If a man’s worth could be measured by how much he was loved, Billy Richard Olson was a man beyond means. He was born November 1, 1928 to Charles and Eula Mae (Wren) Olson in Sherman, Texas. Growing up in the small Texas town of Waxahachie, he was a natural leader, spoken of with adoration and admired by all who met him.
Billy graduated high school from San Marcos Military Academy and in 1949 enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He embodied its core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment for the rest of his life. After serving honorably for three years, he moved to Abilene to be near family.
Bill joined the Abilene Police Department in January, 1955. On June 6, 1955, he and his partner J.R. Kinney were dispatched to a home to investigate a hit and run accident. The suspect fired at their police car, hitting Bill in the head. He lost his right eye, but met the love of his life, Barbara Wood, who was a nursing student at Hendrick Memorial Hospital. Their romance became an inspiring love story documented in the Abilene Reporter News. Bill and Barbara were married August 12, 1955 and celebrated sixty years of happiness before her passing in 2015.
Bill served five years with the Abilene Police Department, and then became Director of Personnel for the City of Abilene. He retired after 25 years of employment. In 1980, Bill partnered with Don Slatton to open SOS Bail Bond, a successful company they operated in Abilene and other Texas counties for 25 years.
Bill was a dedicated son, husband, father and grandfather (PaPa). His love and devotion to his family has left a legacy for all to follow. He was lovingly known by many in his extended family as “Big Bad Bill” whom they described as larger than life. The kindness and generosity he gave to the thousands of people he came in contact with will not be forgotten.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Barbara June; brother, Charles P. Olson; and brothers-in-law, William Ross Wood II and Jon Michael Wood. Left to cherish his memory are: daughter Debra Olson Ruster and husband Dan of Oklahoma City; son Billy Richard Olson, Jr. and wife Stephanie of Abilene; daughter Donna Olson Welch and husband Steve of Lubbock; grandchildren Chancellor Ruster of Oklahoma City, Coleman Ruster and wife Reena of Abilene, Callie McDonald and husband Stephen of Nashville, Maddi Olson of Abilene, Tara Boyd-Thorpe and husband Dusty of Seattle; Jacob Boyd and wife Amanda of San Antonio, Ashley Welch of Amarillo and Emily Welch of Lubbock; great-grandchildren Caius and Gemma McDonald, Mia and Lily Ruster and Lola June Boyd.
The family would sincerely like to thank Debbie and Ernie LeClear and all the caregivers at Young at Heart and Hospice of Lubbock, especially Gwen, for their loving care.
We ask you to join our family in celebrating the life Bill led and the peace and healing he has now received. Today Bill holds the hand of his beautiful wife Barbara and is reunited with her and all his loved ones around God’s Throne.
Pallbearers for the service will be Steve Welch, Chance Ruster, Cole Ruster, Jacob Boyd, Stephen McDonald, Ross Wood.
Services will be held Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at Elmwood Funeral Home Chapel, 5750 Hwy 277 South, Abilene, TX.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at act.alz.org/donate, or to the charity of your choice.
Please feel free to visit elmwoodfuneral.com to share a story of your relationship with Bill or offer the family your condolences.
When Bill joined the APD he was living at the Grande Lodge apartments my parents owned on North 1st and Victoria St. in Abilene. He was so friendly and likable that he became like a family member, often eating with us. I was 14 years old at the time and one day when my parents were gone I got the idea that I could drive our Oldsmobile; after all it wasn't a standard shift. However, I did have to add some seat cushions so I could see over the dashboard and hood. Everything went well until I was stopped at a traffic light on North 1st near downtown. Waiting for the light to change I heard a horn honk from the car stopped in the lane beside me. I looked over and there was Bill in a police car pointing emphatically back towards home. When we got home he made me an offer I couldn't refuse; he wouldn't tell my parents if I promised not to do that again. And we both kept the deal.
Years later when he was Director of Personnel and I was an assistant city attorney, we got to renew our friendship and would frequently play doubles tennis.
He will be greatly missed by all who know him.
Edward E. CockerellABILENE, TX
Uncle Bill "Big Bad Bill"
Many memories, Love, Respect...
Dearest Mr. “Billy Willy.” What a dear precious man! Always so courteous to his wife and to any person he ever came in contact with! He always had the sweetest smile, and had the strongest handshake!! We could never beat him in arm wrestle match! Donna, Billy, and Debra...we can’t thank you enough for giving us the privilege to take care of your sweet parents, Billy and Barbara! They are rejoicing being together again in heaven! They were so proud of their children and spoke of you guys all the time! May your families find peace and comfort knowing they are once again happy together without any pain! We love you guys, and you are in our prayers!
Ernie and Debbie LeClearLubbock, TX