Billie Jean Tate passed away on December 28, 2018 in Hydro, OK. Billie Jean, the third daughter of Willard and Louella Tate, was born in June, 1944 in Asheville, NC. As a child, she wanted to become a champion clogger. By the time she graduated from Asheville High School and Mars Hill College in Mars Hill, NC, she felt the Lord’s call to ministry.
Billie Jean graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in 1975 and moved to Allentown, PA to teach at United Wesleyan College. She was the first woman in the college’s history to serve as Director of Admissions. During Summer vacations, Billie Jean would take her family on epic road trips recruiting at Wesleyan youth camps from Delaware to Lake Champlain. She also taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School at Trinity Wesleyan Church in Allentown, PA.
Billie Jean returned to seminary in her mid-40s. She received her Master of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in 1992. While living in Dallas, she was an active member of Highland Park United Methodist Church. Billie Jean became an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church and was admitted in the North Arkansas Conference.
For nearly 20 years, Billie Jean served as the pastor of many different churches in the North Arkansas and Little Rock Conferences. She truly believed there was no greater blessing than preaching the good news of God’s love for all people. Billie Jean retired from ministry in 2006. She moved to El Reno, OK in 2012 and attended Wesley United Methodist Church.
Billie Jean is survived by her sisters, Yvonne Boggs of Lawndale, NC, and Linda Wheeler of Calumet, OK; and her son, Wesley, a graduate of Hendrix College in Conway, AR. She is also survived by her much loved nieces, Teresa Crick and Pam Toho, and their families.