“I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another.” —John 13:34–35 NASB
It’s hard to think of someone who had more love for others than Billie Marie Hubbard. In her 96 years on this earth, every person she encountered was met with the love of Christ. Like all of us, Billie’s life was filled with joy and heartache. She, like the apostle Paul, “learned to be content in whatever circumstances…”
Born in Navarro, TX, in 1927 to Marie and Pete Marsh, Billie grew up attending First Baptist Church with her parents and her brother, Bob. They lived a modest, happy life. When she was 17, she gave birth to her first child, Rick. Tearfully, she placed him for adoption, believing she would never see him again. She pressed on, carrying with her a deep love for her firstborn. When she was 19, she met the love of her life, Jim Hubbard. They married, moved to Wink, and started their long, happy life together. Heartache came again when they lost their first child, Jimmy, shortly after he was born in 1948. She leaned on her Lord and her love, and pressed on again. Joy came when Robert “Bob” David joined them in 1951, then Virginia “Gini” Marie in 1952, and, finally, Alice “Luann” in 1956. The family spent their days visiting and enjoying time with extended family in the area and attending First Baptist Church in Wink. In 1959, they moved to Hobbs, NM, where Billie worked as a secretary for a local construction company; the church secretary for Northside Baptist Church; and secretary for the law office of Williams, Johnston, Houston, Reagan and Porter. The family were faithful members of Northside Baptist Church, then First Baptist Church.
In 1973, Jim and Billie moved to Odessa. For more than 20 years, Billie worked as a banker at what is now Bank of America in downtown Odessa. She collected many friends during her time at the bank—some co-workers, some customers—most of whom kept in touch long after she was gone. She knew them so well that she knew many of the details of their lives. She had ministered to their families by weeping with them when they wept, and rejoicing with them when they rejoiced. During those decades in Odessa, Billie and Jim coordinated and hosted dozens of family vacations and holidays. Many Christmases were spent at the Hubbard house, with kids on pallets on the floor and games galore. There were lots of trips with the kids and grandkids to Arlington to enjoy Six Flags, Wet-N-Wild, and of course, her Texas Rangers. No holiday or trip ever passed without each kid and grandkid getting some special Mammaw time. She always made each member of her family feel like the favorite. While in Odessa, they served at Second Baptist Church; she always loved their slogan: “We’re second because He’s first.”
Billie retired from the bank in 1995, and she and Jim moved to Eunice. She leaned heavily into her “Mammaw” persona. Over the course of their years in Eunice, she and Jim became “Mammaw” and “Pappaw” to hundreds of kids. They always had a handful at the house for lunch, and they rarely missed a chance to cheer on the Eunice Cardinals, no matter the season or sport. Pappaw could be rowdy at those games, but Mammaw was always in the stands, cheering on the kids and loving on those kids’ parents. She loved hosting Luann’s and her annual “Soups and Sweets” party before Christmas every year; having her home bursting at the seams while she fed people amazing food was her love language. Billie and Jim happily served at First Baptist Church and made many close friends. In 2003, her beloved Jim passed on to the Lord’s presence. The next year, she was diagnosed with lymphoma. With the help of Bob, Gini, and Luann, as well as her cousins Evelyn and Charles Stroder, she trekked to west Texas and Houston for appointments and treatments. She beat cancer and remained in remission for the rest of her life. It was decided she ought to be closer to better healthcare, so in 2006, she left Eunice and moved to Tyler, TX, where her daughter Gini lived. She was an inaugural resident at The Hamptons—an independent senior living community she jokingly referred to as ‘the home’. She immediately made new friends and picked up new hobbies. During her time there, she did Zumba and water aerobics, played cards, picked up mahjong, took line dancing classes, and hosted dinner parties in her apartment. She served on resident committees and prided herself on having met every person who ever lived at The Hamptons. She attended Green Acres Baptist Church with Gini and her family. Even though she was physically unable to serve as she had at churches past, she remained involved and never failed to pray for her pastors and ministers. After Green Acres’ longtime pastor retired in 2021 and the church hired a new pastor, Billie wrote him a letter of encouragement; she knew it could be hard to fill the shoes of a pastor who had served for so many years. While in Tyler, she also began serving with Open Door Ministries where she served food and did Bible study with men living in a halfway house near Tyler. Open Door was the thing she became most passionate about during her time in Tyler. She loved getting to know those men and their stories, and sharing how Jesus was the source of her joy no matter what life had thrown at her.
In 2006 what had seemed impossible all her life became reality. Her firstborn son, Rick Oshman, found her through ancestry research and the two reconnected. She now had another daughter-in-law and two more grandkids!
She has spent the past 17 years enjoying time with her friends at “the home,” relishing living down the road from Gini for the first time in several decades, and being shuttled around to spend time with her kids—Rick and his family in Houston; Bob and his family in north Texas and Albuquerque—and Luann and her family in Eunice. Maybe her greatest display of unconditional love was the love she had for her kids’ spouses—Tania, Carol, Jim, and Clabe. They have all said they always felt like they were her own children. The day after she passed, Clabe sent this text to her kids: “I am very sad today. Your mom accepted me for what I am. Even with all my faults and bad habits she continued to love me unconditionally as she did all her family.”
Throughout her life, she has collected many honorary kids and grandkids—though she wouldn’t call them ‘honorary’—just, “her kids.” She could keep up with them all, because she was a tech and Facebook aficionado. She was proficient with her iPad and was able to check in on everyone through Facebook and FaceTime. If she was “lonesome” for someone’s face (her words), she would dial them up or FaceTime them to check in. And she always knew the details of everyone’s lives, because she genuinely cared and needed to know how to pray for people. Because she understood God’s very real love for her—that He sent His Son to pay the penalty for her sin and offered her wholeness and joy instead of grief and sorrow—she was filled to overflowing with holy love. She had more love in her heart than she knew what to do with—and we all were the beneficiaries of that overflow. As so many of the condolences received by her family attest to, she loved freely and unconditionally—as a disciple of Jesus who has experienced His unconditional love. We will all carry that love with us as we press forward in the heartache of losing her. Our family will feel the void left by her absence, but we will follow her example and lean on our Lord to sustain us, knowing “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
The family would like to ask of in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bille's honor to Hospice of East Texas or Wounded Warrior Project.
Arrangements are under the direction of Calvary Funeral Home of Eunice, New Mexico.
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