Robert William ("Barney") Fleetwood, 82, went to be with Jesus on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. He was known as Billy, and then as Bill, to his family, and he was known as Barney to his co-workers and many friends, including his wife and very best friend, Joyce. He was given the nickname Barney because his co-workers at the time said he reminded them of Barney Fife, the legendary deputy sheriff of Mayberry. When he was asked a question, he didn't spout an answer immediately. He pondered about it before responding, and they could just see Barney Fife tapping his holster with his fist while he thought about an answer. He thought it was hilarious and it immediately became his "work name" there and at all his future workplaces.
Barney/Bill was born to Ray and Patsy Jack (Boler) Fleetwood in Wink, Texas. In his latter years when folks asked him where he was born, he would wink a couple times. When they gave him the "quizzical pupper" look, he would smile and tell them that Wink was his birthplace. When he was four years old, he was blessed with a baby brother, Jack, and their family was complete. His father worked in the oil industry and later Ray and his wife became funeral directors. Barney/Bill grew up primarily in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Lamar High School and attended the University of Texas. He was a dedicated worker and had jobs from his teen years until his retirement from the State of Texas at 71. After high school graduation, he joined the United States Air Force and served two four-year tours of duty, primarily in Japan and Korea. His wife describes him as the smartest person she ever knew, but he never lorded it over anyone. As the Tim McGraw song says, he always stayed "humble and kind." One example of his brilliance that he rarely shared with anyone is related to when he served in the Air Force Nuclear Weapons program. At the time, the requirements for acceptance were extremely stringent. Only one-fourth of one percent of the candidates who applied for this duty were selected. He had to be retested, both physically and psychologically, every three months to continue to work in that department. He loved America and was very proud of his service to our country. After the Air Force, he worked in the computer industry for his entire life. His favorite job was being Dad to his son, Donald, and he beamed with pride every time he talked about Don, and was especially happy when folks said Donald not only resembled him but that their walks were so similar that folks could tell from afar they were father and son. He met his wife and soulmate, Joyce, when they both worked at the MHMR State of Texas Computer Help Desk. They were casual friends, and then close friends, before they became a couple. When they started dating, they bonded over their love of music, and music remained a big part of their lives forever. They loved attending concerts in Branson listening to their favorite country artists. Best of all, they loved attending Gaither Homecoming concerts, where their favorites were George Younce (The Cathedrals), Vestal Goodman (The Happy Goodman Family), and Jake Hess. They loved each other more than anything else in this world and their love grew stronger and deeper every single day. He and Joyce were dedicated members of Austin Brethren Church. When they decided to escape the Big City to move to Brenham, he cheerfully drove forty miles (one way) every single Sunday to Cooks Point Brethren Church where Joyce had been a member since the age of three or four. He loved his church family and was heartbroken when his back pain and declining health made it impossible for them to attend. He accepted the gift of salvation from his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and lived his faith every single day. He was kindness exemplified. He had a wry, dry sense of humor and a quick wit. Sometimes it was really hard to tell if he was serious or joking. He was also quite possibly the most stubborn person who ever walked the face of the earth, but even that was an endearing quality. He loved, loved, loved the "Big Water," and owned a condo on Corpus Christi Beach for many years. He was very sad when his health no longer permitted the drives to Corpus. He also loved his dogs with all his heart. He was preceded in death by his most recent dog boys, Barney Dawg, who loved the Big Water as much as his humans did, and by his stubborn, feisty little Dachshund, Benny, who preceded him in death on December 26, 2019. He was also preceded by his parents and other relatives including his beloved cousin and best friend, Howard Fleetwood.
He leaves behind to mourn his passing his wife, Joyce, his son Donald Ray Fleetwood and wife, Carolyn, his brother Dr. Jack Fleetwood and wife Nancy, all of San Antonio, his nephew Chris and wife Savannah, a very special cousin, Mary Lou Fleetwood Kirves, and beloved niece Jana Fleetwood Holt, his precious Chihuahua, Bo, his Cooks Point Brethren Church family, as well as other relatives and a host of friends, including those who were "super special" in recent years, Franklin and Frances Karasek, Leroy and Cynthia Kazmir, and Gary and Laura Moore and their families. He loved to travel. After he met Jesus, his first order of business was probably to have Barnabus and Benny give him the Grand Tour of Heaven. God made one of a kind when he made this beloved man, and his absence leaves a void in our hearts that can never be filled. Go with God, dear one!
Serving as pallbearers will be James Chaloupka, John Crnkovic, Joe Karasek, Franklin Karasek, Leroy Kazmir, and Eugene Urbanovsky.
In lieu of flowers, we would appreciate your contributions to the Cooks Point Brethren Church Scholarship Fund, which Barney and Joyce actively supported, or to Cooks Point Brethren Church, 6945 Highway 21 East, Caldwell, Texas 77836. (For the Scholarship Fund, just make a notation on the check's "For..." line.) The church will provide masks and hand sanitizer for anyone who needs them. We are aware of the dangers of Covid and while we would love for you to attend Barney's Homegoing Service, please come only if you feel safe in doing so.
A funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, January 31, 2021 at Cooks Point Brethren Church with Pastor Dillon Albright and Pastor JW Crane. Burial will follow at Cooks Point Brethren Cemetery.
A visitation will be from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Saturday, January 30, 2021 at Memorial Oaks Chapel in Brenham, TX. Visitation will also be from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Cooks Point Brethren Church prior to the funeral service.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Memorial Oaks Chapel, 1306 West Main Street, Brenham, TX 77833.
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