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David Billingsley '50 March 30, 2024 3:26 PM updated: March 30, 2024 3:36 PM

David Stuart Billingsley 

June 6, 1929 - July 18, 2023 

Dr. David Stuart Billingsley passed away July 18, 2023, in Fort Worth, Texas.

He was born to Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Stuart Billingsley on June 6, 1929, in Chicago, Illinois. His mother was the former Helen Wilson Murdoch of El Paso, Texas. He was a grandson of Andrew Archibald Billingsley and his wife, Olivia Jane Kirby, of Fort Worth. Andrew Archibald Billingsley had managed the credit reporting business of the Fort Worth Retail Merchants' Association and so had been well known in the Fort Worth business community throughout the 1920s. Dr. Billingsley's father was similarly distinguished throughout the 1940s.

A few months before his third birthday, in 1932, David's parents moved their family to Fort Worth. There, he attended Alice E. Carlson Elementary School, W. P. McLean Junior High School and R. L. Paschal High School, graduating with high honors in June 1946. At that time high school in Fort Worth was three years, ending with the eleventh grade. While at Paschal he twice "lettered" in mathematics. Letters were awarded for maintaining extremely high grades in mathematics throughout the year. He was ineligible to "letter" the third time, having taken all three years of math courses in the first five semesters.

His sister remembered him as an industrious lad who delivered newspapers for the Fort Worth Press for a time when about 12, and for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram while attending high school. She remembered him as a Cub Scout while at Alice Carlson and as a member of the Alice Carlson Safety Patrol. Patrol members were boys selected from the sixth grade: they escorted children across street intersections and were identified by white canvas Sam Browne belts and "police type" badges. David's sister also remembered him playing scrub baseball games and football and tennis games with the other neighborhood children, playing chess, keeping tropical fish and performing experiments with his toy chemistry set, the likes of which are now deemed too dangerous to be sold.

David graduated from Texas A&M University at College Station, Texas, in 1950 having earned the degree of Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. He had been a member of the Cadet Corps there for four years and, upon graduation, was commissioned in the Army of the United States. He was called to active duty in the Ordnance Corps and, after training, served 13 months in the field in Korea during that war. After two years of service, he was released from active duty, in the rank of first lieutenant, and he returned to Texas A&M University at College Station in July 1953.

With the aid of the "Korean G.I. Bill" Dr. Billingsley earned the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and in Industrial Engineering in 1956. He had almost majored in mechanical engineering upon first entering A&M and was still fascinated by it, especially at the graduate level. He was awarded the Dow Fellowship in Chemical Engineering at A&M enabling him in 1958 and 1961, respectively, to earn the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering with minors in physics and chemistry.

Upon receiving his Ph.D. degree he was employed by the IBM Corp., for many years at Houston, Texas, and for six years at Palo Alto, California. From time to time while at Houston, he worked on IBM projects in Russia, Spain, and elsewhere in Europe. Whenever possible, he attended opera in London, Moscow, Zurich, Munich, Madrid, Vienna or Paris, and he always held a season ticket to opera at Houston or at San Francisco.

Early in his career at IBM, Dr. Billingsley spent two years in a mathematical analysis group working on orbital mechanics computation for the NASA moon flight program. He then joined the IBM Scientific Center in Houston, Texas, where he developed and tested mathematical models of certain refinery processes, a field now called computational chemical engineering. He authored a number of technical papers that appeared in internationally circulated, refereed, technical engineering journals. He served as a referee for two such journals. He retired from IBM in 1985. In 1994 he was listed in the second edition of Who's Who in Science and Engineering and in the 49th edition of Who's Who in America.

He authored the book Descendants of Richard Billingsley and Elizabeth Pearson, published in 1992. He was a coauthor of the book The Billingsley Family of Canada, published in 2000. It traced his Billingsley ancestors back into the 1500s in England.

Dr. Billingsley moved back to Fort Worth, Texas, in early Sept. 2003.

In addition to his parents, Dr. Billingsley was preceded in death by his sister, Helen Billingsley Silvestri, uncle, Percy Billingsley; paternal aunts, Charlotte Clara McDonald and Edith Olivia Graves; cousins, Jack Arthur Billingsley, George Meredith Graves and Charlotte Olivia Gore, all of Fort Worth and Wallace Billingsley Graves of Evansville, Indiana; aunt who died in childhood, Peri Alice Billingsley of Toronto, Canada.

Survivors: Niece, Dr. Andrea Silvestri and husband, Royce Calk of Fort Worth; nephew, Delio Antony Silvestri and wife, Lisa Traylor of Tulsa, Oklahoma; grandnephew and grandnieces, Delio Andrew Silvestri and Anna Lisa Silvestri both of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Dr. Ashlea Andrea Feezel of Houston; and descendants of Jack Billingsley, Wallace Graves, or George Graves.

Dr. Billingsley had been a member of the Christian Science Church since 1948. Prior to that he had regularly attended the Sunday School of the Second Church of Christ Scientist, Fort Worth, throughout his youth. He will be interred some 50 feet from his parents and grandparents in Fort Worth's Greenwood Memorial Park cemetery at a private graveside service.


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