A celebration of the life of Bill Estep will be 3 p.m. Sunday, March 20, 2016 at Destiny Life Church, 2300 Southaven Road. His brothers-in-law, Dr. Jerry Jones and Dr. Jim Baird will share words of remembrance. Following the service there will be a fellowship at the church for Bill's many friends and family. Rice Funeral Service is entrusted with Bill's care.
He passed away Thursday, March 17, 2016 at the age of 69.
Billy Ray Estep was born on May 10, 1946 in Visalia, Calif. He was the son of William Henry and Lois (Porter) Estep. When he was just six years old the family moved to Oklahoma City. The state of Oklahoma has been home since. Bill graduated from Northeast High School. He was a part of the class of 1964. A gifted musician, he played the viola in the Oklahoma City Junior Symphony. The talent he displayed earned him a full scholarship at Julliard. But he was also a gifted basketball player and chose to forfeit the scholarship in order to follow his passion of playing college basketball at Oklahoma Christian College.
After one year of college, Bill chose to enlist in the Army so he could have a better opportunity to select his interest of becoming a helicopter pilot. A service related injury brought an early release. Following his honorable discharge from his military service, Bill returned home to Oklahoma City.
Now home included a lovely young lady Bill had known since the two were children attending church together. When Harriet Adelle Baird turned fifteen, she and Bill began a courtship that ended in their marriage on August 3, 1967, in an Oklahoma City wedding ceremony.
With the military still a part of Bill's life, during their first months of marriage Virginia was home until their return to Oklahoma. Then Bill worked in insurance sales while returning to college. Just short of graduation, the young Esteps welcomed the arrival of their first daughter and the focus became finding a career that provided well for a growing family. A few years later they were blessed with a second daughter and now the Estep family was complete. With his entrepreneur attitude, Bill began his own solar energy company — a decision that brought the family to Broken Arrow.
In 1986 they moved to the small community of Oologah where both girls enjoyed the special attention received in a smaller school. Lifelong ties were formed in those years. In 1989 Claremore became home and has remained so all through these more recent years. And Bill began working as a home builder in the area. That gift afforded the opportunity to make many improvements to their own home.
A devoted husband and father, Bill joked to his girls that the best thing they could have ever done for him was bring those adored grandchildren into his life. With children and grandchildren, Bill's joy multiplied as he also adopted all their friends into his heart. He was "Pop" to each one. He was their greatest fan in the athletic arenas and in life.
Bill's heart was so big that it reached out to others through his ministry efforts. He helped lead fundraisers, served on ministry boards, directed youth camps and made jail visits. And he frequently used his ministry ordination to conduct weddings and funerals.
Bill was an eternal optimist, always seeing the hope that was possible. That attitude along with the beard made him a perfect candidate for Santa. As a matter of fact, he stopped trimming the beard in the fall months in preparation for Christmas Eve when he and the whole family brightened the lives of others as Santa, Mrs. Claus and his elves. Often parents would ask Bill to visit with their children and see what they wanted for Christmas — these children were convinced they were in the same store or restaurant with Santa himself.
Multiple lives have been touched by Bill Estep but none more than his family. He was his wife's best friend, his daughter's hero, with a heart constantly filled with love, and that love came from his Christ centered personal life. Those family members who survive are his wife, Harriet of their home; daughters, Raye Lynn Mathews and son-in-law, Bruce and Terri Hall; five grandchildren, Mackenzie, Savannah, Gunner, Emma and Gannon all of Claremore; siblings, Adeline Nix and Richard of Yukon, Dr. Dennis Estep and Susan of Joplin and Dr. Randel Estep and Teresa of Oklahoma City and several nieces and nephews.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents.
Those who wish to honor Bill's memory with a memorial may do so with a gift to:
Christ's Outreach Church, P.O. Box 545, Claremore, OK 74018 .
Published on March 19, 2016