Billie Jo Orchard, age 95, of Montrose, Colo., passed away Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009 at her home in Montrose. Billie Jo was born Aug. 20, 1914, to Guy and Beatrice Small in Bar Harbor, Maine. Her mother's maiden name was Beatrice Wall. She spent her childhood along the Maine seashore, and grew up with what became a lifelong love for all things Maine, particularly the ocean and the New England way of life. She graduated from Gilman High School in North East Harbor, Maine.
In 1969 she married her beloved husband and love of her life, James Wade Orchard, of San Fernando, Calif. in Carson City, Nev. Billie's husband Wade is one of the true rodeo cowboys and spent many years on the western rodeo circuit in the early days of the Rodeo Cowboys Association. With Wade's success as a calf roper and all around cowboy, they were able to travel all over California and the west. Both Wade and Billie Jo loved horses and everything about the western equestrian and outdoor cowboy life.
Later, they moved to Camp Verde, Ariz. In 1995 they moved to Ridgway, Colo., and later to Montrose. While in Colorado, Wade continued working with horses, and they enjoyed the many friends they made here.
Billie Jo was known and loved by her family and friends for her Yankee vivaciousness and spirit of vitality, and her sense of adventure. She loved horses and animals, especially her giant poodle Princess, who remained at her side through the recent months. Most endearing to her family and friends, and all who knew her, was her sly and acerbic wit with which she loved to surprise the unsuspecting. She had a mischievous and irrepressible sense of humor that brought joy to all who came to know her. She was a lady who carried herself with grace and dignity at all times.
Above all else, Billie Jo was devoted to her husband "Wadeo" as she called him and they were virtually never apart. Friends and family were inspired by the true and lasting love they shared throughout 40 years of marriage.
We know Billie's gone to heaven, but we expect she's raisin' hell there, too.
She is survived by her husband James, of Montrose, daughter, Jean Pat Larkin of Montrose, granddaughter, T.J. Long of Montrose, great-granddaughter, Lacy Bandelin devoted and beloved goddaughter, Melissa Winnaman, of Colona; two additional grandchildren in Las Vegas, Nev., Curt and Shannon; many great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her son Robert, her four brothers and two sisters, and grandson, Robert.
A memorial service to honor and celebrate Billie Jo's life is being planned. For the date of the service please call Melissa at 729-0999, or Lorie at 596-7161. Arrangements are under the direction of Crippin Funeral Home & Crematory, Montrose, Colo.
Information provided by survivors.