Warren Thomas Billeaux
December 1, 1924 - January 18, 2021
Warren Thomas Billeaux, 97, of Scottsdale, Arizona passed away peacefully, January 18, 2021, of natural causes.
Born in Chicago, IL., to Rudolph Francois Billeaux and Mary Claire Kramer, he spent most of his youth in Hobart, IN living with his mother in the home his Grandfather Stoker had built. There he met his lifelong friends, Richard Packham and Tommy Rees. After High School the three of them enrolled in the U.S. Army fighting in the Second World War. Warren served his country in Germany including the Battle of the Bulge where he earned two bronze Stars, an award of Merit, and a Special Division Designation. He was in occupied Germany until 1946. The war left a distinct impact to his personality realizing that every day is a good day when it is above ground. He and his close friends were fortunate and made it home. “Just lucky” he would say, as well as, “it does not matter, don’t worry about it.”
Returning home from Germany, Warren used the GI bill to obtain his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Ultimately, this education took him around the country (with kids in tow) to experience many forms of art; including, ceramics, metal sculpture, painting, weaving, tapestry, forging, lapidary, and other creative disciplines. He also was the architect and designer of his retirement home and art studio on Lake Shafer in Monticello. From 7-foot steel statues to intricate jewelry for his beloved wife, Mary Lou, and his children, he continued to perfect new imaginative art techniques throughout his life. During his 97 years of life and over 70 years as an artist he mastered many art mediums including bronze and aluminum sculptures, family wedding rings, stained glass plus teaching and working in watercolors and perspective.
His art education landed him a position teaching elementary school art in Bedford Park, IL. There he was fortunate in meeting who would be his future wife, Mary Lou, and her children, Linda, Roy, and Patty. Warren’s version of the story was he met Linda and Patty and thought their mother must be as sweet, too so he married her in July, 1955. The new family added two more sons, Tommy and James and the family made 5 children and a dog and cat, and built a loving home with many friends and relatives nearby. Warren continued to teach art in the Homewood Flossmoor IL school district retiring later with Mary Lou, to Monticello, Indiana where he continued with his pursuit of art. After Mary Lou passed away in 2014, his final years were spent in Scottsdale, Arizona with his son James and wife, Maura and granddaughter, Danielle.
Warren loved every morning in Arizona. He could be heard mustering himself up with an “alley-oop”. He kept a regular routine with his art or reading most days, and always enjoyed his breakfast looking out at the view and would exclaim “Good morning, what a beautiful day”. He would then retire to his studio where he worked on watercolors and ceramics constructing very intricate pieces which he inlaid with etchings of surrounding mountains and flora found in the Sonoran Desert landscape and Pinnacle Peak Preserve, firing his latest ceramic creations in his new kiln.
Warren was preceded in death by his parents, a son, Roy Massey, grandson, Jimmy Billeaux, wife, Mary Lou Billeaux and son, Thomas Ross Billeaux. He is survived by his sister Mary (Ed) Hoffman of Indiana, daughter Linda (William) Becker of Michigan, daughter Patricia (Ken) Vanecek of San Antonio and grandsons Timothy and Robert, son James (Maura) Billeaux and granddaughter, Danielle of Scottsdale, grandsons Justin, Ross and Joshua Massey, as well as, seven great grandchildren and numerous nephews and nieces, all who he loved very much.
A Memorial Service has been scheduled for Wednesday July 14, in Rolling Prairie, Indiana at the United Methodist Church, 3444 East U.S. Hwy 20, Rolling Prairie, IN. 11:00 Central Time followed by a luncheon served at the church. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Haverstock Funeral Home in LaPorte.
Online condolences may be made at www.haverstockfuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers the family has requested that memorial contributions can be made to the Midwest Museum of American Art, 421 South Main, Elkhart, Indiana 46516 in memory or honor of Warren Thomas Billeaux.
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