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Collierville Funeral Home

534 West Poplar, Collierville, TN

OBITUARY

Billy Neil Carr

May 24, 1928October 28, 2019

Billy Neil Carr departed this life peacefully on October 28, 2019 with his daughter by his side. Born in Murphysboro, Illinois on May 24, 1928, he had lived for the past 33 years in Memphis, most recently at the Kirby Pines LifeCare Community. He joins in heaven his beloved wife Eileen Pentecost Carr, who passed away in 2000.

Billy graduated from Murphysboro Township High School in 1946 and went on to receive Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in Mathematics at Southern Illinois University. He began a Ph.D. program at the University of Kansas but soon was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served for eighteen months during the Korean War, stationed at headquarters in Seoul and using his math skills to plot the movements of troops and supplies. During his military service he earned four Bronze Service Stars and a Commendation Ribbon.

In 1954, Billy was hired by IBM in the first generation of computer programmers. In the 1960s, he helped write the computer software that guided Apollo space launches, earning IBM’s Outstanding Technical Contribution Award for the Application of Mathematics to Logical Design. Upon retirement from IBM in 1986, Bill and Eileen relocated to Memphis, where he taught Computer Science at the University of Memphis for several years.

Billy and Eileen were married for 45 years. Together they lived in eight different states as well as briefly in Germany. They loved to travel; trips to Alaska, the Netherlands, and China were highlights of their life together. Bill and Eileen also shared the hobbies of needlework and genealogy.

Music was an important part of Billy’s life. At a young age, he served as drum major in Murphysboro’s Drum and Bugle Corp, and later began to play the saxophone. In short order, he became an incredible saxophonist, and he played professionally in dance bands throughout high school and college. Until age 80, he was an avid avocational musician, playing in dance bands, community bands, pit orchestras, and wind ensembles in many of the places the family lived.

Survivors include daughter Cindy and grandchild Marty Clinch (Indianapolis); brother Kenneth (Kaye) of Murphysboro, IL and their sons Bill (Jess) and Bryan (Danielle). Billy was particularly close to his sister-in-law Patti of Collierville, who showed him extraordinary love and care as his health declined, as well as nephew Doug Jr. (Amy) and grand-niece Ressie, also of Collierville. Billy was preceded in death by his brother Douglas and his parents Sherman S. and Jesse West Carr.

Graveside service will be held on Thursday, October 31 at 10:00 a.m. at Memphis Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens.

Services

  • Graveside Service Thursday, October 31, 2019

Memories

Billy Neil Carr

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Biography

Billy Neil Carr departed this life peacefully on October 28, 2019 with his daughter by his side. Born in Murphysboro, Illinois on May 24, 1928, he had lived for the past 33 years in Memphis, most recently at the Kirby Pines LifeCare Community. He joins in heaven his beloved wife Eileen Pentecost Carr, who passed away in 2000.

Billy graduated from Murphysboro Township High School in 1946 and went on to receive Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in Mathematics at Southern Illinois University. He began a Ph.D. program at the University of Kansas but soon was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served for eighteen months during the Korean War, stationed at headquarters in Seoul and using his math skills to plot the movements of troops and supplies. During his military service he earned four Bronze Service Stars and a Commendation Ribbon.

In 1954, Billy was hired by IBM in the first generation of computer programmers. In the 1960s, he helped write the computer software that guided Apollo space launches, earning IBM’s Outstanding Technical Contribution Award for the Application of Mathematics to Logical Design. Upon retirement from IBM in 1986, Bill and Eileen relocated to Memphis, where he taught Computer Science at the University of Memphis for several years.

Billy and Eileen were married for 45 years. Together they lived in eight different states as well as briefly in Germany. They loved to travel; trips to Alaska, the Netherlands, and China were highlights of their life together. Bill and Eileen also shared the hobbies of needlework and genealogy.

Music was an important part of Billy’s life. At a young age, he served as drum major in Murphysboro’s Drum and Bugle Corp, and later began to play the saxophone. In short order, he became an incredible saxophonist, and he played professionally in dance bands throughout high school and college. Until age 80, he was an avid avocational musician, playing in dance bands, community bands, pit orchestras, and wind ensembles in many of the places the family lived.
Survivors include daughter Cindy and grandchild Marty Clinch (Indianapolis); brother Kenneth (Kaye) of Murphysboro, IL and their sons Bill (Jess) and Bryan (Danielle). Billy was particularly close to his sister-in-law Patti of Collierville, who showed him extraordinary love and care as his health declined, as well as nephew Doug Jr. (Amy) and grand-niece Ressie, also of Collierville. Billy was preceded in death by his brother Douglas and his parents Sherman S. and Jesse West Carr.

Graveside service will be held on Thursday, October 31 at 10:00 a.m. at Memphis Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens.