Billy Ray Strickland, 80, of Fruita, Colo., passed away on Friday, Aug. 24, 2007, at his home. He was born on May 17, 2007, in Waxahachie, Texas, the son of Walter and Clara Strickland. Bill married Margaret J. Martin on Oct. 29, 1949. They divorced in January 1969. He later met and married Mary E. (Oest) Jones in Honolulu, Hawaii. They were married on Sept. 4, 1972. She preceded him in death in May 2002. Bill and Mary had 30 wonderful years together.

Bill joined the United States Air Force as an enlisted man after graduation from Waxahachie High School in 1946. During the Korean Conflict, Bill was called back to active duty and graduated from the Officer Candidate School. He received a B. S. in general engineering. Bill retired in 1974 achieving the rank of Lt. Colonel.

Bill and his wife were seasoned world travelers making lasting friendships in Australia, Hawaii, Las Vegas and Colorado.

He is survived by two sons, Billy R. (Dona) Strickland, Jr. of Hesperia, Cali., Robert W. (Phyllis) Jones of Fruita, Colo., daughter, Kim (Steve) Miller of Caldwell, Idaho; six grandchildren, Meghan (Tristan) Galloway, Lindsay Miller, Sam (Jenny) Strickland, Alex Strickland, Robert W. (Heather) Jones II and John E. (Jenny) Jones; four great-grandchildren: Nathaniel Strickland, Robert Jones III, Makalai Jones, and Savannah Jones; two sisters, Mary E. Gardner of Dallas, Texas, and Andrea Thomas of Waxahachie, Texas; cousins, Jean Wright, Kathy Getzendaner, Sandy Strickland and many dear friends. He was preceded in death by a brother, Jerry Strickland.

Funeral services were held at 11a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2007, at Elm Avenue Baptist Church. A visitation was held at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the service. A graveside service was held at 1 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado. Military honors were provided by the Grand Valley Combined Honor Guard.