A 6th generation Texan, Billy was born in Houston to Mary King and B.H. Rawlinson on July 26, 1938. He was good natured, easy going, patient and intelligent. A giver, not a taker. He was self-disciplined and never smoked or cursed.
Billy’s parents divorced when he was six. He had an older sister and two older brothers that were already on their own. That made him the man of the house for his mother and baby sister Sharron. He took the job seriously. When he was eight he got a paper route with a bicycle he bought on a payment plan. He bought his own school clothes and helped his mom financially. Billy attended Milam Elementary, Washington Junior High, and Reagan High School where he was a good student and made lifetime friends.
On January 15, 1960 Billy married the love of his life- Barbara Lynn Foster. In spite of all the challenges, they had a wonderful 62 years together.
Billy received a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Houston while married, working full time, attending night school, fathering 3 sons, and buying 2 houses.
Billy worked for Foxboro/Invensys in Houston. In 1972 the family relocated to Beaumont, TX as he was promoted to Branch Manager. He retired after 46+ years. He also had a small business in which he calculated thermowells. Billy was a lifetime member of the Instrument Society of America (ISA).
Billy had a passion for cars. He bought his first car at 13, before he knew how to drive. It was the beginning of many funny stories growing up with his buddies in his west end neighborhood of Houston. Those were his mechanic learning years. In his late teens he drag raced in the newly established Gulf Freeway Racetrack in his 1954 Ford. In Beaumont he continued his hobby, restoring classic Mustangs, Camaros, and a ’57 Thunderbird.
Billy was an avid dirt biker. On Saturdays, a trailer of 5 dirt bikes would take off for a weekend of family fun. The family were members of ‘Gulf Coast Trail Riders’ and enjoyed many good times with friends.
Billy was community minded. As Pack Master of Pack 122 (Sallie Curtis Elementary School) Billy was also involved with Boy Scouts and Indian Guides.
Billy umpired for West End Little League and was a director from 1978-1981. He was also director of Amelia Senior League in 1982 and 1983.
In 1983, a brain tumor left Billy seriously disabled. After 6 months in the hospital, he came home to the reality that his life had changed. With the help of God, family, and friends he took on his new challenge. After 3 years of learning computers and intense therapies he was able to go back to work at Foxboro, first computer training and then as a proposal specialist.
Billy soon missed being active and discovered a new world of recumbent trikes and cycling friends. He was known from then on as “Three Wheel Bill”. His cycling friends always keeping an eye on him, it was a joy to feel the wind again on his rides around Beaumont and other parts of Texas and Louisiana. Always an achiever, he proudly completed the MS150 from Houston to Austin five times.
Bitten by the cycling bug, in 2006, Billy established the Southeast Texas Hike & Bike Coalition. Its dedicated members worked to teach children bicycle safety and promote safer biking in Southeast Texas. The coalition was instrumental in the creation of bike lanes and signage around Beaumont, bike lanes and sidewalks on Calder Avenue from downtown to the west end, a 7 mile trail from Kountze to the Big Thicket National Preserve Visitors Center, the Gulf Terrace Hike and Bike Trail and the Folsom Hike and Bike Trail. They also put on the annual Big Thicket Bike Tour.
Billy was preceded in death by his parents, sister Peggy Fields, brothers Ray and Perry Rawlinson, and great nephew Blake Jaksa. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Foster Rawlinson, sister and brother-in-law Sharron and Gary Karter. Sons: Lance Rawlinson and wife Pam , Todd Rawlinson and wife Stephanie, Brent Rawlinson and Fiancée Ann, Grandchildren: Justin Weeks and wife Heather, Rush Rawlinson and Fiancée Kelsey, Chase Rawlinson and Olivia Rawlinson. Great grandchildren Norah and Collin Weeks, 6 nephews and 2 nieces, great nieces and nephews and a host of beloved cousins and Foster in-laws.
Billy was an adoring father and taught his sons to work hard. He loved his family so much and being Poppa to his grandchildren was one of his greatest joys.
Words can never express the gratitude the family has for all the help, care, and prayers everyone has given to Billy over the years.
A memorial service for Mr. Rawlinson will be 11:00 a.m., Saturday, May 21, 2022, at Broussard’s, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont, Texas 77701, with Pastor Fred Kelm officiating. His cremation arrangements were handled though Broussard’s Crematorium, under the direction of Broussard’s, Beaumont.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Redeemer Lutheran Church 4330 Crow Road, Beaumont, Texas 77706 or Some Other Place, 590 Center Street, Beaumont, Texas 77701.
Complete and updated information can be found at broussards1889.com
Published by Beaumont Enterprise from May 16 to May 17, 2022.