TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP OF 1970-71-72 a dream came true.Sitting with you Dorothy and Bill in Florida at the services for Don Carter,was overwhelming and I felt blessed by god to be with you both.Ever time I saw Bill,I would say, "There in the 1956 Bowler Of The Year"he would smile and I would melt.To the Lillard family,he will always be in my heart! Larry Lichstein
August 4, 2017
Dear Bill and all family , what a true blessing to know and to have enjoyed our special Easter buffet with your family my in the past and to have experienced his kindness , gentlemaness and generous spirit ! His bowling accomplishments are tremendous but the family he modeled for reflect his true relationship with Jesus his savior! Now he's showing Jesus his special bowling tips :) and totally healed! To God be the Glory! Early Rhodes McWhorter
Early Mcwhorter
August 4, 2017
One of my first coaches in bowling. Never said anything negative. He always taught with positive reenforcement, and that was what I took with me into my coating. He was as wonderful man, and will be missed.
Red Shrum
August 3, 2017
Mr. Lillard was one of the best!!! Not only was he generous in the community but he was kind to everyone he met. Grew up knowing his name and will always remember him fondly. He truly will be missed by everyone!
Becky Phillips
August 3, 2017
Dear Dorothy and family:
Its no secret that Bill became my boyhood idol the first time I saw him on Championship Bowling in 1955 or 56.
I met him at the age of 9 and I can say he was my friend from that day forward.
My memories will last forever!
Barry Asher
August 3, 2017
It was a sad day when I learned of Bill's passing. I had just been asking about him during the Luci bowling tournament. I have such great memories of both bowling against Bill during leagues and all the wonderful stories that he would tell me when we stopped to talk with each other. To all of Bill's family, may the love of friends and family carry you through your grief. Mr. Lillard was a wonderful man who will be missed by many.
Geoffrey Bond
August 3, 2017
He wasn't one of the greatest he was the greatest ambassador to the game, he will be missed.
Barney Kuznieski
August 3, 2017
To the Lillard's,

I grew up watching your loved one on television in the early and mid 1950's in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was my favorite. I loved the way he handled himself, always humble, always smiling, always gracious. Little did I know that some 50 years later I would get to know Mr Lillard when our daughter, Elizabeth Berquist, would play softball with Jenny and be coached by his son, Bill Lillard. Mr Lillard carried on the same wonderful personality traits. Not surprising at all.

While no longer a member of FPC, I would have broken traffic laws to get there to help usher the memorial service. Unfortunately, we just dropped off Elizabeth for her first class at Indiana University - Bloomington and I am spending some time at a friend's lake house in Michigan fishing.

My thoughts and prayers are with you as you celebrate the life of this tremendous man.

