On June 17, 1930, Billye was the only child born to the parentage of the late K. Z. and Willie B. Carter Reed. After the divorce of her parents, she was raised in Hillsboro, Texas, by her paternal grandparents, the late Lee and Ora Baker Reed.
Billye graduated Valedictorian from Peabody High School in Hillsboro, Texas. After attending Paul Quinn College where she studied music, Billye started the first Kindergarten for black students in the community. She taught piano and served as choir director and musician for the church. Billye accepted Christ at an early age, was baptized, and served under the pastoral care of Reverend Covington at Little Zion Baptist Church, Hillsboro, Texas. She continued spiritual development upon joining Wade Chapel AME Church under the pastoral care of Reverend Norman Baker. Billye was a servant leader in the church throughout her lifetime.
Her standard of excellence for the community was exemplified in every aspect of her life. Billye’s legacy is that she loved the community of Hillsboro and gave leadership to many activities, including job fairs, food and clothing give-a-ways, holiday dinners, programs, and the New Beginning for Peabody organization. It was her desire that through this organization the achievement of previous and current residents of the Hillsboro community would be preserved. She negotiated with the City of Hillsboro to get land sites of the former Peabody School donated to the community so that history would be maintained, recognized, and commemorate the achievements of Hillsboro. She worked diligently to bring an annual community parade and celebration on the second weekend of July, known as the Hillsboro Homecoming. She worked with Cause, Inc. and as a director/social worker, serving several surrounding communities. She was kind to anyone who knocked on her door and welcomed people into her kitchen to have a seat at her table. Mrs. Demerson received numerous awards and recognition for her community service.
Billye married the love of her life, Earnest Demerson on September 7, 1947. To their union twelve children were born: Demetra Robertson, Denise Wiggins, Ora Ausborne (Larry), Diana Williams, Earnest (Linda), Debra, Michael, Deidra Simmons (Billy), David, Dawn Wright (Roger), and William Washington (Yolanda). Adopted daughters: Carolyn Demerson, LaTonya Bush and Katherine Kennedy. Adopted sons: Oliver Garrett, Richard Lucas, Ronald Green, and Tim Scott.
Special family friends: Ollie “Pisue” Rigsby, Lemuel Price, Blaine (Ann) Price, and Alma Hill (deceased). Family cheering squad: Carolyn Vaughn and Versie Johnson. Edna, Ricky, Justin and Linda Rodriguez. She was preceded in death by her sons, Donald Earl, Gary Lee, and her beloved husband, Earnest.
Billye is survived by her sisters-in-law, Betty Demerson and Eloise Houston, and her brother-in-law, Perry Demerson, all of Fort Worth, Texas. She was affectionately known as Mother, Mamma, Nanny, Ms. Billye, Mama D, Billye Jo, and Ms. D. by family and friends. She was a wonderful mother, wife, friend, and confidant to many and will be remembered for the love and laughter she shared. In addition to those listed above, she is survived and remembered by 32 grandchildren, 63 great-grandchildren, 18 great-great-grandchildren, and a host of other relatives and friends.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Billye Demerson, please visit our floral store.