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Billie Jean Whitaker Colburn, 93, Orange


Last updated 1/19/2021 at 7:29pm

Billie Jean Whitaker Colburn, 93, of Orange, passed away peacefully on January 17, 2021.


Due to COVID restrictions, a private family celebration of life will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Orange. Public viewing of the service will be available Monday, January 25, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. online through Claybar Funeral Home's Facebook page or at


Billie Jean Whitaker, the daughter of Paul and Pauline Simmons Whitaker, was born July 3, 1927, in Nacogdoches, Texas. During her high school years, her father left his barber shop business and moved his family to Orange for work in the shipyards to support America's wartime efforts. Following graduation, Billie worked for the City as a recreation director organizing entertainment and activities for the locals and troops who were stationed in Orange. It was there that she fell in love with the card game, Bridge. That love enabled her to become an excellent Bridge player, playing with numerous Bridge clubs for the rest of her life until health concerns and the pandemic became realities.


However, the greatest opportunity her job provided was for Billie to meet Richard "Dick" Edward Colburn, the love of her life, and she was the love of his. (And that was the end of the job.) They married and raised three children, Dickie, Jeep, and Pauline. Billie was the consummate homemaker, cleaning, cooking, managing the home, family life, and caring for her children, all while being beautifully groomed and dressed. She and her husband taught and modeled Christian principles and values for their children. They held themselves and their children accountable for following them. 


Billie was always a school Room Mother and chaperone for field trips. She served as PTA President and in other leadership positions, and received the "Lifetime PTA Membership Award."  She was the Cub Scout and Boy Scout Den Mother, the leader for the Bluebirds and Campfire Girls, and a Volunteer Red Cross Swimming Instructor for 20+ years. 


As an active member of First Presbyterian Church for 74 years with a near perfect attendance, Billie served many years as a Sunday School and a Vacation Bible School teacher, Women of the Church Circle Leader, chairperson of numerous church committees, as a Deacon and as an Elder. She was also the recipient of the "Life Membership Award," presented by the Women of the Church organization. Her unwavering faith in God was her strength, and she invested it in others. She loved unconditionally, prayed continuously, studied her Bible daily, and served joyfully.


Billie became a widow at only 48 years of age; however, she carried on with life and continued to learn, grow in her faith, and to encourage and serve others. Her passionate love for God and her family was extended to all who were open to receive it. It was inclusive rather than exclusive. With her steadfast belief that love is reflected in our actions, she showed respect for and genuine interest in all who crossed her path. Billie made every attempt to be present at the events, special occasions, games, and presentations of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to enjoy them and to show her love and support for them. Every moment was special and to be treasured, especially family time, which she loved. 


Billie was deeply loved, adored, respected, and greatly appreciated by her family and all who knew her.  She left a powerful legacy through the life she lived and modeled for all. She will be greatly missed, but we will continue to honor her by following the example she set to make the most of our lives and rejoice in our Lord always!  


She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard "Dick" Edward Colburn, Sr .; sister, Colleen Kessler; and her parents, Paul and Pauline Whitaker.


She is survived by her three children, Dickie Colburn and wife Karen, Jeep Colburn and wife Carolyn, and Pauline Colburn Hargrove and husband Ricky, all of Orange; six grandchildren, J.J. Colburn and husband Vic Canales, Rafe Colburn and wife Patricia, April King and husband Trey, Kelly Beall and husband Gary, Jeannie Alexander and husband Bruce, and Terri Hoyland and husband Darren; and 11 great-grandchildren, Kyle Dischler and fiancé David Acosta, Kenedie (King) Beadle and husband Marty, Connor Alexander, Andrew Hoyland, Zachary Dischler, Jordan Alexander, Whitley Hoyland, Ricki King, Hunter Beall, Presley Alexander, and Cameron Dischler.


The family extends their sincere appreciation to caregivers Reina Atkinson, Maureen Bates, and the staff of Kindred Hospice.



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