Billy Morris ConnerNovember 21st, 2020
Billy Morris Conner, 90, of Fulton, passed away Thursday, November 12, 2020. He was born September 1, 1930, on his grandfather Woodson A. Conner's farm, one half mile north of Holts Summit. Bill was the only child of Morris and Evelyn Herring Conner. He graduated the 8th grade from Middle River School and graduated in 1949 from Fulton High School. He married Genevieve Clatterbuck on September 6, 1953. After high school, Bill passed on a football scholarship and went to work for Russell Forsee of the Fulton Implement Company. In 1951, Bill joined the Air Force and trained out of Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. His crew in Korea was the last of the Rail Aces in the war. On his 39th mission, he and his pilot and best friend, Captain Jack Allen, were working the rail yard. That night, their plane was shot down by ground fire under a full moon. They had agreed they would never bail over land and Captain Allen had managed to get them over water. Bill bailed out and was rescued by a Navy black out ship with which, unbeknownst to Bill, Captain Allen had been in contact. Captain Allen went down with the plane. Bill returned to his old squadron and flew several more combat missions. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with One Oak Leaf Cluster. Bill always said he was also the recipient of "all the other stuff you get for showing up and being on time." Bill and Genevieve returned to Callaway County after the Air Force and lived in the Kingdom of Callaway County their entire lives. He and his longtime friend and partner, Ronnie McDaniel, bought the John Deere dealership in Fulton. During their partnership they owned dealerships in Jefferson City and Columbia, Missouri. After a successful career as an implement dealer, Bill and Genevieve traveled the country showing and buying antiques, specializing in primitives and painted furniture. He and Genevieve traveled extensively with their antique business, as well as making personal travels to Europe and Japan. Bill was especially pleased that they were able to visit the Henderson Ancestral Castle and grounds outside Fordell, Scotland. Bill could start a conversation with anyone, but a translator was needed on that trip to translate his mid-Missouri accent to proper British English and vice versa. Bill was on the Board of Directors of the old Fulton Savings and Loan later sold to Central Bank. He served 20 years on the advisory Board of the Central Bank of Fulton; two terms on the old Callaway County Hospital Board; was a lifetime member of the VFW, Kingdom of Callaway County Historical Society, Sons of the Confederate Veterans, an elder of the First Presbyterian Church and a 50-year member of the Fulton Optimist Breakfast Club. Those left behind to mourn their passing include his many friends and neighbors as well as daughters, Nancy Jane (Larry Womack), Jacqulyn L. (David Cox) of Kansas City, Missouri; daughter-in-law, Sandy Conner-Shepherd (Grant Shepherd) Joplin, Missouri; grandchildren, Laura Kraus, Santa Ana, California, Austin Cox (Beckie) Ellerslie, Georgia, Gwynn Conner, Portland, Oregon, Jonathan Cox, Blue Springs, Missouri, Aaron Conner (Erica), Fulton, Missouri, Jordan Cox, Kansas City, Missouri; and great-grandson, David Duane Cox; as well as his aunt, Helen Hyten Herring Barrow (Fred) of Osage Beach, Missouri. Bill was preceded in death by his son, Allen L. Conner on June 21, 2000 and his wife, Genevieve (Clatterbuck) Conner on November 10, 2020. Billy M. Conner was indeed a special man. He and the love of his life, Genevieve, were rarely apart during their 67 years of marriage. Somehow they managed to leave this life together as well. We mourn their passing, but Bill was always the one we could count on to 'show up and be on time' and do what needed to be done. Our Mother was waiting on him and he was not going to be late. A memorial service will be held at the Conner-Morris Cemetery at a later date. Memorial contributions are suggested to the Central Missouri Honor Flight, c/o 1400 Forum Blvd., Suite 7-A, Box 334, Columbia, MO 65203 or donations can be made online. https://www.centralmissourihonorflight.com/donate/ Condolences may be left for the family at www.maupinfuneralhome.com.