Billy Kimmons was born in October of 1922 in a frame house a few blocks from downtown Norman, Oklahoma. His family had settled there after coming through Dahlonega, Georgia, during the gold rush and then on to East Texas. With one older brother and later three sisters, Billy’s family moved to a farm on the outskirts of Norman during the Depression, to make ends meet. His youngest sister, now 86, still lives there.
Always an active youngster and none too cautious, he was hit by a car in February of 1933 and sustained a broken leg and knock to the head. The hospital and doctor bill was a whopping $75.00 as the doctor came to their house every day for the first two weeks!
His father did all types of hauling and odd jobs and Bill was eager to help. After school jobs included working at the lumber yard and unloading 100-pound bags of cement from railroad cars and then hauling the cement to construction sites for University of Oklahoma projects, where they unloaded the trucks. After he graduated from Norman High School in June of 1940, he and his brother bought a 28′ semi-trailer and hauled lumber back & forth to Arkansas.
Bill was 19 when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps the next year, in October of 1942. He served on active duty in the Pacific with the 1st Marine Corps through the end of the war. The 1st Marine Division led assaults on several of the key islands which were recaptured, including New Guinea, New Britain, Pavuvu and Peleliu. He was listed as an Automotive Equipment Operator and primarily drove trucks hauling materials to support the offensives. He was honorably discharged in December of 1945.
After WWII, Bill served in the Oklahoma National Guard for two stints until moving to Amarillo, Texas, in 1949 with his wife and love of his life Dorothy. He and Dorothy met at the Oklahoma City Business College and were married in October of 1946. They had two children, Anne and JW, while in Amarillo. Bill started as an Accountant with Overhead Door and took on additional duties, including sales and installation of doors before being promoted to open a branch office for the Texas Panhandle. Bill and Dorothy developed the territory into the top Branch for the company in a few short years.
In 1955, Bill and his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia. The Overhead Door Co. of Atlanta was developed into the #1 distributor for the metro area. He sold the business in 1972 and bought his first motorhom in early 1973. Bill and Dorothy enjoyed 40 years together, before Dorothy’s passed of cancer in 1986.
He remarried to a fellow motorhome traveler, Betty, who had lost her husband. They continued traveling all over the US to visit family and meet new friends up to the age of 95, when he and Betty took their last motorhome trip to Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas from their home in Cartersville. Betty passed away last year at the age of 99.
Bill is now living in Linwood Estates, a gracious independent retirement community in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
We thank him for his service and celebrate this momentous birthday!