Don Edward Billings was born on September 7, 1930 to Vince Billings and Essie Harris Billings in Oakland, Arkansas. Don attended school in Mountain Home and Flippen, Arkansas, graduating from Flippen High School in 1949. Don was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. Before he was shipped out, however, he married his sweetheart and fiance’, Geneva Loreta “Reta” Wickersham, in Yellville, Arkansas. They would remain sweethearts for the next 52 years until Reta’s death in 2004. While in the Army, Don served in the signal corps and earned the rank of corporal. In 1957, their only child, Donita Lois, was born while Don and Reta were living in Clovis, New Mexico. Shortly thereafter, the young Billings family moved to Tulsa where Don worked for Byron Jackson Pump Division (Centri-Lift) for 28 years in the assembly of oilfield products. After Centri-Lift relocated, Don was employed by Redman Pipe and Supply until his retirement. During retirement, Don and Reta built a home in Verdigris to be near their daughter and her family. At the time of Don’s death, he was a resident of Brookdale Assisted Living in Claremore.
Don was loved by everyone who knew him for his dry wit and playful nature. His quips and one-liners were his trademark, and he had a very genuine way of endearing himself to others. He was an accomplished guitarist and a fan of blue grass, country, and Southern gospel music. Visiting his lifelong friends back in Yellville to “play music” was something Don dearly loved to do. There was always a lot of fun, laughter, and food when they all got together. Another of Don’s passions was flying. He and his son-in-law, Steve, refurbished two different airplanes, and Don relished telling stories of the beautiful places they flew and a few of the harrowing moments they experienced. In fact, “Nearer My God to Thee” became a theme song of sorts for them. Donita blessed him with three grandchildren. The role of “Grandpa” came naturally to him, and he never missed any of their activities, especially their guitar recitals. First and foremost, however, Don, was a man of faith. Living for himself was never Don’s way, and one only had to around him a short time to realize that his life was committed to Christ. In Tulsa, he attended Springdale Baptist Church for 35 years, serving as a deacon and a Sunday School teacher. Friendship Baptist Church, Owasso, was Don’s church home in retirement, where he was a member of the Missions Committee and the Building Committee.
Don was predeceased by his beloved wife, Reta; his daughter, Donita Haralson; his parents, Vince and Essie Billings; his sisters, Geneva Billings and Donnie Billings; and his brother, Arnold Billings. Survivors include his son-in-law, Stephen Haralson and his wife, Sue; grandsons, Darin Haralson, Cory Haralson and his wife, Markie; Frank Ashby; granddaughter, Danielle Haralson; great-grandchildren, Dale Haralson, Sammi Haralson, and Austen Ashby; nieces; Donna Fowler and husband, Charles, and Barbara Wagner; great-nieces, Jolene Biddle, Karen Sparks, Tina Chandler, and Emily Wagner; and a host of dear friends.
The family would like to express their gratitude to Don’s friends and caregivers at Brookdale for your friendship, care, and compassion. Don always loved to joke. You not only encouraged his humor but delighted him with yours.
In lieu of flowers, Don’s wish was that memorials be made to the Friendship Baptist Missions fund which was near to his heart.
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