Billie Jim Sikes Tabor, 91, passed from this life, Thursday, December 19, 2013, at Good Samaritan Center in Liberal. She was born October 2, 1922, in Rowden, Texas, to Norbon Palmer and Emma Antha Gibbs Sikes. Billie married Leon Tabor April, 13, 1945, in Roswell, New Mexico. He survives.
The family moved from Texas to Portales, New Mexico, in 1938, and Billie graduated from high school there and then attended Eastern New Mexico University where she met her husband, Leon. Leon’s education was interrupted by serving in the United Army Air Force.
Billie began her 50-year teaching career at a rural school near Portales. After her marriage to Leon, she taught in Lubbock while he attended Texas Tech. After his graduation, the two of them taught in Sunset, Oklahoma, Darrouzett, and Follett, Texas. In 1968, they moved with their children to Liberal where Billie continued teaching music and elementary grades. At one time, she remarked that four-part harmony was her favorite thing to teach. She loved her students.
In addition to her love of teaching, Billie enjoyed cooking, and she loved to play the piano. She was a gifted pianist - beginning as a very small girl of three or four - she could play tunes after only hearing them one time. At ENMU, she was trained as a classical pianist and played the cello in the school orchestra.
Billie was a member of Western Avenue Church of Christ in Liberal, Retired Teachers’ Association, American Association of University Women, and Christian College Women’s Association. Billie was known for her unwavering sweetness and kindness.
Immediate survivors along with her husband include son Gary Tabor and wife Donna, Olympia, WA; daughter, Janie Rine and husband David, Liberal; son Jay Tabor and wife Susan, Dallas, Texas, son-in-law Jerald Harris, Follett, TX. Daughter Linda Tabor Harris died in 2008. Billie leaves 11 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.
Brothers Bob, Barry, and Don Sikes and sister Kathryn Cox also survive. Adding to the loss of Linda, Billie was preceded in death by her parents, four sisters, three brothers, and one great grandchild.
Visitation for Billie Tabor will be Thursday, December 26, from 12 noon to 8 pm at Miller Mortuary. The family will be present from 5 to 6 pm.
Funeral services will be 10:00am Friday, December 27, at the Western Avenue Church of Christ followed by interment at Restlawn Memorial Gardens.
The family suggests memorials to New Mexico Christian Children’s Home in care of Miller Mortuary.