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"Billie" Lee Maurine Barnett, 99, of Sterling, passed away Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in Sterling. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, at Tennant Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at First Baptist Church with Pastor John Roberts officiating. Interment will follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens. Lee Maurine Williams was born June 22, 1912, to Ellis Lee Williams and Maude Nourse Williams on a homestead north of Cope. She spent her early childhood at Kirk and Joes , where her father owned the general merchandise stores and she spent her time whistling for customers. Her father nicknamed her "Bill." Later the "ie" was added to the name and has stayed to this day. She often said Maurine was her formal name. Billie learned to shoot the basketball with the famous Joes Boys basketball team, who in 1929 won the national championship finals in Chicago. In 1925, the family moved to Limon where her father owned a grocery and fabric store. Billie was the star forward of the girls' basketball team, going to state tournament twice. Billie graduated from Limon High School in 1930 and then she and her mother moved to Boulder, so Billie could enroll in the music school of University of Colorado. In 1934, she and her mother moved to Greeley where Billie attended the then Colorado State Teachers College, graduating in 1936 with a major in elementary education. It was after graduation that a mutual friend introduced Billie to her future husband, J. Lee Barnett. Lee Maurine Williams and Jacob Lee Barnett were married Nov. 20, 1940, in Colorado Springs and set up housekeeping in Alma. Lee was a high school teacher and basketball coach in Alma. In May 1942, they moved to Sterling and shared 64 years of marriage together before Lee passed away in January 2005. Billie taught kindergarten at Sexson School for 16 years and retired in 1977. She loved the children and whistled around the school Christmas tree and shot baskets in the gym. Her memories of the years at Sexson were very precious. Billie received trophies for her whistling at talent shows at the University of Colorado, and whistled for summer concerts in the gazebo on the courthouse square in Sterling. Billie was a very active member in the Sterling First Baptist Church. She belonged to Delta Kappa Gamma International Society, Daughters of the American Revolution and Humanities Club. She is survived by her four children, Gary Barnett of Mimbres, N.M., Thomas R. Barnett and wife Merry Anne of Fauke, Ark., Mary Black and husband Ken of Louisville, and Viki Elliott and husband Glenn of Reno, Nev. She is also survived by three granddaughters, Jennifer Polland and husband Brett of Denver, Sara Sillcox of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., and Lisa Elliott of Austin, Texas; and one great-grandson, Simon Lee Greene. She is also survived by two nieces, Treva Jane Koler of Seattle, Wash., and Margaret Clark and husband Martin of Townsend, Mont. Memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church, Delta Kappa Gamma, or Daughters of the American Revolution in care of Tennant Funeral Home, P.O. Box 1547, Sterling, CO 80751. Paid Obituary

Journal-Advocate (Sterling, CO)
Date: September 23, 2011



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