Charles Phillip “Bill” Estes was born Dec. 22, 1914, at Dunning, to Elmer Ralph and Loretta Verona (Rice) Estes. He moved to the Lillian community in 1921, where he spent the majority of his 97 years.
He was baptized Feb. 20, 1929, and was a lifetime member of the Lillian Church of Christ. Bill attended elementary school at Lillian, and high school at Gates, graduating as Valedictorian of his class in 1933. He excelled in track, basketball, and softball and earned several gold medals at the Custer County track meet.
“Bill” Estes was active and involved in many activities in his lifetime: church deacon, church building committees, Natural Resources District director (1970s), 4-H leader, and Lillian Phone Company board. He served as a chairman and in other capacities of Dist. 222 school board from 1945 until it was consolidated with the Merna school district, at which time he served on their finance committee.
He was honored to receive the Merna Coyotes “Life Time Booster Award”. In 1973, he received the NRD conservation award. Bill was a fixture in local parades, riding one of his special horses, often with grandkids and great grandkids. In 1963, he won the tractor driving contest at the county fair.
He chose agriculture as his vocation at an early age and worked for various area farmers including Margie’s dad. His first date with her was the last day of school picnic in 1930. June 17, 1937 Bill married his high school sweetheart Margie Luella Wells and enjoyed 68 years together. Bill and Margie spent the first 54 days of their life together in Utah where they both picked cherries, green beans, apples, potatoes, topping beets and doing general farm work.
While in Utah they saved and sent money home to Margie’s dad to buy cows to start their first cow herd. Bill and Margie returned from Utah and began farming near Sargent on the Lovejoy place before moving to the present farm in 1941. His herd developed as Bill carefully selected breeding stock, and in 1954 he had the grand champion Angus bull at the fair. Bill’s Angus herd grew and became well respected in the area. Bill loved his horses and was still riding at 91 years.
Bill was preceded in death by his beloved wife Margie, his parents, two brothers and his sister.
He is survived by his children Donna (Allen) Holcomb of Strasburg, Colo., Judy (Johnie) Sikes of Anselmo, and Larry (Karla) Estes on the family farm near Anselmo. Grand-children include: Julie (Brent) Barrett; Kennewick, Wash.; Joel (Jackie) Holcomb, Georgetown, Texas; J.B. (Renee) Sikes, Burwell; Jeremy (DeEtta) Sikes, Arp, Texas; Joshua (Kassie) Sikes, Grand Island; Derek (Courtney) Sanford, Kearney: Tara (Kent) Russell, Broken Bow; Holly (Darrick) Bumgarner, Merna; Billy Estes, Bayard; and Kalli (Mason) Nelms, Imperial; 21 great-grandchildren and many loving nieces and nephews.
Published in Custer County Chief, Sept. 13, 2012