|Billie Wayne Lary
November 13, 1926 - February 14, 2000
Bill Lary was born in Woodville, Oklahoma, the youngest of 14 children born to Maggie and Albert
Lary. He served in the Navy as a Radio Operator in WWII, and married Marian O'Dell in 1952.
They had two children, my brother and me. After years of working in the Texas oilfields, he packed
up his family and moved to California where he went to work for Boeing Company. This move
launched a career that took him from California to Utah, and eventually to the John F. Kennedy
Space Center in Florida, where he worked as a heavy equipment supervisor for 27 years until he
retired in 1993.
God gives everyone a talent. Although Poppa was both artistic and musically inclined, I believe his
greatest talent was helping others, but not always in such a way as most folks would notice.
Whether it was helping children grow up to understand right from wrong, or pulling a gag or a prank
to help others remember how to laugh, or just offering a lending hand when needed, he cared
deeply for others. But he would never admit it. In fact, I'm sure that if he could, he would write this
Memorial much differently, saying he only did things to prove he could. His favorite philosophy was,
"Where there's a Bill, there's a way." Poppa was funny like that. Of course, he had his fair share of
peculiarities. That's what made him so unique. I always thought it funny that he worked in the
space program, a high tech industry; he helped put a man on the moon and later worked with the
many space shuttle launches, yet he refused to have a microwave, a VCR, or
cable television. Well, in all honesty, he did get a microwave eventually
because someone gave him one as a gift (even though he would
only use it to heat coffee). When he retired, he finally caved in and
signed up for basic cable, too. He discovered he loved CNN.
Poppa never knew it, but in helping others, I really believe he was giving a piece of himself away.
Whether it was a piece of his time, a piece of his humor with his pranks and practical jokes, a piece
of his mind with his wit and wisdom, or a piece of his heart, through his love and caring; he gave
everyone he knew a piece of himself in one way or another. Anyone who ever met Billie Wayne
Lary never walked away the same. For just in knowing him, it changed you in some small way.
Sometimes, even in a big way.
He had a big heart. He loved. He laughed. He joked. He gave. I find it fitting that on Valentine's
Day, at the age of 73, Poppa gave his best valentine, his heart, to God. He went home to be with
the Lord, where he was reunited with his thirteen brothers and sisters, his parents and
grandparents, aunt and uncles, cousins and the many friends who passed on before him.
I'm sure he's been telling some terrific tales, all of them true, of course; omitting the sorrows and
embellishing the joys and laughter. He probably retells over and over again the silly pranks he
pulled and who got the heartiest laugh from it. Some of them are so funny, that I believe even the
angels will chuckle.
Thank you, Poppa. I can now know for certain there is laughter in Heaven.
is the heart
of our business