God called Billy James Prescott, 88, home on January 16, 2022. Billy (NOT William) was home with his loved ones at his side. Born at home in Pike County, MS, on May 9, 1933, Billy was the last surviving offspring of the two daughters and nine sons of Carrie Howell and James Matthew Prescott.
"Silly Billy," as he was known affectionately, lived a long, good life. Growing up in Fernwood, MS, he learned the meaning of hard work. As a young boy, his job was to bring water from the well every day. In 11th grade, he went to work at the A & P Grocery Store, where he got to wear a black clip-on bow tie and earned the money to buy a car. The hard worker earned the honor of valedictorian of his graduating class at Fernwood High School. After graduation, the young man moved to Baton Rouge where he attended LSU (geaux Tigers).
On a blind date met his first wife of 35 years, Shirley Newman, who predeceased him in 1989. After Billy and Shirley married in 1954, he was drafted into the Army in the peacetime draft. The young service member served honorably as a codebreaker stationed in Fountainbleau, France, near Paris. Perhaps work as a codebreaker fostered his long-term love of crossword puzzles. After 21 months, Billy received an honorable discharge as a Specialist Third Class.
Once at home again with Shirley, Billy went to work at Dow Chemical in Plaquemines, LA, in September 1956. As a new hire, he helped build the chemical plant. Then, he worked in the caustic plant. He retired from Dow after 30 years as a supervisor.
Billy's love of the Lord guided his life. He was ordained as a deacon in 1971 at Glen Oaks Baptist Church. The new deacon viewed this position as a great honor and strove to serve as the role model befitting this honor. He succeeded.
Billy developed a variety of interests over his long, good life. After he went to work at Dow, he started playing golf with his colleagues, and even made a hole-in-one at a Dow golf tournament one year. He also developed an interest in boating. After taking a boating safety course, the aspiring lake-farer bought a ski boat. Frequently in the summer, the growing family spent time at False River, water skiing, swimming, and enjoying the freedom the boat provided. Soon, the family started taking yearly summer vacations at Butler's Lodge on Lake Bruin. One evening, Billy was relaxing in the lake after supper. He put his mouth near the water and said, "Ribbit, ribbit." Another vacationer marveled at the frog nearby, so Billy continued with his ribbitting. This amusing incident turned into a life-long love of all things frog, and he leaves quite a collection of frogs in various forms.
As the kids got older, Billy decided to buy a camp, Prescott Place, on False River. The family has many happy memories of Grillmaster Billy barbecuing chicken in his barrel drum grill.
At one point in his life, Billy developed long and loyal love of baseball. At first, he followed the Chicago Cubs because he could get them on cable television.
However, he became a devoted fan of LSU baseball, eventually getting season tickets and following the Tigers to their away games.
In 1990, Billy married Jean Lang Lafferty. She predeceased him in 1996.
He married Opal Porter Dake in 1999. Together, they made the sun run.
They became quite famous for doing the chicken dance during the 7th Inning Stretch at LSU baseball games. Of course, they traveled to Omaha a few times to see the Tigers play in the College World Series.
As part of service to the Lord, Billy and Opal volunteered at Ridgecrest Conference Center in Black Mountain, NC. For several years, they spent the month of October helping out and enjoying leaf season. Billy and his bass voice became famous among the others at Ridgecrest for his renditions of “The Horse Put His Foot on the Ground” and “Froggy Went a Courtin’,” among other songs. After they decided to stop volunteering at Ridgecrest, the two began volunteering at the Baton Rouge General Hospital and Woman’s Hospital.
Billy and Opal did not let any grass grow under their feet, they put water under their feet, taking a variety of ocean cruises, starting with their honeymoon. In addition, the love birds took road trips all over the United States.
In an oral history completed on his 80th birthday, Billy reminded his children of the advice he always gave them, to live a good life and respect others. Bringing this legacy forward are his daughters, Donna Denise Prescott (Richard Seegal), Jamie Ann Branch (Mark), and Kara Elizabeth Langford (Heath); and his son, Allen Keith Prescott. Billy is also survived by Opal’s daughters, Charlotte Young (Todd), Kathy Bagents (John), and Donna Dupre (Paul); grandchildren, Laura Morris (Jim Miller), Brian Branch, Sr. (Cara), Beth Ann Lynch, Rachel Langford, Parker Langford, Brian Medlin, Brett Medlin (Sithn), Corey Bagents, and Jordan Bagnets; and great-grandchildren, Charley Miller, Lillie Lynch, Brian Branch, Jr., Michael Miller, Bennett Branch, and Ava Creel.
Visitation will take place at Resthaven Funeral Home on Thursday, January 20, 2022 beginning at 12:00 PM until Funeral Services at 2:00 PM. Burial to follow at Resthaven Gardens of Memory.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Parkview Baptist Church Building Fund.
Family and friends may sign the online guestbook or leave a personal note for the family at www.resthavenbatonrouge.com.