June 6, 1951 – January 5, 2021
Terry Lee Billam, 69, of Olathe, passed away on January 5, 2021, at the Olathe Hospice House, after a long battle with MDS and Leukemia.
Terry was born in Hoisington, Kansas, to John and Anna Lee Billam (Price), and grew up in Osawatomie, Kansas. Terry was a natural athlete who played, loved, and excelled in many sports, including football, tennis, basketball, golf, and baseball. He was a collegiate athlete at KU and Emporia State. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science.
He married the love of his life, Luan Mary Billam (Thomas), in August of 1972. Together they built a happy life for over 48 years. They had two children, Jason and Vincent, and raised their family in Olathe, Kansas. Terry was a successful man who enjoyed working in the auto industry until he retired. Terry was committed to family and to tradition. He loved his kids and grandchildren with a such enthusiasm that, it was clear to all, he was totally committed to their happiness and well-being. He was impactful on everyone he met, especially children.
Terry never met a stranger. He befriended anyone that would lend him an ear. He was a coach, mentor and friend to his in-laws, his boys, his grandchildren, and many people that he encountered and spent time with. Terry’s natural confidence encouraged his friends and family in anything they chose to do, encouraging them to always put in the work in order to be their very best. You could find him in the stands at his grandchildren’s sporting games and activities. They always knew that their biggest fan was there to loudly cheer them on.
Terry enjoyed hunting. He planned all year for pheasant hunts with his family. Terry was a great storyteller, and these trips are some of the families’ best memories. Terry knew when to not let the facts get in the way of a good story. The stories he told on, and about, these trips were epic. We will treasure them forever. Those who were a part of the story often found themselves in an unrecognizable adventure, that truly kept everyone entertained. Terry was our gentle giant who was fun and adventurous.
Terry often recounted his and his father’s stories of working for The Missouri Pacific Railroad. Terry himself worked for the railroad through high school and college with his brother Tom. Terry loved trains. At Christmas time, he enjoyed setting up a train to bring gifts from around the back of the Christmas tree to his grandchildren each on their own customized flatbed car. He was a man like no other, and there was no doubt he would have your back and make you feel protected and loved. We will miss him dearly.
Terry is survived by his wife of 48 years, Luan; his sons, Jason (Jennifer) and their daughters Anna and Caroline; and Vincent (Mikaela); and their sons, Bennett and Connor. Terry is also survived by his mother, Anna Lee Billam; brother Tom (Maureen); his sister, Tammy (Bill) Roseberry; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, John Billam.
Terry fought the terrible disease of MDS, even to the point of having a bone marrow transplant. Ultimately, it was the one obstacle he could not overcome despite amazing doctors, his devoted wife and family who became his caretakers in the last months of his life. Please join us in the fight against MDF by registering to become a bone marrow donor at www.bethematch.org or make a donation to the University of Kansas Blood & Marrow Transplant Unit, in Terry’s name.
Services are Monday, January 11, 2021, at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, 16000 W. 143rd Street, Olathe, KS 66062. Visitation is at 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. with a Memorial Service at Noon. Burial to follow at Pleasant Valley Cemetery.