NORMAN — William Eugene Chilless, 85, of Paris, Texas, passed from this life Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, at Paris Regional Medical Center.
A memorial service will be 2 p.m. Tuesday at Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal, with the Rev. Michael Hurst and the Rev. Betty Clement as celebrants. His cremains will be inurned in the church columbarium. The family will greet friends at a reception in the church parish hall after the service.
Bill was born May 9, 1927, in Norman, a son of William Carl and Lucille Reynolds Chilless.
He was a graduate of Norman schools, then entered the U.S. Army in 1945. He earned a Purple Heart for his valiant dedication to his country. After leaving the military, he attended the University of Oklahoma, where he played football under the leadership of Coach Bud Wilkinson. In the 1980s, he volunteered with the OU track team as manager, as well as serving as a volunteer with the Norman Police Department.
He spent a career of 22 years with the fire department of the city of Norman, retiring as assistant chief.
He was a licensed funeral director and blended his firefighting career with funeral service. Bill was a man of high character and had a great work ethic. He epitomized the description of “the greatest generation.”
He was a member of the Retired Firefighters Association and the University of Oklahoma “O” Club. In 2002, he moved with his wife, Thelma, to Paris, where he was a member of Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal.
He married Thelma Grace Leddy on Dec. 26, 1964, in Norman.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and by one sister, Rosalie Chilless.
Bill is survived by his wife ,Thelma; a son, Lynn Chilless of Nashua, N.H.; three daughters, Melinda McFarlin and husband Patrick of Newport, N.H., Linda McVicar of Manteca, Calif., and Carol Pillars and husband Billy of Bonham, Texas; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; three brothers, Jerry Chilless of Oklahoma City, Fred Chilless of Norman and Tedd Chilless of Portland, Ore.; a sister, JoAnn Racz of Norman; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
In lieu of usual remembrances, the family requests memorial contributions to Church of the Holy Cross, 400 S. Church St., Paris, Texas 75460.
Arrangements are by Starrett Funeral Home in Paris.
Friends may register in Bill’s Book of Memories at www.starrettfunerals.com.
Norman Transcript, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012