Mr. William Elmer (Bill) Dent, 94, formerly of Abilene, Texas, was born on November 5, 1925, in Azle, Texas, to Robert Lee and Alma Daughtery Dent. Bill, as he was affectionally known, was born into eternal life on October 26, 2020, at the home of his daughter, Delinda Dent of Richmond, Kentucky, surrounded by family and friends.
Bill spent his childhood days in Azle, Texas, and at the age of 19, he enlisted in the United States Army, serving in the 41st Division Infantry during WWII. Within days after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Bill’s division was assigned to assist the Japanese military in cleaning up the aftermath. To assist with the low morale of this daunting task, a football “league” was formed as Bill’s team, the Jungleers, played several games against other branches of the military teams. He spoke fondly of playing in the Tokyo Rose Bowl Classic on New Year’s Day in 1946 as a right guard and kept hand drawn plays that he and his fellow soldiers created. The Jungleers won by a victory of 27-2.
Upon discharge from the Army in September of 1946, Bill returned to Abilene, Texas, where he met and married his sweetheart, Lillie Faye Burnett, on November 11, 1947. Bill spent his 45 year career in management with the Furr’s Grocery Stores as a store planning coordinator for 78 stores, as a District Manager/District Supervisor. Bill’s career with Furr’s included managerial assignments in Midland and El Paso, Texas, and Denver, Colorado, before returning to Abilene, Texas, in 1995. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of Furr’s Grocery. Upon the death of his first wife, Bill married June Chron Price on November 1, 1997, in Abilene, Texas. He often said how many men are blessed with two wonderful wives.
Bill was involved in his community and church, giving tirelessly to those in need. At the First Baptist Church in Abilene, Bill served as the Coordinator of Abilene Social Ministries, an outreach program to provide food and clothing to needy families. In 2010, Bill received the Outstanding Service Award by the Mental Health Association of Abilene (MHAA) in recognition for his community involvement with ensuring hungry families had enough food. He was a Deacon and was an active member of the Fellowship Sunday School Class of First Baptist Church, Abilene, Texas. He served as chairman of the Deacons, President of Baptist Men, and Director and teacher of young singles in Sunday School while living in Denver. Bill was actively involved with the Denver Lions Club and the Arapahoe County Sherriff’s Posse. In addition, he was a 50 year 32nd Degree Mason of the George Washington Lodge in Denver.
Bill greatly loved his family and friends. He was a man of great influence in the lives of his daughter and grandchildren and brought happiness and laughter into the lives of many.
Bill was preceded in death by Delinda’s mom, Lillie Faye Burnett Dent, on September 4, 1995, and June C. Price Dent on May 20, 2018, in addition to his parents, Robert and Alma Dent, and two brothers Robert (Bob) Dent and James (Jimmy) Dent.
He is survived by his daughter, Dr. Delinda Dent and husband John Lackey of Richmond; a sister, Louise Dent Sherrick of Ft. Worth, Texas; two granddaughters, Dr. Alisha Melina Wray and husband, Dr. Justin Wray of Waco, Texas; Dr. Katibeth Sharp and husband, Andrew Sharp of Richmond, Kentucky; two stepdaughters, Virginia Kay Brown and husband Ben Brown of Dallas, Texas, and Norma Judy Oles and husband Mike Oles of Lubbock, Texas; and step granddaughter Melissa Hodge and husband Travis of Dallas, Texas, two great granddaughters, Lyra Bell Wray and Ella Lillie Wray of Waco, Texas, step great grandson Benjamin Hodge, and his special little buddy Reid Friend of Lexington, Kentucky, in addition to a host of nieces, nephews, and the extended Lackey/Friend family.
Bill asked his son in law John Lackey to conduct his graveside service just prior to his death.
Pallbearers include Andrew Sharp, Don Shillingburg, Dr. Justin Wray, Mike Oles, Ben Brown, and Woodrow Friend.
Honorary pallbearers include Grady Dorsett, Rev. L. D. Patrick, Hector Duran, Dr. Julian Bridges, Rev. Marcus Driggers, and Ed Cox.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the William E. & Lillie F. Dent Endowed Memorial Scholarship of Hardin-Simmons University, P. O. Box 16100, Abilene, Texas, 79698, or to White Oak Pond Church, 1238 Barnes Mill Road, Richmond, Kentucky, 40475, Hospice Care, 350 Issacs Ln., Richmond, Kentucky, 40475.
A graveside service will be conducted at Erath Gardens of Memory, 6811 S. Highway 377, Dublin, Texas.