Billy Jack Cooksey passed away on June 24, 2015 in El Paso, Texas, after a courageous battle with cancer. He was born in Pecos, Texas on March 13, 1932, to the late James Monroe Cooksey and Rosabelle Hollebeke Cooksey. With the exception of the military and college, Bill lived his entire life in Pecos.
Bill attended schools in Pecos and graduated from Pecos High School in 1950. He attended Texas Tech University and left in 1951 to join the US Navy. He traveled by train from Lubbock, Texas to San Diego, California for boot camp followed by three tours of duty in Korea.
Bill grew up with the love of his life, Jo Evalyn Fonville Cooksey. As the story goes, she caught his eye in the second grade, when he was Uncle Sam and she was The Statue of Liberty in a school play. Eventually engaged, although mailing the engagement ring back and forth several times, the high school sweethearts finally married in 1952 when Bill was in the Navy. Following his discharge from the Navy, he took advantage of the G.I. Bill and attended Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Bill and Jo welcomed their first child, a girl, while living in Peoria in the spring of 1956. After Bill's graduation later that year they returned to their hometown of Pecos where Bill joined Jo's family in business at Fonville Jewelers. Also after returning to Pecos, Bill and Jo added two sons to the family; one in 1958 and the next in 1960. Bill served the citizens of Pecos and West Texas with diamond purchases, jewelry needs, and jewelry and watch repair for the next fifty-nine years.
A volunteer fireman for twenty-four years, Bill harbored a passion for the comradeship of the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department. Many a family dinner was interrupted when the siren would blast! West of the Pecos Rodeo time was very special to Bill, as he always enjoyed hosting friends and family to the parade, rodeos and dances. He was a former director of the Rodeo Association. He was very honored to serve as the Grand Marshall for the 2014 Rodeo Parade. Bill was also an active member of the Lions and Rotary Clubs, as well as the Pecos Chamber of Commerce. In 2008, he received the Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award. Restoration of The Pioneer Cemetery, also known as the Old Pecos Cemetery, was an important project in Bill's retirement years. He spent many hours with friends repairing or replacing old gates, markers, and signs.
The outdoors was always a place Bill loved to be. Hunting and fishing with his sons and friends were activities he always made time for. Jo Evalyn was not too happy on the occasions that he left for deer camp on their anniversary, many times falling on the first day of deer season.
Most important to Bill was his Church and his faith. To say that he was active in the First Christian Church would have to be an understatement. Rarely missing a Sunday, but not just in attendance, he helped prepare the sanctuary and communion for the service. He served on the board of Elders and when the Church was need of updates and repairs, Bill was there. He worked with others to request donations from many generous donors and they were able to make the necessary renovations. He was so proud of the outcome of this project and that he was able to help. His faith was strong and unwavering even in difficult times. He loved his Lord.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Jo Evalyn; his brothers Perry and Jimmy Cooksey; his sister and brother in law, Evelyn Rose and Jiggs Dinwiddie and their son Billy Wayne Dinwiddie. His three children; Jeanie and her husband Greg of El Paso, Clay of Whitney, and Scott and his wife Tracy of Burnet survive him. Also grandchildren Lauren Johns Kureska (Colin), Jonathan Johns (Tristan), Natalie Johns, Billy (Brandy) Cooksey, Logan (fiancée Alicia), Kaila, Tyler, and Brayden Cooksey
and great-granddaughters; Harper Katherine and Palmer Grace Johns.
The family would like to thank, from the bottom of their hearts, all of Bill's dear friends that surrounded him in Pecos and beyond. He loved them all. Those who loved Bill appreciate the joy he and Jody Purdy shared this last year.
A celebration of Bill's life will be held at First Christian Church of Pecos on Friday, July 3, 2015 at 2pm, officiated by Clark Ford and Gordon Hoyt.
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting that donations be made to West of the Pecos Museum or The First Christian Church of Pecos.