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Billie Janice McLaren Fickel

Obituary for Billie Janice McLaren Fickel

June 25, 1929 - March 11, 2019
Marble Falls, Texas | Age 89


Billie Janice McLaren, age 89, was born in Dallas on June 25, 1929 and passed away March 11, 2019. Billie (known as "BeBe" to her grandchildren and great grandchildren) was the only daughter and first child of Herndon and Lorene McLaren. The family moved to Austin in her early childhood where she attended Fulmore Jr High and Austin High School. Billie graduated at age 16 from Austin High and attended the University of Texas at Austin for one year before marrying J.L. Smith at age 17.

Billie and J.L. had three boys who all grew up in the Austin area. She worked as an administrator for several Austin companies over the years and later at Taylor Bedding in her career. Billie loved being involved in all aspects of her children's activities and served as President of the Manor PTA, and participated in Eastern Star and The Rainbow Girls.

Billie married Albert Fickel on July 4, 1973 and soon urged him to join the Pearl Harbor Survivors organization. They travelled all over the U.S., attending ship reunions and making new friends and seeing a great deal of America. Beginning in 1976, they traveled many times to Hawaii to attend Pearl Harbor Day events and Billie liked to tell the story that when they first started travelling was during the time of double-decker planes and lounges on planes, back when air travel was an exciting adventure on its own.

When Al became too ill to travel, they moved to Belton and were members of the Baptist Church near their home in Morgan's Point. After Albert passed in 2002, Billie moved near her children to watch her grandchildren's activities. Billie spent several years in The Woodlands before moving back to Austin in 2010. She was living with son Gavin Smith in Marble Falls for the past 7 years.

She is remembered fondly as a wonderful mother and grandmother who was supportive without offering advice unless asked! She enjoyed big family get-togethers and supplied endless stories with her remarkable memory. Billie loved watching old movies and liked telling her grandchildren stories, one of which was her dad taking her and friends to the Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin to see Frank Sinatra as a teenager. She was also a big sports fan, attending many UT sports events when she was younger and attending many sports events of her sons and grandchildren. She also loved watching college basketball and Astros baseball games on TV.

Billie is survived by sons James Michael Smith (Bobbye) of Brandon, Mississippi, John Gavin Smith of Marble Falls, and Kirk McLaren Smith (Debra) of Austin; one brother Jimmy McLaren of Austin, 8 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

The family will observe a graveside service at Bellwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Temple on Friday. A celebration of Billie's life will be observed on Saturday.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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