Billy J Shoemake

07/21/1946 — 03/17/2024

From Richland, WA | Born in Patterson, MO

Graveside Service

Sat, April 13, 2024, 11:00 am
Sat, April 13, 2024, 12:00 pm
Cemetery at Sunset
915 By-Pass Hwy Richland, WA US 99352
(509) 946-0803

Billy J Shoemake

Bill was born July 21, 1946 to Virgil and Virginia (Montgomery) Shoemake in Patterson, MO. Without running water or electricity, and an endless amount of chores to accomplish daily, early life for Bill was difficult, but left him with many wonderful memories of close knit family, as well as a work ethic that was second to none. He started his classroom education at age 4 while following the older kids off to school. Once he arrived, the teacher asked how old he was and when he told her he was 4, she handed him classroom books and said “Might as well get you started now!” He did well in school, especially enjoying learning about history, and playing baseball for the Clearwater Tigers. He graduated from Clearwater High School in 1965. Although his hometown in Wayne County, MO always held a special place in his heart, he wanted to find out what life was like elsewhere. In 1964 at 17 years old, and with his parents permission, he enlisted in the Navy. He went to basic training in Corpus Cristi, TX, and later in San Diego, CA before being shipped out to the Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily Italy. As a mechanic on the base, he noticed a young American woman in the payroll department named Nancy Cruz. Assuming she was Italian, he would greet her with a “Ciao Bella”. After making this attempt at conversation multiple times, the shy girl finally responded, letting him know she was American. Little did either of them know that would be the beginning of a 55 year union, following their first date at a restaurant on Mt. Etna, Italy. It was shortly after this time that they were engaged and began making plans for a life post-military. After being honorably discharged, Bill and Nancy returned stateside where they were married in Nancy’s hometown of Richland, WA. Following the ceremony, they returned together to Bill’s home state of Missouri. While Bill found work as an auto mechanic at a service station, they set up home in Ferguson, MO and shortly afterwards came Billy Shoemake, Jr. A year later came Wendy White, and by this time, Bill had found work as a machinist at an Anheuser-Busch can plant in Bridgeton, MO. Later came Barry Shoemake, and by this time, the family had relocated to the rural suburbs of St. Louis. In 1979, Bill was laid off, but quickly found work in leading set up of the can plant in Mexico City, Mexico. After a few years of working in Mexico, Bill and Nancy made the decision to relocate the family to Richland, WA in hopes of finding work at the Hanford Reservation. Both Bill and Nancy found work at Rockwell International in 1981 and both worked various jobs; he primarily in maintenance, and she primarily in materials management, until their retirement in 2005. Finally, they could enjoy the fruits of their labor, and most especially, grandchildren! Camping, fishing, hunting, and traveling to visit family were all activities they loved while bringing their grandchildren along every opportunity they could. Bill loved sharing his knowledge of hunting and fishing with his grandchildren, and also enjoyed being present for every special event in their lives-whether it be soccer, baseball, football, dance recitals, whatever-if his grandkids were front and center, he wanted to be there to support them and enjoyed every minute of time in their presence.

Bill passed away peacefully on March 17, 2024 to rejoin his beloved bride, Nancy, who preceded him in death on December 12, 2022. Bill is also preceded in death by his parents, Virgil and Virginia (Montgomery) Shoemake, his brothers Dorse Lee Shoemake, and Lynn Shoemake, and his sister Lois Brinkley. Bill is survived by his children, Billy Shoemake Jr of Richland, WA, Wendy White (Chuck) of Richland, WA, and Barry Shoemake of Pasco, WA, his grandchildren, Kelsey White of Kennewick, WA, Joseph White (Shannon) of North Bend, WA, and Brady White of Burien, WA, as well as his brother Larry Shoemake (Mary) of Nixa, MO.

A Graveside Service will be held on Saturday, April 13th, 2024 at 11:00 AM at Sunset Memorial Gardens, 915 Bypass Hwy, Richland, WA.

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Billy J Shoemake

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  • We send our love to you all today and always! We sure love Bill and cherish the time we were able to be with you all. May the memories bring you so much joy and comfort as you say your final goodbyes.
    The Glaze Family

    Katie Glaze
    April 13, 2024
    Festus, Missouri
  • Loved this guy so much and will miss him terribly. Love and prayers for the kiddos and grandkiddos that are left to carry on and keep his and Nancy’s lights shining brightly.

    Donna Faulkner
    April 8, 2024
    Cape Girardeau Mo.
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