Billy Brice '70
September 8, 2020 12:30 PM
updated: September 8, 2020 1:34 PM
Billy B. Brice
July 19, 1948 - September 1, 2020
Billy Bruce Brice, age 72, of Palestine passed away Tuesday, September 1, 2020, at Palestine Regional Medical Center.
He was born July 19, 1948, in Waco, Texas to Edward Ewing Brice and Dorothy Mae (Grusendorf) Brice. Billy grew up in Palestine and graduated from Palestine High School in 1966. After graduation he attended Texas A&M University, where he was a proud member of
the Corps of Cadets and Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, graduating in 1970 with a BS degree in Industrial Distribution. Billy made many special, life-long friends while at Texas A&M and met the love of his life, Michele.
Billy began his first job with Alcoa Aluminum, but soon found he had a skill and love of flying like Maverick, he felt “the need, the need for speed.” In May 1972, he joined the US Air Force. After attending, Officer Training School (OTS) and the rigorous 54-week
Air Force pilot training program, Billy was assigned to Little Rock Air Force Base as a pilot flying the C-130 Hercules, specializing in tactical airlift and aerial delivery--supplying humanitarian airlift relief to victims of disasters, as well as airdropping
supplies and troops into the heart of contingency operations in hostile areas. Billy participated in numerous deployments during his time at Little Rock including the chaotic evacuation of thousands of "at risk" Vietnamese from Saigon during the final days
of the Vietnam war by ferrying them from Saigon to Clark Air Base in the Philippines as well as less chaotic but equally risky missions providing resupply flights to Antarctica supporting US science exploration at the South Pole.
After 6 years as a Command Pilot in the Air Force, Billy decided to become a commercial airline pilot where he would enjoy even more flying time. He worked for several well-known airlines including Eastern, Pan-Am, and then his position with United Airlines
flying their Boeing 757 and 767 model aircrafts. Billy and Michele returned to Palestine in 2006, where he continued to fly for United for another two years before retiring.
In Billy’s spare time, he built in his garage an aerobatic sporting biplane, the Christen Eagle, and flew it until he had performed every possible aerobatic maneuver the plane could do. Billy continued to remain active in the Palestine flight community, spending
many days at the Palestine airport enjoying the company of other pilots and the solace of the planes he loved so much. Billy also loved music and attending concerts or just listening to local bands or sharing playlists with his friends. Billy considered everyone
he met a friend and treated them as if he knew them an entire lifetime.
Billy was preceded in death by his parents, Edward E. and Dorothy Brice and a brother, Robert E. “Bobby” Brice.
He is survived by his wife, Michele C. “Mickey” Brice; a daughter, Lea Houghland and husband Erik; grandson, Eric Brice Houghland; and many loving cousins and friends.
A memorial service will be held at the Palestine Airport and announced at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of Herrington/Land of Memory Funeral Home.