Billy Ray Vehslage 2 - sq

Billy Ray “Bill” Vehslage

September 10, 1937 - July 15, 2021

Billy Ray “Bill” Vehslage of Leonard Texas passed away on Thursday, July 15th at the age of 83 following an accident on the family land. While tragic and shocking, we are comforted with God’s grace in taking him while he was doing what he loved the most. Working on his land.

Bill was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, on his family’s farm on September 10th 1937, to father Walter Vehslage and Helen Vehslage. The family moved to Belton, Texas when Bill was 8 years old and later to Childress Texas. At Childress High School, Bill was an All Star football player where he played offensive and defensive tackle. He was selected to play in the annual East West Greenbelt Bowl featuring the best players in west Texas. In 1955, Bill attended Rice University on a football scholarship. There he played two seasons but injured his shoulder and transferred to Texas Tech to complete his degree. At Tech, Bill was an active member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity where he made lifelong friends. It was also at Tech that he met his beloved wife of 61 years Martha Sue “Marty”.

Upon his graduation from Texas Tech, Bill and Marty moved to Arcadia California where Bill had his own Tom’s Candy distributorship. There they had their daughter Shelly and son Scott. In 1966, Bill and Marty moved back to Richardson, Texas where he started a Utility Contracting business. For over 30 years, the Bill Vehslage Construction Company removed the old telephone Toll lines that spanned over many miles of this great State.

Bill was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Leonard where he cared for the landscape for many years. Bill’s other passion was serving for the Child Advocacy CASA of Fannin County where he was awarded Advocate of the year in 2013.

He is survived by his beloved wife of almost 62 years Martha Sue “Marty” Vehslage, daughter Shelly and her husband Rick Allen, son Scott and his wife Dede Vehslage, and his grandchildren Ashley Rae and Jeremy Giroir, Brooks and Shelby Vehslage, Cole and Holly Vehslage and Anna Elizabeth Vehslage and great granddaughter Ellery Spencer Giroir. He is also survived by his sister Anita Smoot and his nieces Cindy and her husband Chris Riola, and Sue and her husband Robert Sims.

A memorial service honoring Bill’s life will be held on Saturday, July 24th 2021 at 2PM at the First United Methodist Church of Leonard, Texas 206 N Main St. All are invited to attend.

People wishing to honor Bill’s lifelong commitment to family and his community can make donations to the First United Methodist Church of Leonard, Texas and CASA (Child Advocacy) of Fannin County 112 W 5th Street, Bonham,TX 75418 or online at

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Dear Marty and Family, I know Marty and Sue have spoken together, but I can't get through a day (or even a few hours without thinking of you all and the many joys our friendship brought to the lives in our family. Memories include many good times together even though not so often lately with the distance factor. We love you and regret we are not there to share the celebration of Bill's life. He will always be remembered as one of the best of the good guys. Love you all.
Sonny & Sue Dale, July 24, 2021 Over 60 years ago, I wrote in my diary, “Bill is a good man.” He remained that way all his life. This world has lost, a good man, but the. angels are rejoicing. John Campbell, July 24, 2021 So very sorry to hear of Bill's passing. Thinking of Marty, Aunt Anita and the family. Sending much love to all.
Beverly Smoot, July 23, 2021 Our hearts are with you Marty. Bill will be missed. Randy Moore, July 22, 2021 We loved our fun and wonderful pal Billy Ray Vehslage for many decades. He and Marty will always have a special place in our hearts and memories. I can hear Jesus telling him, "Well done good and faithful servant.”
Anne and Ron Walker, July 22, 2021 Sending so much love to this very special family. We love you.
Lynne McNees, July 21, 2021
Billy Ray Vehslage will always be a cherished piece of fabric in the quilt of my life. I can't remember a time I didn't know and love him, he was family. He was larger than life and gentle and sweet! He loved his family and friends deeply and showed it with his big heart, big hugs and big laughter. He loved to show us his land and was as excited as we were for the animals, golf cart and tractor rides, fishing holes and getting stuck in mud bogs! (I've never lived that down). I send my love and deepest sympathy for this sad and heartbreaking time to his family, Martha Sue, Shelly (Rick), Scott (Dede) and all the littles and not so littles that he loved with all his heart. I wish I could be there, know I will say my own prayers during his service. Love you all. Rest well and go with God Billy Ray. Love, 
Marja Walker, July 21, 2021