Obituary of Billy Barkley Ricks
Billy Barkley Ricks
02/23/1934 - 02/10/2023
Billy Barkley Ricks passed away peacefully at his home on February 10, 2023 in Fairfax, VA.
A graveside service at Conway Town Cemetery will be held on Saturday February 18, 2023, at 11 am. The cemetery is located at the intersection of N. Church St and Hundley Circle, across from Conway Baptist Church, in Conway, North Carolina 27820.
Billy was born February 23, 1934 in Conway, NC to Otis Ricks, Sr. and Allie Barkley Ricks. He had a memorable childhood and often told stories of family, neighbors, and other loved ones. Stories always ended in laughter, whether it was recalling a fishing trip, time spent in the Ricks Barber Shop, or outdoors picking vegetables or playing pranks. Billy made lots of friends and was even voted Best All Round in his High School yearbook. During his high school years he met his wife of 63 years, Stella Ann Braxton, who lived in neighboring Scotland Neck. They married on September 18, 1955 and travelled together as the Air Force took them across the country. He often credited her with the strength and steadfastness of the best military spouses.
Billy joined the US Air Force during the Korean War. He was stationed at a variety of US bases during his 20 year career, attended Officer Candidate School (OCS), and was a navigator on C-130 aircraft for much of his career. He was stationed at Clark Air Base in the Philippines during the Vietnam Conflict. While on a mission into Vietnam, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, saving an Air Force plane and many souls from certain death in foul weather. His outstanding leadership, navigation and communication skills all contributed to earning the prestigious honor. He retired as a Major in 1972.
Still in his late 30's, with family firmly settled in Virginia Beach, Billy then attended Old Dominion University and earned Bachelors and Masters degrees. He taught Industrial Arts at Indian River Jr. High in Chesapeake, VA for many years. His patience with woodworking and metal yielded too many student projects (and Christmas presents!) to mention. He mentored his students to gain skills in professions with both college and non-college paths. His handiwork was not confined to the school. He was always working on maintenance projects around the house and could fix just about anything. He even successfully divined water for wells! During these decades, he also greatly enjoyed fishing, walking, reading, computer work, and visiting with family, especially his grandchildren. He was a devoted husband and father, seeing three daughters through college and many life events. He loved music of all kinds and could be found dancing by the Hi-Fi with one of the kids. His final few years were spent with family and new friends at Harmony of Chantilly in Fairfax, VA.
Billy is survived by his daughters Lyndia Ricks Bernet (Martin) and Barbara Ricks; grandchildren Lucas Barkley Bernet (Carla), Courtney Graf Bernet (Jordan Sensenig), and Sarah Katherine Bernet Mauck (Jake) and great granddaughter, Mariana Therese Bernet. Billy was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Stella Ann Braxton Ricks, their daughter Sandra Ricks Wingler, his parents Otis and Allie Ricks, and siblings Edith Ricks Vinson, Otis Ricks, Jr, and Robert Wells Ricks.
Arrangements by Adams-Green Funeral Home in Herndon, VA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Disabled American Veterans, Wounded Warrior Project, or Conway Baptist Church (Conway, NC) in his name.