WURTLAND, KY-Billy James Watson 84 of Wurtland KY went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, August 30, 2022 at his home.

He was born on July 18, 1938, in Salyersville, KY to the late Hager and Tressie (Jackson) Watson. Always on the move, he graduated early from Salyersville High School and then earned his degree from Morehead State University before moving to Greenup County.

In addition to his parents, Billy was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Janice Maggard, his sister, Joanne Carpenter, his brother-in-law, Leonard Carpenter, and many of Janice’s brothers and sisters, whom he loved dearly. He is survived by his loving wife, Carolyn Wilson Watson and her two daughters; his three children: Jujuana Hieneman (Jeff Carr) and Jana Adkins (Chuck) of Worthington, KY and Billy Jerrod Watson (Sherry) of Lexington, KY. Also surviving are six grandchildren, Chase Watson Hieneman, Sam Hieneman, Chloe Adkins, Judd Adkins, Luke Hager Watson, and Sophie Watson. Billy was blessed to have many other extended family members and friends who will also remember him joyously.

Billy lived a wonderful life full of happy moments, many of which were spent in his house on the corner of Adena Street in Wurtland. Billy took great pride in his home and, maybe more correctly, his yard. He spent countless hours ensuring a perfectly manicured lawn, and when his knees began to ache, he enlisted, some would say conscripted, the rest of his family in the upkeep. Step inside the house, and you’d find the latest gadgets he ordered online. He had a deep interest in computers and new technology. Where other people his age struggled simply to turn on the television, Billy had on average six remotes to control a true cornucopia of stereo and TV systems. Even his grandchildren struggled to keep up.

Out in the community, Billy was a frequent visitor to many businesses and friends’ homes. He loved to “loaf.” It wasn’t out of the ordinary to find him holding court in town, twiddling fingernail clippers in one hand while cradling his tobacco pouch in the other.

Billy was a lifelong Republican, a member of the Greenup Masonic Lodge, served on many different community and civic boards including the Ambulance Tax Board. He was active in local, state, and even federal races in Greenup County.

His greatest passion, though, was music. Billy was a music teacher, and he began his teaching career as a band director at Wurtland High School before taking up the baton at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth, Ohio. He was always so incredibly proud of his bands, and at Portsmouth, he conducted the renowned “Band of Tomorrow.” Years after his retirement, his family would see the impact he made on his students as many of them would visit him in Wurtland and recount the influence he had on their lives.

Billy’s love for music filled every aspect of his life. He adjudicated countless music competitions, sang solos at Greenup First Baptist Church where he was a member, constantly hummed Gaither gospel melodies, and made sure his family had an appreciation for music. Growing up, his children would often hear him coming home from work before they actually saw him, as he drove down the street in his pickup truck with music blaring from the speakers. Despite a lifetime of this high volume, his hearing never dulled, and he could always pick out even the faintest sharp note sung out in church. His family knows he is already getting the angels in formation as he directs the heavenly band.

Billy had a big personality and many different interests, but his family will remember him most for one thing: his unwavering devotion and commitment to the people he loved. When it came to his family and friends, Billy never saw a need that he would not fill. He was the first to provide the support and, above all else, the love that was needed in any situation. Most of the time, he did so quietly, as was his way. Whether it was going once a week to the cemetery to clean headstones or mowing the grass of his bedridden friends, Billy showed his love through service. It is a lesson that his children and grandchildren will carry with them always.

Funeral services will be at 2:00 PM Saturday, September 3, 2022, at the First Baptist Church in Greenup

KY by Dr. Thomas Melvin.

Burial will follow in the Brick Union Cemetery in Lloyd KY.

Visitation will be from 11:00 AM till the time of the service on Saturday at the church.

Wright’s Funeral Home in Greenup KY have been entrusted with the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers the family request that donations be made to your local High School Band in Billy’s honor.

Online condolences may be made at

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