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Bryan County, Oklahoma

Highland Park Cemetery
Durant, Oklahoma

Deceased Name: Billy Joe Garner

© Durant Daily Democrat

June 23, 2015

Submitted by: Jo Aguirre

Billy Joe Garner was born July 9, 1921 to Stephen Walter Garner and Myrtle Gertrude Thomas Garner in Durant, Oklahoma and at the hospital in Durant, completed his responsibilities to his community, his country, his friends, his family and his Savior and went to meet his Heavenly Father on Father's Day Sunday, June 21, 2015 at the age of 93 years, 11 months and 12 days.

He lived as a child in the town of Roberta, and then moved at the age of 6 to the nearby community of Cypress where he resided until being drafted into the US Army for World War II.

He married Myrtle "Margaret" Gardner on Easter Sunday, March 28, 1948 at her home church in McAlester, Oklahoma, and after nearly starving during the 1950 drought trying to carry on the family agricultural pursuits, began a lifelong career of public school teaching and administration in Blue, Caddo, Achille and Bennington Schools.

After retirement, he served in a job placement program, and took great satisfaction in helping those who wanted and needed to work.

He was also a cattle rancher on the family farm near Cypress. He served on the Bryan County Hospital Board as the old Bryan Memorial Hospital gave way to the new Medical Center of Southeastern Oklahoma hospital, and on the Rural Water District 5 board.

His three children are Tom and wife Sandra of Durant; daughter, Margie of Durant; and Steve and wife Jackie of Durant; all who survive him.

He had five grandchildren, Ryan Garner of Durant; Will Garner and wife Jessica of Durant; Josh Garner of Oklahoma City, Amanda Garner of Denver, Colorado, and Hannah Hix and husband Colby of Yarnaby, Oklahoma and Rebecca Stober of Alabama.

He is also survived by three brothers, Bill Gibson, John Gibson and Jim Garner and numerous other family members.

He was predeceased by mother, Myrtle G. Garner in 1942, father, Walter Garner in 1967; his wife, Margaret Garner in 2002; brothers, Dale Walter Garner in 1973 and Steven Thomas Garner in 2007 and second mother, Dona Roma Gibson Garner in 2001.

He was also loved his school students, and having come from the difficult era of the Great Depression in the 1920s himself, he got great joy in seeing some of his students from a similar background overcome obstacles and was proud of all of them as they made successful lives after leaving his schools.

He served his country in the US Army Air Corp during World War II in England and France as a cryptographer while living in a tent just off the runway where several returning American aircraft crashed and exploded nearby while trying to return to base. He later enlisted in the US Air Force Reserves and served at air fields in Muskogee, Ardmore, Perrin Air Force Base, Denison-Sherman, Texas and Shepard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, completing his military career at retirement.

He was a member and deacon of the First Baptist Church in Durant working in several ministries; and also enjoyed attending Grace Baptist Church in Durant as well as his former church homes in Caddo and Roberta. He had a desire to honor the Lord and to point his family, friends, and many former school students to forgiveness and salvation the Lord provides.

He has enjoyed hunting, fishing and trapping, telling hunting stories, seeing a new crop of baby calves on green spring grass, serving the Lord and people of all ages in his church and the community, assisting to establish and volunteer in Meals on Wheels, singing, often with Steve and Jackie or alone -- in church, for friends' funerals, at the Durant Market Square on Thursday night and anywhere else he found or created the opportunity including his own birthday parties, most of all -- providing care for his family and giving instructions and information even from his hospital bed.

Family hour at Holmes-Coffey-Murray Funeral Home will be 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Thursday, June 25. His funeral service at First Baptist Church, Durant, will be at 2:00 p.m. Friday, June 26.

Pallbearers are grandchildren and spouses, Ryan Garner, Will and Jessica Garner, Josh Garner, Amanda Garner, and Colby and Hannah Garner Hix. Honorary Pallbearers are Jerry Spencer, Joe Reed and his Sunday School class.

Burial will be at Highland Cemetery in Durant with full military honors.

Tom Garner, Bro. James Robinson and Bro. Anthony Williams will officiate.

Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church in Durant 124 W. Evergreen, Durant; Meals on Wheels, 301 N. 16th, Durant, Oklahoma; or Gideon's International Bible Distribution, 409 W. Main, Durant, Oklahoma 74701.

Family and friends may send online condolences and view tributes at www.holmescoffeymurray.com.


Thank You For Your Service!

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