In Loving Memory of
Billy Frank Price
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew â€"
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
--"High Flight," Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., RCAF
Billy Price passed away peacefully at his home during the glorious sunrise of February 13, 2016; he had turned 86 only two days before.
Born in Bryan on February 11, 1930, to his parents Horace and Mabel Ballard Price, Billy was also raised here with his brothers Lindale, Thomas (now deceased) and Donald. While growing up in Bryan, Billy worked long hours at Coulter Field Airportâ€"on Highway 21â€"in exchange for flying lessons and developed a lifelong love for aviation. He attended Travis elementary school and later, Allen Military Academy before joining the United States Army and serving in Germany (1951-1953).
Aside from being a dedicated soldier for his country, Billyâ€™s allegiance was also found in his loyalty to his family, especially to his wife Janie Parker Price (of Madisonville), whom Billy married on November 3, 1951; Janie now survives her husband of 64 years. The Price family eventually grew to include the coupleâ€™s two daughters, Melanie Dee Price (now deceased) and Amy Elizabeth Price Proctor, as well as son-in-law Stanley T. Proctor and two grandsons: Nicholas Price Proctor and Spencer Kyle Proctor.
Upon leaving military service, Billyâ€™s aviation skillset led him to employment as a pilot with Sun Oil; this position magnified his mechanical knowledge to the point that Billy invented, developed and patented a high-pressure compressor used for oil exploration and seismic activity. His new compressor became the foundation for Billyâ€™s own company, Price Compressor Co., which he created in 1961; it continues to this day. In addition to business, Billy was also active in the community at large and philanthropic causes, such as his role as a board member of Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, TX. Throughout his life, Billy remained invested in the arts, and among other endeavors, this passion lead to his ambitious purchase of a chandelier from the Helen Hayes Theater in New York, later donated to the Wortham Theater in Houston.
Indeed, Billy had a fondness for the history and natural beauty of Texas, and he would agree with Sam Houston that, "Texas is the finest portion of the globe that has ever blessed my vision." This love for the history of his home state initially became evident in Billyâ€™s role as a pecan farmer in West Columbia, TX. Later, he even purchased and restored the nearby property on which Stephen F. Austin had passed away; then annually, Billy would invite local school children to a flag raising ceremony there. Thanks to his knowledge of orchards, Billy was additionally able to harvest the acorns from an ancient oak on the property, cultivate them and subsequently donate them to be planted at historic sites in every Texan county. In standing under the shade of those massive trees, Billy hoped that future generations of Texans would appreciate the sacrifices and foresight of those who came before them, just as he had.
In loving memory of Billy Frank Price, his family will hold a private graveside service in College Station. In lieu of flowers, the Price family requests that donations be made instead to Billyâ€™s favorite charity: St. Jude Childrenâ€™s Research Hospital.
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