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Billy-Ray Kimmel

FLANAGAN – Billy-Ray Kimmel of Flanagan died Monday, June 17, 2013, at Good Samaritan Healthcare in Flanagan. He had been ill for the past year.

He was born Nov. 14, 1937, in Rock Falls, to Bernard and Bertha (Wright) Mills. He later was adopted in 1940 by Melvin Ray and Ruth (Thomkins) Kimmel in Rock Falls. He married Sheryl Beneshek on Feb. 14, 1958. She died in 2005.

Billy-Ray graduated in 1957 from Rock Falls High School. He worked in the steel tubing industry all of his life, and did consulting in the United States and other countries in that field as well. He was a hands-on man who loved working with wood and making furniture, and could always fix things.

He had his own garden center for a time in Mississippi, and was very good with landscaping. He loved boating on Lake Shafer in Monticello, Ind., and the many friends he made there. He enjoyed golfing, camping, and buying and selling antiques. He always was ready to lend a hand, be it sitting with a sick relative or friend, or working on a project for them. Billy-Ray was a member of Sons of Flanagan American Legion, and a member of Graymont Baptist Church. He actively served as a voting judge for all Livingston County elections.

He is survived by six children, Mark Kimmel and Billie Jr. Kimmel, both of Florida; Timothy Kimmel of Roselle, Peter John Kimmel of Leeds, Ala., James Kimmel of Flushing, N.Y., and Darcy Fox of Park Forest; seven grandchildren, Mark Kimmel of Flushing, Linda Gonzalas of Hampton, Va., Robert Kimmel of Medina, Ohio, Nicole Smith of Lodi, Ohio, Kenny Smith of Jacksonville, Fla., and Benjamin Kimmel and Lili Kimmel, both of Roselle; and one great-grandchild, Damion Smith of Lodi. Also surviving are his sister and best friend, Connie Shaw of Flanagan; his brother, Ronnie Ansteth of Triumph; and sisters, Sandy Welch of Pontiac and Candi Secor of Vacaville, Calif.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Sheryl; brothers, Larry Bishop and Rick and Brett Wadsworth; and sister, Jackie Scott.

Billy-Ray thought the world of his nieces and nephews in the Flanagan, Pontiac, and Minonk area. He especially was appreciative of his nephew and niece, Jim Durre and Madison Durre, for all of their help over the years.

Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday and the funeral at 11 a.m. Saturday at Graymont Baptist Church, with the Rev. Patrick Embly, pastor, and Tim Kimmel, Billy-Ray’s son, officiating.

Memorials may be made to the Kidney Foundation and Graymont Baptist Church.


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