Alta Bell (Bilbo) Kay

Alta Bell Bilbo Kay, 96, of Alpine and Waco, passed so peacefully to her heavenly home with her children by her side, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, just two weeks short of her 97th birthday.

Service Information: Funeral services will be at 11:00 AM Saturday, May 25, at the First United Methodist Church in Robert Lee, Texas.  Visitations will be Tuesday evening, May 21, at the Lake Shore Funeral Home, Waco, from 5 to 7PM and at the United Methodist Church in Robert Lee on Saturday, May 25, one hour prior to the service. The Rev. Jane Vaughn, former pastor of Alpine First United Methodist Church, and close personal friend, will prepare the funeral message presented by Rev. Cynthia Weidner, pastor of FUMC of Robert Lee who will officiate the service.  Burial will follow at the Robert Lee Cemetery.  Arrangements are made by Lake Shore Funeral Home, Waco and Shaffer Funeral Home, Robert Lee/San Angelo.

Alta Bell Kay was born June 3, 1922 in Robert Lee, Texas where she lived until high school graduation. She attended Sul Ross State College and taught for several years before returning to Sul Ross to complete a master’s degree.  After WWII, she met Lamar Kay who returned from serving in the 36th Division of the U.S. Army to attend Sul Ross. They were married August 24, 1947 in the Robert Lee First United Methodist Church, and created a lifetime of love and laughter for 53 years. Upon graduation, Lamar went to work for the USDA Soil Conservation Office where the couple lived in Childress, Lubbock, and Van Horn before moving back to Alpine in 1952.

Alta Bell worked in the college business office before starting her career as a college professor of business where she taught rigorous courses in accounting and supervised student teachers. In 1969, Alpine ISD recruited her to start a Vocational Office Education program at Alpine High School.  As with any task she accepted, the program was exemplary, with students going on to be well-trained accountants, business owners, teachers, a university vice president, and a U.S. Representative, to name a few. Her students accumulated many awards during her tenure, all the way to national competitions. She truly loved teaching.  After her retirement, she and Lamar traveled extensively to many countries, and she enjoyed hosting her grandchildren every summer for well-planned adventures.

In 2016, A.B., as many called her, moved to Waco to Stillwell Retirement Center where she made many, many friends who treated her like the special person she was. She enjoyed sing-alongs, sending birthday cards to other residents, and the wonderful meals.

Alta Bell was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Alpine for over 70 years total, the United Methodist Women’s Association, the Texas Retired Teachers Association, a past member of Eastern Star, and a member of the Beta Iota Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma for over 60 years where she held many offices including yearbook chairman, treasurer, and president. She loved to dance and is no doubt dancing down the golden streets!

Mrs. Kay was preceded in death by her parents, Alley and Alta Bilbo; three sisters, Ferrell Jean Bilbo, Jamie Boren, and Peggy Gilmore, and her husband, Omar Lamar Kay.

She is survived by one daughter and son-in-law, Jan and Bobby Hungate of Waco; one son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Judy Kay of Andrews; one granddaughter, Kara Knight of Waco; two grandsons, Nicholas Kay of Andrews and Kayce Hungate of Waco, and three great-grandchildren, Maci Knight, Kaylyn Kay, and Phoenix Harwell.  She is also survived by sisters, Janet Rathmell of Mérida, Yucatan, and Jo Ann Littlefield of Grove, Oklahoma; and numerous cousins, nephews and nieces.

Pallbearers will be nephews, Tom  Boren of Lubbock, John Boren of Snyder, Jerry  Littlefield of Grove, Okla., Sandy Evans  of  Arlington,  Steve  Evans of Mérida, Yucatan, Bill Havens of Pleasanton, and great-nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Stillwell Retirement Center (5400 Laurel Lake Dr, Waco, TX 76710), Providence Hospice (6700 Sanger Avenue, Waco, TX 76710), and the First United Methodist Church of Alpine (208 E Sul Ross, Alpine, TX 79830).



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Condolence Messages

  1. Multitudes love her! The epitome of the perfect educator~She never stopped teaching nor learning! Love to the family~ Margie Davis

  2. Nancy Coats Rucker

    On celebration of a life lived with much laughter and love of family. Sweet memories to comfort those left behind.

  3. Berth Ann Foster

    My memories of Alta Bell are very dear to me. I’m so glad I got to know her in her later years at First UMC Alpine.

  4. Mazie & Paul Will

    Alta Bell Kay was an excellent business and VOE teacher and a great role model and colleague. We were happy to know and work with her and her Alpine High School students and our Sul Ross State University business program.

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