Philip Berquist
August 3, 2017
My deepest sympathies to the Lillard family. Mr. Lillard was one of the nicest people I have ever known and some of my fondest lifetime memories are the times I spent both working for and bowling in Merchants Park Lanes in the late 60's and early 70's.
Wayne Sikes
August 3, 2017
To the Dorthey and the entire Lillard family,
Mr. Lillard was a very special person, truly one of a kind. To us, the next generation of bowlers, he was bigger than life and yet, somebody we could talk too when growing up at Palace Lanes. Mr. Lillard was a gentleman, hero, and a mentor to all of us in the bowling community. He was truly, one of a kind!
I for one, consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to have grown up in his presence. His passion and love of the sport lives on through all of us that he touched. God bless and rest in peace, Mr. Lillard, you will be missed, but never forgotten.
Thomas Young
August 3, 2017
Mr. Bill was really good to us, Jerry Brooks an Michael Brooks. It was amazing that Mr. Bill could tell you which pins fell after you threw the ball without even looking. He was an amazing man. We loved him and appreciated everything he did for us.
Theresa Brooks
August 2, 2017
Dearest Dorothy and family, Our family wishes to extend our deepest condolences on your loss of Bill. He and Don were made of the same mold. We love you all...Paula
Paula Carter
August 2, 2017
Bill was one of the finest people I ever met. I was fortunate to have been a team mate of his for several years in the 70's and it was a great thrill. Dorothy, you and Bill have been wonderful friends over the years and he will be greatly missed. Love you. Pat & Jim Paine
August 2, 2017
My thoughts and prayers with the Lillard family. I could not have had a better coach, when asked about my bowling background or complimented at times I proudly say it was all because of Mr. Lillard, but more importantly he was a kind and wonderful man and Mrs. Lillard is one of the sweetest ladies I have ever been fortunate to meet. I will never quit thinking of you. Thank-you for the memories.
August 2, 2017
Dennis Hanovich
August 2, 2017
With deepest sympathy, may the power of prayer ease your sorrow, give you peace and provide much comfort for you during this difficult time. Matthew 21:22
August 2, 2017
Bill was a great, kind, gentle and generous man. I always remember his wonderful generosity when he donated the annual use of Palace Lanes to the Arabia Bowlers Labor Day Bowling Tournament to help support the crippled and burned children in the Houston Area every Labor Day Weekend for many years. Once each year he would allow the Arabia Bowlers to descend upon Palace Lanes and he and his staff would help us to run a very successful tournament with all the proceeds being donated to the Arabia Bowlers to be used to support the purchase of unbudgeted items for the Shriners Crippled Childrens Hospital in Houston and the Shriners Burns Hospital in Galveston. His generosity helped many children in the hospitals for many years. I particularly enjoyed my time with Bill and Bill, Jr when I was tournament chairman and had a very successful Labor Day Weekend. He was always ready to step forward to help in any time we asked. He will surely be missed by many.

To Dorothy and Bill, Jr. Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of a great man, Bill Lillard.

Dick Zerweck
Arabia Bowlers Past President 1983
Dick Zerweck
August 2, 2017
Thoughts and prayers to the Lillard family. Mr. Lillard was a wonderful role model to the Muir boys as they were growing up. His sportsmanship, compassion, and sense of humor were a blessing. Thank you for those wonderful years. He will be deeply missed.
Cindy Muir
August 2, 2017
Bill lillard was my head coach for 34 years. Mike and bill would spend sundays bowling. Having family fun. This was a father figure to me. Dorthy bill jr zach cuindy we all family. My favorite time is when bill would say let's get that strike or spare. Amen.
Mike Mcclure
August 2, 2017
Mike McClure. Bill lillard was my coach for 34 years. Bill was a family man. Always said let's get that strike. We bowled on Sunday morning. That was our time together. Bill dorthy bill jr zach Cindy and all the Lollards are family amen.
August 2, 2017
As everyone has always said, one of the nicest men anyone could known. Bowlers, friends, family, and casual acquaintances will mourn this passing. Bill was a great role model for me since I met him as a high schooler, then as a team mate at ABC/USBC tournaments, then as a genuine friend throughout my career on tour and afterwards. He did much to help me in my bowling. His family has always been great to me, my brother, and my parents. Thanks Bill, you will be remembered. Prayers with Dorothy and Billy, who have always treated me and my family with the utmost of respect and friendship.
Pete McCordic
August 1, 2017
Dorothy, please know that I am thinking about you and care for you and am sending condolences to you and your family.
Doris Chesser
August 1, 2017
Bill Lillard was icon of the Sport of Bowling. Both on the lanes and off. He was truly a southern gentleman and will missed by many in the sport. Rest in Peace Bill. I hear there are no ten pins in heaven. My sincerest condolences to his family. Kendra Hardy
Kendra Hardy
August 1, 2017
Among the many people I've met throughout my career in bowling, Bill was one of my all-time favorites. To be in the same room with Bill, Dick Weber and Joe Norris was one of the highlights of my many years in the sport. He was the consummate gentleman, a fountain of bowling knowledge and a Texan to his very roots. The world can use more Bill Lillards.
Bill Vint
August 1, 2017
My sincerest condolences to the family.

Bill was one of the finest people I've known. He was a friend to myself and my family.

He will be missed by all that had the pleasure of knowing him.
Rick Titus
August 1, 2017
Bill was the kind of man that we all should emulate. I feel privileged to have known him. My prayers go out to his family.
Rodney Moore
August 1, 2017
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