Billy John Thrasher

April 7, 1930January 16, 2014
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Billy John Thrasher of Katy, Texas passed away peacefully early on January 16, 2014, surrounded by his four children, surviving Joan, his wife of 63 years, by just 12 days. Billy was born in Holdenville, Oklahoma on April 7, 1930. He was raised by his adoptive parents, John and Pearl Thrasher, until they passed away at an early age. Billy then grew up in the Masonic Home in Guthrie, Oklahoma until he joined the U.S. Army at 18.

Billy proudly served his country as a member of the U. S. Army; retiring in 1978 after 30 years of service. He will be remembered by those with whom he served as a "soldier's soldier." Shortly after enlisting he attended parachute school and immediately completed the most difficult training to graduate in the first class of U. S. Army Rangers. Billy's Ranger unit was deeply involved in the Korean War, where he served as a rifleman, and received the Purple Heart Medal among numerous other honors and medals. Billy entered as a private, was later commissioned as a lieutenant and retired as a full colonel. He is best remembered by his military associates for his logical thought process and sincere compassion for his fellow soldiers, particularly those in need of understanding and leadership. Billy's service in Vietnam as both a helicopter pilot and battalion commander proved his worth as an outstanding army officer. He later served a command at the regimental level and performed duty on the U.S. Army staff in Washington, D.C. Colonel Thrasher will be remembered for his love of family, concern for those with whom he served, and friendship towards those who were fortunate enough to know him.

Known affectionately as "Poppy" to his family, Billy will also be remembered for his integrity, humor, deep compassion for others, selflessness, and true dedication to family, especially in taking exceptional care of his wife Joan during her long illness. Billy always said he hoped to live only one day longer than Joan.

Billy is survived by his four children: John and his wife Chris, and her children Mark and Carissa; Lisa and her husband Craig; Lori and her husband David; and Gaye and her husband Dayton; grandchildren Jason, Blair, Corey and his wife Jen, Erick, Megan, Jordan, John, and Madison; and by his great-grandson, Colton. We are forever grateful for the example of unconditional love that Mimi and Poppy exhibited daily, and are comforted by the knowledge that they are together again after only a brief absence, which is as it should be.

A memorial service will be held at Memorial Oaks Funeral Home, 13001 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas 77079, on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 10 am. Wayne Eberly of Pines Presbyterian Church will be officiating. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider remembering Billy through a charitable contribution to The Brookwood Community, 1752 FM 1489, Brookshire, Texas 77423, 281-375-2100. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who has loved and given care to Billy. We are forever grateful for the tremendous support and encouragement of friends and family through prayer, visits, meals, calls and other acts of love and concern.


  • Funeral Service Monday, January 20, 2014

Billy John Thrasher

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Clint Scovel

December 2, 2014

Growing up as army brats, we have fond memories of Joan and Billy. My condolences to the Thrasher family.

Be well old friends.

John Todd

January 25, 2014

Billy Thrasher was a great soldier, a true patriot and an extraordinary human being. He made everyone around him better through his example and unselfishly virtuous behavior. His legacy is the values he imparted in countless human being. Billy Thrasher made the world a better place! Those of us he mentored will carry on his legacy and try to, but never achieve his standards--which he lived every day of his life John Todd Col (ret) USA

Jerry Manuel

January 23, 2014

A wonderful Person, Friend and a great Soldier