Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Billie Cantrell

Born: 06/01/1929 Died: 11/05/2011 Maiden Name: Petigrew Honorific: n/a

Billie Sue Cantrell passed away on Nov. 5, 2011. She was born in dust bowl Oklahoma at the beginning of the Great Depression on June 1, 1929, in Atoka. During her time she laughed, danced and shared the best part of her life with Roy Cantrell, her husband of 38 years. She was the second born to Dewey and Hagar Petigrew. Her older sister Anna Lou died at the age of six when Billie was just four. In her early teens, she and her family left on a Greyhound bus for Globe, Ariz., where her father found work at the Inspiration Copper Mine. There she attended Miami High School, quickly winning friends and earning the nickname “Blondie.” She eventually found her way to Tucson and decided to call it home. Along her way she picked cotton in the fields, worked on an assembly line for General Electric and staffed the jewelry counter at Hayden’s Jewelry Store. Later, with her husband Roy, she helped run B&R RV Repair in Tucson for over 12 years. She and Roy were both members of Good Sam’s and enjoyed traveling in their motor home and making good friends along the way. He lived under 14 different presidents in her lifetime. She didn’t see a television set until 25 year after she was born, yet would rather have an iPod loaded with her favorite country music. Billie loved to dance. Her children even remember her dancing with the refrigerator door when inspiration struck. She also loved to watch cooking shows, especially Rachel Ray and Paula Dean. Billie was proud of her Choctaw heritage and told the story of how her great-grandmother Emaline Betts walked the trail of tears from Mississippi to Oklahoma. She always had a positive outlook and saw the silver lining in everything she faced. She saw the bet in others by default. Billie encouraged individuality in her children and grandchildren. She had a kind word for everyone and an infectious personality that endeared her to all those who came into her life. She especially enjoyed spending time with her family and doting on her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Christmas mornings at grandma’s house were a tradition the whole family looked forward to each year. Billie was a living example of faith and positive thinking. The impression she made on the hearts of those dear to her will not be forgotten. Endowed with a fighting spirit, she willed herself to beat cancer two separate times over 27 years. She was ot able to overcome the third, but put up a commendable fight. She is fondly remembered by her husband, Roy D. Cantrell; children, Bert (Patricia) Harmon of Lincoln, Calif, Marilyn (Michael) Fabian of Tucson, Pamela (Mark) Kern of Tucson, Roy Cantrell Jr. of Clayton, Susan (Dennis) Hollingsworth of Antlers; her brothers, Dewey Edward (Anne) Pettigrew and Ellis Dwayne (Maribeth) Pettigrew, all of Orem, Utah; seven nieces and nephews; 14 grandchildren; and 23 great-grandchildren.