Beloved Friend and Supporter of the Billups-Garth Archives Passes Away

Thomas Carleton Billups, IV died peacefully on April 19, 2009, in Dallas, Texas. He was ninety-four.

Graveside services will be at Friendship Cemetery in Columbus, Mississippi on May 5, 2009, at 1:30 PM with the Very Reverend James F. Carlyle of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church officiating. Memorial Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

A member of two Lowndes County pioneer families, Mr. Billups was born in Columbus, Mississippi, April 18, 1915, to Thomas Carleton and Lenore Hardy Billups. He was the fourth generation of his family to be born in the antebellum home, Whitehall. His early memories include riding to church in his grandmother’s carriage, taking the train between Columbus and Billups Gate, and hunting and fishing in the Prairie during the growing season.

After attending Packard Business School in New York, he had a seat in 1934 on foreign exchange desk of Termini and Company at 30 Wall Street. He lived in Manhattan with his aunt and uncle, Columbus natives Dr. John D. Richards and Marcella Billups Richards. Dr. Richards taught him the game of polo and in the years before World War II he enjoyed the sport along the eastern seaboard during one of the game’s historic periods.

At the onset of World War II he joined the United States Air Force and served as an instructor pilot in Greenville, South Carolina. He taught student pilots to fly B-25s and was the only pilot at the base to hold a green instrument card. In 1944 his squadron delivered the first A-26 fighter bombers to Belgium via Puerto Rico, Brazil, the Ascension Islands and Africa. Stationed in France and Belgium he flew seven combat Missions with the 9th Air Force, 391st Bombardment Group, 575th Squadron.

In 1943, he married Betty Atwood Wilder of Tyler, Texas. In 1945 he joined his father-in-law, Hugh J. Wilder, in the oil business. Mr. Billups enjoyed a long and distinguished career as an independent oil operator in Texas and Mississippi. He was instrumental in establishing the Norphlet as a productive formation in Mississippi and remained active in the industry until his death. After living in Tyler for 40 years, Mr. Billups and his wife moved to Columbus where they lived on a plantation of his childhood until 2007 when they moved to Dallas.

He is survived by his wife of sixty-five years, Betty Wilder Billups; son, Thomas Carleton Billups V and wife Debra Huchel Billups of Artesia; daughter, Susan Billups Underwood and husband Dr. Ronald Howell Underwood of Dallas; granddaughters, Anna Underwood Small and husband Dr. Andrew Buchanan Small IV of Dallas, Catherine Evan Underwood of Dallas, and Jacqueline Cameron Billups of Washington, D. C.; great-granddaughters, Annabelle Carleton Small and Sarah Margaret Small of Dallas; sister Ida Billups Ward of Columbus; and nephew Rufus Alexander Ward of West Point.

If desired, memorials may be made to the Billups Garth Archival Room at the Columbus Library or to the charity of your choice.

Source: The Commercial Dispatch 23 April 2009

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Published in: on April 28, 2009 at 9:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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