Katherine Eloise Larkin Billings was born on March 11,1947 and after a long, courageous battle with breast cancer went to be with the Lord on July 31, 2019. Born in a prairie farmhouse on the outskirts of Cordele, Texas, Kathy never let her small beginnings dictate her big heart. She attended Southwest Texas State University on a work/study program in which she worked for the Dean of the college and in return received half of her room and board. Kathy graduated in 1969 with a major in math, a minor in English and a ring on her finger after marrying her high school sweetheart, Wayne Billings, between semesters. She went on to teach math at Three Rivers High School for twenty-eight years. On top of this, she coached many UIL Math contestants and was a devoted member of the First United Methodist Church, where she played the piano and sang in the church choir for as long as she was able. Her faith was strong and an inspiration to those around her.
Kathy adored traveling and when her two sons and their families had to move overseas for their jobs, she didn’t waste any opportunity. Many vacations she took were centered around family and she enjoyed trips to Norway, Italy, Greece, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and all over the United States. Kathy was always at her best when coaching and spoiling grandchildren and was so proud that her boys chose a more adventurous route in life and explored destinations outside of Texas.
Kathy loved nature and enjoyed collecting shells on long beach walks. She was also an avid birdwatcher and bird lover, with multiple bird feeders in her yard that she never neglected to fill. She annually joined other “birders” at Choke Canyon to identify birds. Wayne and Kathy had a deal; she didn’t clean fish and Wayne didn’t clean babies. I think she got the better end of the deal. She loved to gamble and usually came back with money in her pocket.
Kathy’s house is dotted with lighthouses - from pillows to nightlights to magnets to light switch covers. Those who knew her will remember her love for them, but more importantly, they will remember Kathy as a lighthouse herself - she shone light on everyone around her, and not just her students. She had a true gift for helping others see what truly mattered. Kathy will be missed by all who knew her, who will never forget her legacy: live every day to the fullest and rejoice in the little things because life is so, so short. She taught everyone so many lessons that went beyond the classroom, lessons never to forget.
She was preceded in death by her father, Floyd Larkin.
Left to cherish her memory are Kathy’s mother, Carlee (Dittrich) Larkin; and Wayne, her husband of 50 years. She has also left behind two sons, Kevin Billings (Leah) of Pensacola, Florida and Jason Billings (Carrie) of Littleton, Colorado; as well as seven grandchildren, (Matthew, Zachary, Audrey, Joshua, Kenna, Olivia and Tobin). Kathy is also survived by her two brothers, Tom (Lisa) Larkin and Sam (Sue) Larkin; her brother-in-law, John (Margie) Billings; her sister-in-law, Avis (Richard) Calhoun; as well as numerous nieces, grand-nieces, nephews and grand-nephews.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Three Rivers First United Methodist Church Memorial Fund or a charity of your choice that battles for the cure of breast cancer in remembrance of Kathy.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, August 3, 2019, at Galloway & Sons Funeral Home Chapel in Three Rivers.
The funeral service will be conducted at 2 p.m. Sunday, August 4, 2019, at First United Methodist Church in Three Rivers. Burial will follow at the Three Rivers Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Craig Neffendorf, Ramon Soliz, Mike Ruiz, Harry Schulz III, Nerio Perez, Jimmy Conn, Coby Crawford and Ken Clark.