Funeral services for Billy E. Schultz, 81, a resident of Greenville since 1966 will be at 2:00 p.m., Friday, December 8 at Swiftwater Baptist Church. He passed away on Tuesday, December 5, 2017, at his home in the presence of his family. Burial will be in the Greenville City Cemetery under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville.
Preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, and a sister, Schultz is survived by his wife of 62 years, Lillian Ferguson Schultz, two daughters, Melissa Willis (Spence) of Branson, Missouri, and Leslie Nichols (Matt) of Greenville. He was a loving grandfather to 5 grandchildren, Justin Willis (Aleisha), Hunter Willis, Ridgeland Willis, Chaz Nichols (Kristen), and FaithEllen Nichols, and 4 great-grandchildren, Katie, Lillie, Colleen, and Jasper. He had recently celebrated his 81st birthday on November 24, 2017.
Schultz was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on November 24, 1936, where he grew up in the small community of Sulphur Springs. He played basketball, loved fast cars, and began working at an early age. He graduated from Watson Chapel High School in 1954 and a year later married his high school classmate, Lillian Ferguson. His children loved the fact that upon a return visit to their parents’ high school, it was discovered that their names were etched into the concrete of the sidewalk for the class of 1954. Their names were found side by side, and yet during high school, they had little to do with each other. Undoubtedly God had a plan for the two of them. They married a little over a year after graduation, and they celebrated their 62nd anniversary on October 16, 2017.
Schultz worked for Kroger as a produce manager before embarking on the journey of business ownership and self-employment. In 1962, he and a friend decided they would drill water wells for the Pine Bluff area. This soon turned into a business owned by Schultz alone, and he and Lillian moved to the Mississippi Delta to improve their chances of a successful business. Schultz has been a licensed Water Well Contractor for Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee. He spent several years working for Phillips Petroleum in the coal mining exploration industry before focusing his attention on the irrigation needs of the Mississippi Delta farmers. His loyalty to his customers, his work ethic and honesty earned him the respect of the community and led to a successful business continuing today.
Schultz took his well drilling overseas when he became involved in mission work in Honduras, Central America. For more than 25 years, Schultz traveled to the small country where he drilled water wells for communities where there was no fresh water supply. Though the need for water took him to Honduras, it was his love for Jesus that led him to continue his work there for so long. He helped to bring the people of Honduras water, but it was the everlasting salvation from Jesus that he shared with his Honduran friends. He would take many members of his family and community with him on trip after trip as he worked throughout the country at his own expense. He donated rigs and shipped them overseas to be used in mission work throughout the country. He never asked for recognition or even a pat on the back. He continuously gave God the credit for all things accomplished.
At home Schultz became an active part of the Washington County community. He served in his church as deacon for more than 50 years, Sunday School director, Sunday School teacher, and mentor to young adults. He served on the School Board at Greenville Christian School and was president of the GCS Booster Club. He was a certified arson investigator, the Washington County Fire Marshall for approximately 15 years, and a member of the Masonic Lodge. Schultz served on the Delta Regional Medical Center Board of Directors from 2002-2017 and was Chairman of the Board for 11 years. His dedication to the citizens of Washington County was evident in every aspect of his involvement, and the improvement of life for all was his focus and goal. Schultz cared deeply for others and touched lives everywhere he went. His generosity was known to many, and his courage to stand for what he believed was respected by those who knew him well.
Schultz also served as Chief of the Riverside Fire District for more than 25 years. His hard work and dedication was the motivation for young men and women throughout the region to become involved in a community volunteer service protecting the homes, businesses, and lives of citizens who live there. His pride in the men and women who volunteer their time to this fire department caused them to become more like family. He encouraged their loyalty, required their training, and supported them throughout his time there. The quality fire department it has become is a result of his beliefs in teamwork and loyalty to each other. The newest fire station was dedicated to his honor by the Washington County Board of Supervisors and named the Billy E. Schultz Station. His humble reaction to this honor was a reminder of his desire to serve without credit. He continuously reminded others that it was the firemen who deserved the credit, and that he merely supported them and worked to provide them with the equipment and materials they needed to succeed. Schultz remained “Chief”, as the firemen referred to him, until his death on December 5th.
In Lieu of flowers, his family requests donations be made to Swiftwater Baptist Church, Riverside Fire District, Gideons International, or Delta Regional Medical Center. The family would like to express their gratitude to the doctors and nurses at Delta Regional Medical Center for their years of care and concern. Special thanks go to Dr. Parvez Karim, Dr. Michael Mansour, and Dr. Nouhad Kronfol who took care of him in his final days. Billy Schultz was a man of honor who loved his God, his family, his friends, and his community. He will be missed by so many and will be loved forever.