William E. Dickey, Jr., age 92, passed away peacefully on the afternoon of September 21, 2012, in Midwest City, OK.
Bill, or W.E., as he was also known, lived every moment of that long life to the fullest. He was a great representative of the "Greatest Generation". Bill was born in Dover, AR on January 17,1920, to William Ewell and Cora E. (Floyd) Dickey.
Bill grew up in the Eufaula, OK area. Bill started piano studies at age five. The piano became his lifelong passion. Bill graduated from Eufaula High School at age 16, and earned his Bachelor's in Music from Northeastern College in 1940. He continued his music education at the University of Oklahoma, when Pearl Harbor was attacked and he left school to join the military. He served as a Marine Corps Aviator, and flew SBD Dive Bombers. Bill and his squadron served in the Pacific War where he earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses and seven Air Medals.
Bill and his wife Betty were married on August 3, 1945. They settled in Seminole, OK where he owned and managed the Chief Theater. Bill was called back to service during the Korean War, and was stationed in Camp Lejeune, NC. He was deployed to Europe as a close air support instructor. Bill was honorably discharged in 1955. The family moved to Midwest City, where he started a civil service career at Tinker Air Force Base as part of a pioneer team of computer programmers. In the late 1950's, Bill transferred to the Federal Aviation Agency, retiring as a Branch Chief in 1975.
Bill resumed his piano playing at several churches in Midwest City. For years, he played the piano at the Midwest City Furr's Cafeteria. In the early 1990's, Bill and Betty moved to Muskogee, OK. In 2006, Bill and Betty moved to Moore, OK, where Betty passed in 2007. Bill turned his energy to many causes, including diabetes awareness, his music, politics, and his family.
Bill is survived by four children and their spouses, Mike and Mary Dickey; Mary Lou and Tom Lowe; Dr. Thomas Dickey and Michelle Judd; and David and Shelly Dickey. Grandchildren include Brent Campbell and Matthew Dickey; Daniel Lowe and his wife, Lee Anne; Jonathan Dickey and Jared Dickey; and one great-grandchild, Simon Lowe.
A gravesite memorial service for family and friends will be held on Friday, October 12th at 2:00 p.m. at Greenwood Cemetery in Eufaula, OK. Services will be under the direction of Foster-Petering Funeral Home of Muskogee, OK.