Joseph Michael Billiou, Jr., of Hamilton City, Calif., passed away on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, at the age of 89. Joe was born in Chico, Calif. on Dec. 16, 1922 to Joseph Sr. and Frances W. Billiou, and was raised on the family ranch in Glenn County, along with his sisters, Mary Elizabeth "Betty" (Miles d. 2012), Georgia (Twede d. 1991) and Theresa (McGowan). Joe attended Notre Dame parochial school in Chico and Hamilton City High School, where he ran track. He briefly attended Santa Clara before enlisting in the US Air Force.
During wartime, Joe proudly served his country as a B-17 pilot in the 379th Bomb Group based in England. After the war, Joe completed his business degree at UC Berkeley and then returned home to Hamilton City to begin his farming career. On June 30, 1951, Joe married Anne Rose Spencer, who entered into rest on September 20, 2012. During their married life they resided in the family ranch house and raised three children. During his career as a well-respected and progressive farmer, Joe was among the first to bring orchard crops to the area. Joe was an avid fly fisherman and loved traveling around the continent in pioneer fashion with Anne and many friends. In addition, Joe maintained life long relationships with his fraternity brothers and enjoyed their get-togethers each year.
Joe was a devout Catholic, who served on the church council, was a school board member for the Hamilton Union School District for many years, and served as a member of the Sunsweet Board of Directors.
Joe is survived by three children: Joseph Michael III (Kerry), Sally Marie (Billiou) Fleischmann (Robert), and Jane Anne (Billiou) Armour (Gerald); two grandchildren, Jordan Billiou Fleischmann and Victoria Rose Fleischmann; four stepgrandsons, Henry Fleischmann, Morgan Fleischmann, Joshua Fleischmann and Garrison Armour, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Catholic Rosary will be held on Wednesday evening, Oct. 24, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at Brusie Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. John's Catholic Church on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. followed by a Committal Service at Chico Cemetery.
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.brusiefh.com.
Published in Willows Journal from October 24 to October 30, 2012