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Billy Daughdrill '58 June 25, 2020 10:10 AM updated: June 25, 2020 10:18 AM

Dr. Billy H. Daughdrill
November 28, 1927 - June 11, 2020

Pensacola - Dr. Billy H. Daughdrill died Thursday June 11, 2020 in Pensacola, Florida following a brief illness. He was 92. Billy was a kind and gentle man who was deeply loved by his family and friends. He was a role model and mentor to several generations of family, friends, and students including special life-long relationships with members of the Adkison, Lett, and Jones families.

Billy was born November 28, 1927 in Poplarville, MS to Willie Lee Daughdrill and Myrtis Stewart Daughdrill. He grew up in Poplarville graduating from Poplarville High School. He attended Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS graduating in 1950 with a master's degree in biology. Following graduation he accepted a position teaching chemistry at Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit, MS. In Summit, Billy met and married Joan Ryan in 1952 who was his wife for over 60 years.

In 1956, Billy accepted a teaching position at Pensacola Junior College -PJC- (now Pensacola State College) in Pensacola, FL where he was a professor of chemistry and later the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. During his early years at PJC, Billy was also completing graduate studies at Texas A&M University in Bryan, TX and was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in biology/chemistry in 1958. While at PJC, Billy taught chemistry to several generations of Pensacolians including many who would continue into prominent roles as doctors, scientists, engineers, educators, and community leaders in all walks of life. Billy was passionate about the value of a strong science education and passed that passion on to hundreds of students over the years. Billy retired from PJC in 1986 following a distinguished career of over 35 years in higher education.

Billy demonstrated his passion for science and technical education by serving as the Director of the West Panhandle (Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties) Regional Science and Engineering Fair during all or part of three decades (1960s, 1970s, 1980s). He also served as the Director of the State of Florida Science and Engineering Fair on two occasions. Billy was an emeritus member of the American Chemical Society. He was a regular volunteer in Escambia County elementary schools teaching science education and also a frequent volunteer at the Roy Hyatt Environmental Center teaching elementary grade children about insects. Billy was also a long-time member and held various leadership positions in the Warrington Kiwanis Club, the Central Pensacola Kiwanis Club and participated in a multitude of community service projects as a member of these and other civic organizations over the years.

Billy Daughdrill loved the outstanding boating and fishing opportunities available in Pensacola. He was a long-time member of the Pensacola Yacht Club and served as the club's Commodore in 1975. Billy was also one of the founding members of the Pensacola Big Game Fishing Club in 1970 and a lifelong passionate fisherman. He and Joan were world travelers both prior to and following Billy's retirement from PJC including extensive travel in the United States, Europe, Egypt, China, Russia, Hong Kong, Thailand, South America, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands, Greece, Turkey, Canada, and Mexico. In particular, Billy and Joan enjoyed travel to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico where they established strong connections in the local community for over 20 years and participated in numerous sport fishing adventures with friends and family.

Billy died on June 11, 2020, the opening day of recreational red snapper fishing in Florida waters. Before he died, Billy asked his family to catch a red snapper in his honor during the open season. That process is underway with some nice red snapper already boated.

Billy was preceded in death by his father Willie Lee Daughdrill, mother Myrtis Stewart Daughdrill, wife Joan Ryan Daughdrill. Billy is survived by his daughter Teresa Jones and her husband Roger Jones; daughter Kimberly Walden; son Bill Daughdrill and his wife Maria Petrelis Daughdrill; granddaughters Kate Daughdrill of Detroit, MI, and Beth Jones of Los Angeles, CA, grandson Ross Daughdrill and wife Emily Fellgren Daughdrill of Pensacola, great-granddaughter Riley Joan Daughdrill (daughter of Ross and Emily); sister Joan Highsmith of Hattiesburg, MS; nephews Bill Highsmith of Austin, TX and Craig Highsmith of Denver, CO, niece LeAnne Highsmith Williams of Clear Lake, TX and brother in law Ken Young of Gorham, ME.

Billy will be laid to rest at Bayview Memorial Park in a private ceremony. A celebration of life in his honor will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Billy's name to the chemistry or biology prizes awarded by the West Panhandle Regional Science and Engineering Fair. Donations can be sent to the Escambia County Public Schools Foundation, West Panhandle Regional Science Fair, 30 East Texar Drive, Pensacola, FL 32503 or on line at (designate the donation for the West Panhandle Regional Science and Engineering Fair in honor of Dr. Billy H. Daughdrill).

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