William Harvey “Billy” Teal, who never met a stranger, passed away on May 30, 2022, at his home in Amarillo, Texas. He was 84.
Services will be at 10:00 a.m., Friday, June 3, 2022, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Amarillo, Texas. Celebrant will be Father Anthony Neusch. Interment will be at Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will host a prayer vigil at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, June 2, 2022, in the Boxwell Brothers Ivy Chapel, 2800 Paramount Blvd. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, Amarillo.
Billy was born on December 8, 1937, to William Rufus Teal and Eva Jo Teal. They resided in Amarillo, but Billy was born in Denton, Texas, so Eva Jo could be with her mother. He grew up in the San Jacinto area of Amarillo. He attended San Jacinto Junior High School, where his father “Coach Teal” ran the P.E. and football programs.
He was often on the wrong end of his father’s swats. It seems that Coach Teal was known for lovingly delivering the paddle to anyone who had dirty gym clothes. After one particular paddling, Billy questioned the coach’s action. “Your shorts were dirty,” Coach Teal said. “But you washed them,” Billy replied, before immediately receiving another swat.
Swats or not, Billy loved his dad and soaked up the elder’s skills as a woodworker, craftsman and fisherman. He also played football at Sam Houston and Amarillo High School, where another exceptional coach and disciplinarian, Joe Kerbel, bestowed more of life’s lessons upon him.
Billy had many childhood friends. They loved the Amarillo hot spots, namely the Double Dip drive-in, Paramount Theater, and the ritual of dragging Polk St. downtown. Billy was once mentioned in an Amarillo Globe-News story. He claimed to have seen a UFO. He received plenty of ribbing and blushed with embarrassment.
After graduating from Amarillo High, Billy attended Amarillo College. Upon completing his two-year program in 1957, he was immediately drafted into the U.S. Army. He did six months of active duty then served in the Army Reserves and several more years.
Billy went to work for Pioneer Natural Gas in 1962. He served in Pioneer’s Cathodic Protection department. He checked gas well and pipeline mechanisms across the Panhandle region. By the time he retired in the mid- ‘90s, he could nearly drive every Panhandle ranch road while blindfolded. From Darrouzett to Dimmitt, he knew every hill and bump and sometimes had a sore back to prove it.
It was during his early career that he became close to his lifetime love, Delia Beth Hogan. Their first date took them to the Tri-State Fair in Amarillo. Billy tried his luck at winning Delia a stuffed bear at a midway game. While his friend won his girl a giant panda, Billy only managed to capture a Kewpie doll. Delia remembers that she dropped it in the parking lot when they were leaving. In her words, Billy thought she was a little “stuck up” after the doll shattered. He didn’t ask her out again for several years.
But there was nothing broken that wouldn’t be fixed when they started dating again while she was in college at West Texas State University. They dated about two years before getting married on November 24, 1967. As the season dictated, they had turkey at their rehearsal dinner.
Delia was everything to him. He preferred to call her Deliabeth. She was a teacher in Amarillo before taking maternity leave for the birth of their first child, Kelly Hogan Teal in April of 1969. Their daughter, Bridget Helen Teal, was born in May of 1970. Both became attracted to the outdoors. Camping and fishing were parts of vacation trips. The family loved the mountains. In 1982, they bought property in the Rio Grande Forrest in the southern Rockies near Monte Vista and Alamosa, Colorado.
They camped annually at the beautiful site and started building a home-away-from-home cabin. The peer and beam portion was a chore on the steep mountain hill. And Kelly called Billy a “slave driver” during that and much more of the construction. The cabin was finished in 1987. The two-story retreat included several upstairs beds to accommodate family and friends who visited every summer. After bargaining with local Amish craftsmen in the early 2000s, a roof was added to the expansive front porch.
Billy and Delia grew to know most of the “neighbors” who had nearby cabins. He made a point to rustle them up break coffee and cookouts. He was unofficially known as the mayor of the Johnson Township. Billy also loved fishing at nearby Lake Platoro and Mix Lake. He spent much of his lake time rigging tackle and bait for visitors. When Bridget’s children Ryan and Sean were born, Billy and Delia welcomed the chance to take the boys to the mountains to introduce them to the joys of the outdoors. It wasn’t all fishing, hiking and 4-wheeling. Billy assigned numerous chores, and was deemed a slave driver by the family’s next generation.
Bridget attended Amarillo College studied physical therapy. Kelly attended Louisiana State University majoring in music. Billy loved the arts, but he joined Kelly in becoming an avid LSU Tiger fan. He often wore LSU’s loud purple and yellow colors. Traveling was also on the Teals’ menu after Billy retired. They took several cruises, including trips to Alaska, Hawaii, Costa Rica and the Panama Canal.
Billy liked to do a little low-stakes gambling, and was quite aggravated when he learned the ship to Hawaii had no casino because it was licensed in the U.S. New England, Savannah and New Orleans also provided pleasurable trips. And they often visited their cabin friends in Oklahoma and elsewhere during the offseason. They also visited Bridget and her boys in Carrollton, Texas to attend sporting events and school functions.
Billy was very involved in St. Mary’s Cathedral and various civic and community activities. He and Delia often delivered meals for Meals on Wheels and graciously took part in delivering Christmas gifts to the elderly in the Time to Share program.
As mentioned, Billy never met a stranger. He loved to walk up and start a conversation with just about anyone. And those people quickly realized what a gem Billy was. During his final days of rehabilitation, he convinced his nurse to let him work with Bridget during his exercises. They Facetimed during his stretching sessions. During one set, the Internet froze. All Bridget could see was his face that showed a smile. It was hard not to like Billy Teal. He will be missed by all.
Billy’s survivors include his wife, Delia; son, Kelly and his wife Jodi of Amarillo; daughter, Bridget and her husband John of Carrolton; grandsons, Ryan and Sean; three sisters, Eleanor Weaver, Mary Jo Hodges, and Elizabeth Mozola, all of Amarillo; sister-in-law, Cathie Carroll and her husband Larry of Amarillo; dozens of other family members and friends; and his “best friend”, George.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to BSA Hospice and St. Jude’s Hospital.