Billy Ray Smith, 79, of Ganado passed away Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. There will be a visitation on Thursday, Oct. 15 beginning at 9 a.m., followed by a funeral service at 10 a.m. at St. James Lutheran Church in Ganado. Burial will immediately follow at Oaklawn Memorial Park Cemetery in El Campo.
Billy was born on Thursday, April 10, 1941 in El Campo, to Clifford and Annie Skalicky Smith. Billy’s family moved to Ganado when he was a young boy, and began farming around Ganado and the Cordele area. Billy graduated from Ganado High School in 1959. Billy Ray met the love of his life, Lennis Wilson in the summer of 1962. Within a few months they were engaged, and married in November of 1962. By May of 1964 they welcomed their daughter Shirley Gayle. Billy Ray lived a life of service and devotion. He was a proud rice and row crop farmer, as well as Brangus cattle rancher and breeder. His love of farming and ranching led him to serve on the PCA, First Ag Credit, and Capital Farm Credit for a combined 24 years. He also served on the Jackson County Drainage Board for 7-1/2 years.
Billy Ray was a loving and fun spirited father and grandfather. He cherished his time with his family. He enjoyed traveling with his family, showing his grandkids how to build and create things, and sharing the love of farming with his grandson. Billy Ray was a lifelong learner, and enjoyed showing his grandchildren interesting places. He prioritized a solid education for his daughter and grandchildren, and demonstrated this when he was elected for Ganado School Board in 1980, and served for nine years. Billy Ray knew the importance of a good education, and was honored to serve on a school board in a district he graduated from, and raised a child through.
Billy Ray and Lennis were married for 58 years. Their friendship and love continued to grow throughout their marriage. Billy Ray and Lennis created many adventures while traveling together and seeing new places. The love that Billy and Lennis had at the beginning of their marriage was still evident even up until the very last moments Billy Ray was with Lennis.
They shared a jovial relationship that was full of jokes and pranks they played on one another. Their care for each other was what was most admired. Billy Ray was a selfless husband that showed his love for Lennis in unspeakable ways. Billy Ray will be missed as a caring, soft spoken, and wise husband, father, pawpaw, brother-in-law, uncle and friend.
Billy Ray was preceded in death by his mother and father, Annie and Clifford Smith.
He is survived by his loving wife, Lennis Smith of Ganado; his daughter and son-in-law, Shirley and Roland Orsak of East Bernard; his grandson, Jordan Orsak or Redondo Beach, Calif.; his granddaughter, Kara Orsak Steward and husband Chase of Orange Grove and his great grandchildren, Emersyn, Dalton and Dallas and his brother, Ronnie Smith.
Services have been entrusted to Russell Todish of Ganado Funeral Home in Ganado.