Billie Joe McCombs joined the love of his life, Vera Ellen Gruben McCombs, in heaven on Sunday at the age of 89. He was born on October 12, 1930 to Bertha Andress McCombs and Ollie McCombs. He was the baby brother to two older sisters. As a kid, he loved to ride with his Dad hauling cattle to the Stockyards in Fort Worth. He was the Rotan High School Outstanding Boy of 1947-48 and the quarterback for the Rotan Yellowhammers. He was married to his high school sweetheart for 70 years until she preceded him in death in February. Faith, Family and Farming were his passions. He was a faithful member of Cross Roads Baptist Church for 73 years and served as a deacon and the Chairman for many years. He farmed with his Daddy under the name of B & O McCombs until his Daddy's passing in 1966. He had an unmatched work ethic and took on extra jobs to provide for his family. When drought hit the area in the early 50's, he found work with the railroad and bridge crews. He assisted in moving and reconstructing the bridge that crossed Rough Creek. His family was awarded the Pioneer Family in 1997 by the Rotan Chamber. McCombs Farm and Cattle were recognized in Austin in 2003 by the Family Land Heritage Commission for 100 years of agriculture on the same land by the same family. He was instrumental in expanding the Fisher County Museum and referred to his active membership with the Historical Society Commission as the 'Hysterical Society'. He was a talented builder and creator who never met a stranger and always had a story to share. He loved to tell that he grew up in a 'woman's world' with two sisters, three daughters and three granddaughters. He always made sure his daughters had a good horse to ride.
He is survived by his daughters, Lou Klepper and her husband Frankie of Harper, Kathy Jo McCombs Smartt of Sweetwater, and Tina Blair and her husband Martin of Mason. He was Papaw to his granddaughters, Tiffany Klepper, Tara (John) Guevara, Paige (Jeremy) Durate and three great-grandchildren, Grayson Guevera, Dallas and Blair Duarte. He also enjoyed two bonus great-grandchildren, Creagh and Cambell Smartt. He will be remembered fondly by many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife Vera Ellen and an infant son Joe Alan McCombs. He was also preceded in death by his parents, Bertha and Ollie, as well as his sisters and their spouses Geraldine Hawkins (Kenneth) and Frances Newton (Lehman). His father in-law and mother in-law, Alvin and Vera Gruben, were also at Heaven's gates to greet him.
Because of the pandemic, a private family graveside service will be held at Belvieu Cemetery officiated by Rev. Tony Gruben. Arrangements are under the direction of Weathersbee-Ray Funeral Home in Rotan, Texas.
Memorials can be made to the Fisher County Historical Society Commission mailed to Att: Dot Harris,355 FM 611 W., Rotan, TX 79546 or Cross Roads Baptist Church mailed to 533 FM 2832, Rotan, TX 79546.
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