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.