We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Bunch-Singleton Funeral Home
Billie Jo Tomlinson, Broken Bow, passed from this life Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, at the age of 95.
She was born in Blossom, Texas, Dec. 29, 1925, to Bryant and Jessie (Childers) Margraves.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Bryant and Jessie Margraves; the father of her children, Pete L.M. Cope; her late husband, Reed Tomlinson; and two brothers and one sister.
She leaves to cherish her memory her children, Carol and Sam Weller of Nocona, Texas, Linda Boling of Dallas, Texas, Larry and Shauna Cope of Paris, Texas, and Rick and Cathy Cope of Hempstead, Texas; 10 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and a host of family and friends.
Billie Margraves Tomlinson was a beloved community leader who brought her own smiling brand of enthusiasm to everything she did. And she did a lot. Billie lived life large and made thousands of friends along the way.
Billie was likely a force to be reckoned with from an early age. She attended school at Roxton, Texas, and Eastfield College in Mesquite before beginning her lifelong passion of community involvement.
When asked what inspired her to expend so much time and energy in the community, Billie replied, “If I couldn't be passionate about the community in which I live, then I should find another place in which to live, as I believe everyone should strive to make it a better place.”
Always smiling. Always volunteering. Always at every community event. If you wanted to make sure that an event was a success, get Billie involved! She made sure everyone knew about it and made sure they showed up for it!
A social butterfly, you could always find Billie at one of her favorite haunts, Sherrill’s Pharmacy, Bunch’s or the Oaks. That was her regular day every day. After dining out, Billie would table hop visiting with each table to catch up on their lives. Her late husband, Reed, could be heard groaning, “Come on Billie!” before finally settling in on a bench or chair to wait as she made her way to the car.
In her 90s, Billie went to “work” at the Oaks wiping menus down just to keep busy.
A bookie, Billie and about 35 others played the lottery weekly for 30-plus years. Billie gathered all the money, keeping a little black book with detailed records of when and how much each person had paid and let them know when they needed to add to the kitty. Her secret drop-off point for the money was on her front porch in a Reader’s Digest that lay on a chair. Terry Walker reminisced how he would slip a $100 bill in the Reader’s Digest if he didn’t cross paths with Billie around town.
A town hostess, when any company was being courted by city officials to come to Broken Bow, Billie was the person tasked with showing them about town. Pan Pacific…Huber…all went through Billie Tomlinson. Though not documented, it is believed without Billie they would have likely chosen a different location for their plants. After securing these new industries, Billie took things a step further, finding homes for the company personnel that relocated.
Also a civic leader, Billie rarely missed a city council meeting. She once remarked that she had only missed 10 or 15 meetings over a 20-year period, and they meet weekly.
Tomlinson was a permanent fixture (sometimes elected, other times as volunteer) of the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce. She won some sort of award almost every year at the banquet. She was a fixture at every new business award. No blood drives happened without Billie organizing them, calling to arrange snacks and calling to remind people to show up. She has coordinated the blood drives since 1989.
Billie served as a member of almost every community board or organization in the county: Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, First United Methodist Church treasurer for many years, plus served on the executive committee at the district level in McAlester, served as president, then treasurer, of Boken Bow Main Street, Forest Heritage Center board and president of the McCurtain Memorial Hospital trustee board,
Her professional career was varied, including a 10-year stint as a secretary at Texas Instruments, but interestingly she chose to go back to school after moving to Broken Bow from Rockwell, Texas. She attended Carl Albert Higher Learning Center to become a real estate broker and worked as a broker for O.K. Real Estate until she retired.
Visitation will be Monday December 20, 2021, from 6:00-8:00 P.M. at Bunch Singleton Funeral Home.
Funeral Service will be Tuesday, December 21, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. at Broken Bow United Methodist Church.
Interment to follow at Meadowbrook Memorial Park, Paris Texas.