Billy Ray Paulk
Wilson Funeral Home - El Reno
100 N Barker Ave
El Reno, OK
Billy Ray Paulk was born February 8, 1932 to Velma Ellen and Luther R Paulk at their farmhouse northwest of Calumet, OK. Billy joined an older brother, Glenn, and was later followed by three more sisters, Bonnie, Nancy, and Roxie. My parents were married on May 10th, 1929 and farmed 160 acres, raising all manner of animals from horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens, and a multitude of others along the way. In addition to raising animals for food, we grew all of our produce and Mom had the major responsibility for canning and storing foods that would feed us through the winter.
Our closest neighbor was approximately a mile away and we had family on both Mom and Dad's side who lived nearby. Some of my favorite childhood memories include family gatherings where we would get together and fish, then afterwards have a big fish fry. We cleaned and cooked the fish out on the River (the North Canadian River runs through our old farm place) and it was a festive picnic atmosphere. We would have beans and potato salad with our fish and this was one of the few events where there might even be a few cold beers! We would play games (softball), swim in the river and just generally enjoy each other's company. All the time spent together in my early years helped to build a bond with family that has endured all these years since!
I started school at Glenwood Country School which was approximately 3 ½ miles from our house. Daddy usually took us to school in the mornings but we usually had to walk home in the afternoons (unless the weather was really bad). I attended Glenwood Country School until 3rd grade, attended Calumet Schools for 3rd grade, then back to Glenwood until the 8th grade. I started my high school years at Geary High School and graduated from Calumet High School. During my school years my favorite activities included baseball, football and participating in 4-H club. My 4-H activities revolved mainly around showing hogs, where I won the ultimate prize in 1947 at the American Royal Livestock Show with a Chester White barrow. The prize for winning Grand Champion at that time was a Butler water tank and some cash.
After graduating from high school, I farmed my Uncle Ira's place for one year, raising cotton and maize. In 1951, a couple of my friends and I went to Oklahoma City and attempted to join the Air Force. They had a back-up list and we were not accepted till January 1952. Basic training was completed in San Antonio at Lacklack AFB and from there I was stationed at Wichita Falls, TX, attending aircraft and engine (A&E) school. In September, I went to Chanute Field in Illinois to attend instrument school. The training that I got was the basis for the career which would later support me and my family until retirement.
I started working in the Aircraft Instrument Shop at McConnell AFB (Wichita, KS) in December 1952 and in the Fall of 1954, met my wife to be (Frances Jane Christy) through a friend we had in common who was from Oklahoma. Our first date was with several other couples and we went to a local park and had a weenie roast... froze our rears! After continuing to spend time together and falling in love, we decided to get married in March 1955. We started our married life together living in Wichita where we lived in a two different rent houses and then bought our first house in Mulvane.
I was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1956 and joined the Kansas National Guard at that time. While I was in the KS National Guard, I was able to see many new places like Bermuda. This was where I saw my first slot machine, and cigarettes were $.09/package (with no tax)... that makes for $.90 for a whole carton of cigarettes. While traveling with the military over my career, I have seen nearly every state in the U.S. (including Hawaii and Alaska). Other countries I have seen include Central and South America, Italy, Greece, Spain, Canada and the Azores islands.
The next year, we were blessed with a bouncing baby girl, Anita Jane, in January 1957. In 1958, we moved from Mulvane to Hutchinson and in 1961, another daughter joined the family (Rita Kay), followed by a son in 1966 (Lawrence Ray). In 1967, the Air Force Base in Hutchinson was moving to Topeka, so our family was faced with a decision... whether to follow the Base to its new location or to relocate. We decided to move the family to Oklahoma and I obtained a job at the Federal Aviation Administration in Oklahoma City and transferred from the Kansas National Guard to the Oklahoma National Guard.
We bought a home in Yukon, OK and while we were living there, our Baby (Shari Beth) joined the family. We lived there until 1970, when we made another big move from the city back to the country... Dibble, Oklahoma. The years living here flew by quickly, as all the kids were involved in sports, active in 4-H and FFA, and I continued to work at FAA full-time and the Guard one weekend a month and Summer Camp. In 1975, I lost my Dad to a heart attack. He had been to visit us the weekend before for Anita's high school graduation and returned home on Sunday. The following day, while going back to work from lunch, he suffered a heart attack and his vehicle left the road and went between wires on the fence, landing in a farm pond. Local law enforcement and family searched several days before finding him.
In 1977, I became a Grandpa for the first time and what a blessing that was! Brian Scott (and his Mama) lived with us until Anita and Jim Dunn married in 1983. Having that boy in our lives daily provided so many wonderful memories and a bond that will never be broken. One story that I have told many times about Brian was when I went outside and found him in the garden and he had dug a hole so deep (with a little Army shovel) I could barely see him. I asked him what he was doing, and he replied, "I'm digging up the devil, Grandpa!" In 1989, Joseph Clinton joined the family.
Rita married in 1981 and in 1982, my first granddaughter (April Nicole) was born. April's love of horses and all things outdoors gave us many opportunities to spend time together. One of my favorite memories of time spent together was when we went to Southeastern Oklahoma for a trail ride, and while riding a little gray mare that I had just purchased, she entered and won a Play Day. This was after I had told her she probably shouldn't attempt this as she had never done anything like that before. I guess she showed me!
In July 1982, I retired from the Guard and began driving a school bus. Oh, the stories I could tell about those years.
Larry married his high school sweetheart, Angel (who also brought a touch of royalty to our family) in 1988. Their union provided me with two more grandchildren: Zachary Thomas and Lacey Rae.
In 1989, Frances and I divorced and I relocated to Calumet in 1992 to be closer to my Mom. After renting a place, I decided I would like to buy some land and after looking around a little, I found a place at Okemah. While living there, I made some wonderful friends... Cornell and Terry were neighbors who lived nearby who provided hours of companionship.
In 1992, Shari married Jorge Quintana and they moved to Texas to make their new life. They had two sons, Sean Patrick and Evan Michael, and thus bringing the total number of grandkids to seven.
In 2011, my grandson, Zachary, helped me build a house and moved back to Dibble in order to be closer to my family. This has given me an opportunity to see many activities with my Grandkids and Great Grandkids (Blaine Davis, Briley Wood, Bristol Wood, Hadley Dunn, & Carson Cain) which has been wonderful! I have also enjoyed reconnecting with old friends, as well as making new ones.
He is preceded in death by his parents and siblings; Glen Hughes, Bonnie Higby, and Nancy Paulk. He survived by his daughter, Anita Dunn and husband Jim. Daughter, Rita Torneten and husband, Bill. Son, Larry Paulk and wife, Angel. Daughter, Shari Quintana and husband, Jorge. He was "Papa" to seven grandchildren: Brian Dunn, April Wood and husband, Dane, Joe Dunn and wife, Jess, Zachary Paulk and wife, Emily, Lacey Cain and husband, Michael, Dr. Sean Quintana and Evan Quintana. Five great-grandchildren; Blaine Davis, Briley Wood, Bristol Wood, Hadley Dunn, Carson Cain. Bonus grandchildren: Sarah Janssen and husband, Elliot, and Lisa Torneten. Bonus great-grandchildren: Jude and Zech Janssen. Honorary grandchild, Scarlett Albert. Honorary great-grandchild: Avery Albert. And a sister, Roxie Meade.
Published by Wilson Funeral Home - El Reno on Oct. 19, 2021.
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Wilson Funeral Home
100 N. Barker, El, OK
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