Billy Ray Griffin, 91, of Amarillo passed away surrounded by his loved ones on June 5, 2022. Funeral services are scheduled for 2:00 PM Thursday June 9, 2022 at Cox-Rowley Funeral Home Chapel with Chaplain Shane Chadwick officiating. Services will be livestreamed, and can be viewed by following the link provided. https://www12.funeralwebhost.com/cxh/live-streaming-
Billy was born on February 26, 1931, to Lige and Helen Griffin in Lamb County. After his years attending public schools, Billy left early and got involved in carpentry work. His talents ranged from handyman to master craftsman, and his degrees were in experience and hard knocks. He came from humble beginnings and was a self-made man. His family remembers him as a perfectionist, an avid reader and a talented and creative hard worker.
On August 24, 1953 he married the love of his life Mary Jo Roberson at the Rocky Ford Church in Amherst, TX. Together they shared 68 years of marriage. They had two beautiful daughters; Penny Lynn and Reba Jane. Billy was in carpentry building homes. He worked around the South Plains area before moving to Amarillo and using his same skills in building, working with several contactors.
He applied for a job with the Panhandle Plains Historic Museum to restore a large collection of farm machinery and horse drawn vehicles. That was expected to take about two years. Billy worked out in the old armory building and had many work-study students under his guidance. As the museum grew and expanded, his workload did also. Billy totally enjoyed this, and many more additions and other types of museum work came to him. While at PPHM, he was also involved in farm equipment and transportation. Billy had several WTSU work program students who kept in touch through the years, even though he wasn’t the easiest person to work with due to his vast impatience in pursuit of perfection. But his passion for his craft, and dedication to doing a job to the best of his abilities inspired students to have a strong work ethic and strive for excellence in tasks performed. One special student was Garrett Hall, who volunteered at PPHM as a young boy and quickly came to be known as Billy’s “shadow.” They shared a mutual love of antiques. Garrett went to Billy’s home shop many times through the years to work on projects together. Garrett is grown with a family of his own and still kept in touch.
In the 1970’s, Billy was in antique auto restoration and repairs. In the 1980’s, he was also involved in the windmills at the museum. A lot of windmill work came his way through those connections, and he loved that type of work too. Also, he began spending much of his time restoring his own vehicles. Billy also helped friends restore, repair and ‘do over’ vehicles all through the years while doing his own plus extra windmill jobs for others. Billy worked in the museum for 26 years, from October, 1969 until his retirement in August, 1995. Those were very good years.
Billy was involved in numerous car shows and tours and parades, with many awards & trophies. He and Mary Jo did everything together, and made life long and very dear friends through their mutual love of cars. David and Jackie Patterson were among them. David helped start the Panhandle Council of Car Clubs (PCCC) which sponsors Make-A-Wish and encouraged Billy to be involved with that organization for many years. Other special friends were Wilford and Norma Taylor with whom they were in Car Clubs, traveled, restored cars and enjoyed life together.
Billy loved his family unconditionally and was always there to help in times of trouble. He was eager to put his hands to work to make others’ lives better, and there was usually only one way to do it...his way. He was a believer in Jesus, and was welcomed into the arms of the Master Carpenter and restorer.
Billy was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Pauline Reynolds and Mamie Smith; and son-in-law, Ronald Hudson.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Jo Griffin; two daughters, Penny Hudson Perdue and husband Tommy, and Reba Conner and husband Marlin all of Amarillo; three grandchildren, Toby Hudson and wife Jennifer of Amarillo, Sami Solbrig of Huntsville, AL, and Chloe Beaudoin and fiancé, Haddon Martin of Amarillo; and two great-grandchildren, Clayton Hudson and Odetta Solbrig; sister Allene Leathers of Leila Lake; brother Eugene Griffin of Amarillo. Survivors include a host of other family members.
The family suggests memorials may be made to Make-A-Wish and Panhandle Plains Historic Museum.