Eugene J. “Red” Billman, 84, Batesville, died Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, at his home.
Born May 25, 1929, in Batesville, he was the son of Lena (Eckstein) and Charles Billman Sr. He married Ruth Weisenbach Oct. 23, 1954, at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Morris. Red served in the Army during the Korean War as a medic.
After the service, he would work for the Western Furniture Co., NYC Railroad, Wilbur Siebert Trucking, Koester Dairy and Batesville Casket Co. He was the second driver to be hired by the casket company. In 1954, he went to work for the Batesville Telephone Co. as a lineman, where he would retire from in 1991 after 37 years. In those 37 years, with mergers and acquisitions, the phone company went from the Batesville Telephone Co., to Public Telephone Co., to Indiana Telephone Co., to Contel and finally GTE. Red was the only employee to work under all five companies and was honored for it with a plaque.
Red loved the simple life. An avid gardener, he delighted in sharing his bounty with friends and neighbors. He also loved to fish and liked touring the town with that big catfish in a washtub to show off. Additionally, he enjoyed building birdhouses and bird shelters so he could give them away.
He is survived by his wife; daughters Lynn (Don) Howe, Grand Rapids, Mich., and Kay Lohmeier, East Peoria, Ill.; sons Brent Billman, Hamilton, Ohio, Dale (Kristen) Billman, Indianapolis, and Luke (Melanie) Billman, Brandon, Miss.; and grandchildren Austin, Q. Steven and Cassie Lohmeier, Tyler Howe and Kyle, Kaitlin, Callie and Mathis Billman.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Viola Prickel and brother Charles Billman Jr.
Visitation is Monday, Dec. 9, from 9-11 a.m. at Weigel Funeral Home. Funeral services will follow at 11:30 a.m. at St. Louis Catholic Church with the Rev. John Geis officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery with military rites conducted by the Batesville Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3183 and Prell-Bland American Legion Post 271.
The family requests memorials to the Lil Kennel Scholarship Fund at St. Louis School.