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Community leader dies

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GEORGIA FITZHUGH
The Ellis County Press

OVILLA - Billy R. Wade, a 69-year-old Ovilla resident known for his involvement in charity work and community affairs in north Ellis County, died Wednesday, Feb. 12 at his home after an extended illness.

He was buried at Shiloh Cemetery on Saturday, Feb. 15 following funeral services led by Rev. Mike Simmons at Hillcrest Baptist Church of Cedar Hill.

He is survived by his wife Jimmie, four children, 9 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

Billy and his wife founded Helping Hands of Red Oak, a

food pantry and clothing closet for needy persons in the Red Oak area, and worked in this non-profit organization for many years.

The North Ellis County Outreach Center in Red Oak grew from the foundation of Helping Hands and a coalition of local charitable efforts.

The food pantry at the center is now named the Billy and Jimmie Wade Food Pantry to recognize the Wades' years of service.

Wade recently served as an Ovilla City Councilman, Place 4, until the fall of 2002 when he resigned due to poor health. As a city councilman, he volunteered to organize the parade for Ovilla's Heritage Day for several years. He had served previously on the council and on various city committees.

Wade was a member of the Ovilla Lions Club, serving as its president at one time, and always active in promoting the Lions' patriotic and charitable events in the area.

On Saturday, Feb. 8, the Ovilla Lions Club held a pancake breakfast in honor of Billy, though he was unable to attend. Donations for the breakfast were collected for a fund in Wade's name to send children to a special Lions' camp for children with disabilities.

Wade was a well-known volunteer in many area community organizations.

Wade announced the Red Oak High School football games for many years.

He has served as the president of the Red Oak Area Chamber of Commerce. He was also an active volunteer in the American Air Power Heritage Flying Museum in Lancaster.

Wade helped run the North Ellis County Weekly Review for several years and was a columnist and contributor to other local newspapers.

Born in Florence in 1933, Wade was a graduate of Killeen High School and Baylor University. He served in the Air Force during the Korean War.

He was employed by the Army Air Force Exchange Service abroad and in the U.S. He received the Humanitarian Award from AAFES for his community involvement, as well as many other commendations.

Wade's children are daughter April Ater and her husband Mike of Ovilla; son, Barry Ray Wade of Gilbert, Ariz; son Daniel Wade and his wife Linda of Clarksville, Tenn.; and son James Wade of Corpus Christi. Wade and his wife were also foster parents and count their foster children as their own.

Donations in memory of Billy Wade can be made to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas or to the building fund of Hillcrest Baptist Church of Cedar Hill.

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