Billie Irene Parker Lee
Billie Irene Parker Lee, 93, passed away Oct. 4 at her home in Waynesville, N.C.
Born at home in the Nixonville section of Conway on Oct. 16, 1927, she was the daughter of the late Annie Mae (Barkley) and John Walter Parker. She was the third of five siblings and grew up working in her father’s tobacco fields and gas stations and amongst her many close-knit relatives in the Tilley Swamp community.
She graduated from Conway High School in 1943 at the age of 16 and moved to Brunswick, Ga., to work for J.A. Jones Construction Company, builder of WWII Liberty ships.
She was one of few women working in the cargo ship Ventilation Department in support of the war effort. She was also an All-Star 1st baseman for their softball team.
After the war she moved back to Conway, married and raised her son, then returned to work as the admissions officer at Conway Hospital. She was an active member of Tilley Swamp Baptist Church, then Jamestown Baptist Church, for many years before moving to the beach. There, she passionately delved into drawing house plans and helping build and landscape homes with her husband in Surfside Beach, Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet.
After his death, she moved to their vacation hometown of Waynesville, N.C., to be near her son.
Billie, known as ‘Nana’ or ‘Aunt B’, was above all a fiercely loving, kind and loyal family woman. Her rare ability to show pure unconditional love and see only the best in those around her made us all feel exceptional. Her small immediate family, her extended family and her ‘honorary’ family members were all equally special to her. Her home was our safe haven, and in her presence our spirits were lifted and our pain eased. We will miss her famous spaghetti dinners, lessons in our genealogy and losing every last Scrabble game to her sharp mind.
Billie is survived by her son, Andrew Wendell Lee and his wife Allison of Waynesville, N.C.; her granddaughter, Tracy Lee Zogby and her husband Kamil of the home in Waynesville; and her brother, Jerry Wayne Parker of Costa Mesa, Calif.; plus her many loving nieces and nephews, great- and great-great-nieces and nephews, her stepgrandson and their families.
In addition to her parents, Billie was predeceased by her husband of 60 years, French Wendell Lee; her siblings, Jack Anderson Parker, Marjorie Ann Rogers and John Walter Parker Jr.; her daughter-in-law, Mary Ella Lee, plus her siblings’ spouses, several special nieces, nephews and cousins, and her best friend.
A private burial will take place in Conway. The family thanks Karen Caldwell for her years of friendship and help with Billie’s care, in addition to Carmen, Morgan, Taressa and Desiree for additional care in her last months. Memorial donations may be made online to Four Seasons Palliative & Hospice Care at https://fourseasons.teleioscn.org/