Billy Otto "Bill" Killian
Billy Otto “Bill” Killian, of Sunrise Assisted Living, Raleigh, passed from this life Wednesday, July 6, 2011, in the same manner in which he lived his life: with quiet dignity and unwavering faith. His wife, Betty Sue Dedmon Killian, died May 3, 2009, just three days before what would have been their 60th wedding anniversary.
Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 9, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Raleigh, with the service following at 11a.m.. Graveside services and interment will take place at 4 p.m. Saturday at Oleander Memorial Gardens in Wilmington.
Born Oct. 3, 1927, in Catawba County, Bill was the youngest of eight children. He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert Otto Killian and Cora Sipe Killian; brothers Gaither, Paul and Norman; and sisters Ruby, Clara and Pauline. His brother Ray Allen Killian lives in Charlotte.
Bill is survived by his children and their families: Richard Esley Killian and his wife, Beryl, great- granddaughter, Olivia, of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Cadeen Green, granddaughter, of Oakland, Calif.; Thomas William Killian and his wife, Leslie, and their sons, Thomas and Matthew, of Summit, N.J.; and Cynthia Allen Killian and her children, Wills and Avery Citty, of Raleigh.
Bill will be remembered as a kind, Christian man who was dedicated to his family, the church and his 44-year career with the Belk organization. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1949, where he and Betty are honored by the Killian Old Well Scholarship, which allows two deserving students from New Hanover County to attend UNC. Bill served his country in the Marine Corps Reserve, from which he was called for active duty as a first lieutenant during the Korean War.
Bill and Betty raised their family in Wilmington, where they lived from the early 1950s until Bill’s retirement in 1999. At that time they moved to Pinehurst, where they became members of Our Savior Lutheran Church. In early 2009, Bill and Betty moved to Sunrise Assisted Living, in Raleigh, where they joined Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
Over the years Bill actively served in the church. At St. Matthew Lutheran Church, in Wilmington, he served as chairman of the church council, president of the congregation, leader of building campaigns and call committees, as well as teacher of the adult Sunday school class. He encouraged his children in the church and in sports, teaching all three to play tennis. As a boy, he and his brothers constructed a clay tennis court and taught themselves the game. Bill was a natural leader, always willing to take responsibility and do what needed to be done. At the same time, he was a gentle person who led mainly by example.
Perhaps from his rural upbringing, Bill loved gardening and yard work. He kept plants of various types and summer gardens, and did his own yard work, much of it even after retirement. Summer road trips to visit relatives often included stops at fresh produce stands along the way. He was an avid reader, which no doubt influenced his children and grandchildren in a similar way. He was a man of great patience, forbearance and humility, who truly exhibited biblical wisdom.
In recent years Bill was affected by Alzheimer’s, although thankfully its progression was slow and he was able to recognize and interact with family, friends and others until he passed. Never one to complain, his response when asked how he was doing was “fine.” Dad, Bill, “Gaga,” we will miss you tremendously; however, that sadness is tempered by great thankfulness for having been part of your life. You have truly earned your heavenly reward. May your soul rest in eternal peace.
Memorials may be made to Hospice of Wake County, which was instrumental in making Bill’s last days comfortable; Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Raleigh; St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Wilmington; Students Bridging the Information Gap, (sbigonline.org); or to the charity of one’s choice.
Online condolences may be made at www.BrownWynne. com.