Bill Vinson

The oldest resident at Oak Wood Place Senior Living has died. Bill Vinson was 103.

“He was a kind man who always made sure his family was taken care of,” his son, Billy Vinson, said.

It is believed that his father may have been the oldest resident of Henderson County or, at the least, the oldest veteran in Henderson County.

In July, Bill celebrated his 103rd birthday during a party at Oak Wood Place Senior Living. Born in 1915, he died peacefully on Wednesday.

Raised in Limestone County, he lived his later years at Oak Wood Place Senior Living. He and his wife, Theresa, raised four kids in Dallas before moving to Henderson County. They were married for 62 years. She died in 2004.

Billy said that his father lived a long and happy live. After spending about 15 years at Cedar Creek Lake, he lived in Athens for about 22 years. He joined the U.S. Army around 1932 when he was 17, later serving in the Air Force. He spent 23 years in active duty. During World War II, he was stationed in New Orleans. Bill also spent time in California, the Philippine Islands and New York.

“We traveled a lot when my dad was in the military,” Billy said. It is “my dad's fondest memory, a story he told often. He was stationed in San Francisco and marched in an honor guard across the Golden Gate Bridge when he saw President Franklin Roosevelt.”

In an interview in 2015, Billy said that “FDR was in a Lincoln with the top down. He stopped in front of me. We stood at parade rest for about an hour in the cold wind. I remember they played, ‘Hail to the Chief.'”

After his military career, he spent 19 years working for the Civil Service. Bill was one of five brothers who also served in the military.

His funeral is Monday, at 11 a.m., at Autry's Carroll-Lehr Funeral Home. Visitation is Sunday, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice Plus, 627 S. Palestine St., Athens, Texas 75751.