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Billie Gene Leigh


Billie Gene Leigh, 88, of Girard, died at 4:30 p.m., Friday, November 17, 2023, at his residence.

Gene was born January 28, 1935, in Girard, a son of Jack and Onota (Larmer) Leigh. He grew up in Girard and graduated from Girard High School in 1953. Gene received a master’s degree in physical education and mathematics from Kansas State Teachers College, now PSU, in Pittsburg.
Gene served in the U.S. Navy towards the end of the Korean Conflict in 1953. He was a radioman, 3rd class petty officer serving on PT boats, navy ships, and aviation boats, the armaments replaced with antennas to find the enemy and jam their radio signals. Gene enjoyed serving in the Navy until 1957 when President Richard Nixon signed orders for a price freeze on wages.

Gene married Patsy Lee Schulte on April 4, 1958, in the United Methodist Church in Girard. They celebrated 65 years of marriage.

Gene was a math teacher and coach at Southeast High School in Cherokee before serving in the same capacity in Erie for 3 years. He continued teaching and coaching in Scott City, Kansas for 9 years before returning to Girard in 1974 and replacing his father-in-law, W. H. Schulte, as a State Farm Insurance agent. Gene was a member of the President’s Club and the Millionaire’s Club at State Farm, and he was the number one agent in health policies out of the 18,000 agents. He retired on August 31, 2009.

Gene was a member of the United Methodist Church in Girard and through the years he held several offices in the church. He was a past president of the Girard Optimist Club, the Lions Club, the Library board, and the Girard Medical Center Auxiliary board where he and Mitzi Beezley, Carolyn Michael, Betty Lehman, and Deloris Lentz started the annual golf tournament. He was a member of the Girard Masonic Lodge, the Consistory at Fort Scott, the Mirza Temple in Pittsburg, the George C. Brown Post No. 26, American Legion of Girard, and a lifetime member of the Brown-Bishop Post No. 704, Veterans of Foreign Wars of Parsons. He was a member of the KNEA and the NEA and a past president of the PSU Girard Alumni Association which at one time was the No. 1 club in the state.

Gene and Patsy enjoyed the State Farm Insurance trips to many places including France, Hawaii, Mexico, and Germany and the Saturday morning coffee group for over 30 years.

Gene would like to thank the Girard Medical Center, Dr. Lisa Salvador, Dr. Nassim Nabbout, and Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice.

Gene’s family consists of his wife, Patsy Leigh, of the home; his sons, Jeffrey Leigh of Kansas City and Jay S. Leigh of Farlington; his daughter, Janet Ann Leigh of Ottawa; his brothers, Jack Leigh, and his wife, Opal, of Yokum, Texas, and Don Leigh on Orlando, Florida; his sister, Kay Ann Leigh Huning of Houston, Texas; his nieces and nephews, Richard Leigh of California, Teresa Huning of Yokum, Texas, Karen Sue Leigh of Yokum, Texas, Jackie Craig Leigh of Idaho, Tim Leigh of Korea, John Leigh, and his wife, Marlana, of Girard, Marcel Ketcher of Pittsburg, Tom Leigh of Girard, Steven Huning of Houston, Texas, Angela Woirol of Orange Beach, Florida, and Ross Huning of Florida.

Gene was preceded in death by his parents, Jack Leigh, in 1989, and Onota Leigh, in 1995; his brothers, Richard “Dick” Leigh, in 1955, and Theodore “Ted” Leigh, in 2016; his in-laws, W.H. Schulte, in 1975, and May Schulte, in 2005.

Memorial services will be at 11:00 a.m., Friday, December 1, 2023, at the Girard Cemetery with Pastor Ed Friesen officiating.