R.E., as he was called, was born at the turn of the twentieth century in rural west Kentucky. He was from a strict farm family and was one of five children. Don’t know much about his early years, but he is definitely a “character” that should be remembered. He was a true outdoors man. He eloped with a pretty girl at the age of nineteen and thus began a family of eight children, six girls and one boy, number eight, a boy, was born years later in Florida. The depression years were difficult and he ended up taking his family of seven to Florida. He knew everything about farming, husbandry , fishing and hunting. He was a truly outgoing person to strangers, but beware he had a “mean streak”, like a junkyard dog, and wanted fight a any provocation. He tried to provide for his family, but he had trouble with his temper and was, at times, very mean to his children and wife, Edna.
However, he could grow anything was good raising livestock, providing beef, pork and poultry for the family. He loved hunting and fishing. There were many times that he was out fishing the lakes, rivers and Gulf of Mexico off the Florida Coast. He provided lots of fresh fish for his family. His life was full of stories and lots of unique experiences. Like the time he lassoed a wildcat on the base of a bridge pylon and brought it home live. Then, there was another time that his big cattle dog chase a squirrel up a big oak tree and ended on on a very large limb about twenty feet off the ground. If the dog were to fall out of the tree, it would have killed his dog,”Buck”. The huge tree was at the entrance to the ranch where he worked and was on the bank of the Kissimmee River. Fearing for his dog’s life he retrieved a very tall ladder from the barn and went to rescue his dog. However, the dog was too big to bring down the ladder alone. So, there Roy sitting up in the tree with his dog. Lo and behold, soon some fishermen were passing by in the river in their boat. There to their amazement was an ole man sitting up in a tree with his dog on a limb. They were rescued!
As you can see, R. E. should be remembered for the many stories and adventures he experienced. He had good qualities and also, lots of bad qualities. How human! In his way he tried, but sometimes he failed showing his love. He left this world in 1961. I was child number eight and he was my father and “Grampa” to many grandchildren. Remembering Roy E. Billington. Daddy and Grampa…….