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William ‘Bill’ Thomas Guy was born January 4, 1950, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, at St. Anthony’s Hospital to Virgil and Jackie Guy. He departed this earth on June 2, 2023, at the age of 73, at his home in Norman, Oklahoma, having lived a full and prosperous life few can fathom and of which many dream.
Bill graduated with honors as a member of the yearbook staff and Band President of the 1968 class of Allen High School in Allen, OK, after having attended primary school in Sentinel and Eldorado, OK, and spent further time in Ashland, KS, Midwest City, OK and Oklahoma City schools while his parents worked for the Daily Oklahoman. Billy then, in 1968, enrolled as a freshman at the University of Oklahoma with a scholarship for musical talents and became a member of The Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band, playing the Baritone. Bill moved back to Allen, OK, the summer after his freshman year to assist his mother and father, after Virgil Guy had suffered a serious automobile accident. With his unwavering and consistent priorities for taking care of others and family, Bill would transfer to East Central University in Ada, OK, in order to be near the family and helped his parents run the town newspaper—The Allen Advocate. Bill would work hard at the newspaper as the Type-setter eventually rising to the distinction of a writer for the paper. While at ECU, Billy served on the college newspaper, the yearbook staff, and the Ada Evening News, where he would eventually become a photographer and advertisement executive and graduated from ECU in 1972, eager to teach the next generation and impart on all students who would cross the threshold of his classrooms with the same passion he held for learning and growth.
Bill would go on to teach in the classroom at Holdenville Public School, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia School for the Deaf, El Reno High School, El Reno Junior College, the Federal Correctional Institution of El Reno, and Oklahoma City Community College.
With his passion for special education, English, and journalism, Billy would become “That” teacher which students of yesteryear continuously pursued their desire to keep connection with their beloved instructor. Reading the many sentiments shared in the wake of Bill’s passing, there are a host of educators who credit their career and life paths to the significant encounter they were blessed to share with their bigger than life teacher, Mr. Guy.
Continuing in his career, after leaving the classroom, Billy worked with the following associations, providing advocacy and support to the field of education: Queensland, Australia, Department of Education Publications (Editor); New South Wales, Australia, Department of Education Publications (Editor); El Reno Junior College Public Relations Director; Oklahoma Education Association; Massachusetts Teacher Association; Tennessee Education Association; California Teacher’s Association. Bill then came back to his home state to work, again, for the Oklahoma Education Association where he was a member and Officer of the State Education Editor’s Association—a group which represents editors of teachers associations from all 50 states. In addition to being adored by his students, it is possible Bill was every more revered by his peers in the profession as evidenced by the plethora of awards for his quality work.
A connecting thread which can be identified in all facets of Billy’s life was his grasp of the paradigm truth that we are all in this together. He mastered the art of what it means to be human.
Bill would serve as a Missionary to Australia with The Church of God of Prophecy for four years, spent a year in West Virginia as an evangelist, and served as an Associate Pastor and Minister of Music at El Reno’s CharisChurch.
After his tireless years and contribution to people in the field of education and ministry, Bill would suffer the ultimate loss with the untimely death of his son, Christopher Guy.
Bill could have easily become depleted of joy, hardened, and bitter. Instead, Bill decided to lean into the suffering, pain and grief, and after an extremely successful career in education, Bill would embark on what some might call his most successful endeavor.
Bill would channel his immense love for his son, coupled with the grief brought on by his loss, and begin to provide wise counsel, advocacy, and education for parents experiencing the loss of children due to substance abuse.
Bill found the sacred in his suffering.
With the support and help of his loving wife, Rita, Bill would walk with families through the lowest valleys of their lives and instill hope in all he encountered. Bill would go on to become the president of Parents Helping Parents, spent tireless hours advocating for a solution to the epidemic which is substance abuse at all local and state levels and even testified before the Congress of the United States of America.
Bill’s life can be described as a symphony of sorts—a composition of many facets and parts which took extreme commitment, fierce passion, and precise execution. Bill is a work of art and a lesson, of sorts, we should all learn.
His story is one which will continue to live in the classrooms and hallways of places of learning.
His compassion continues to lead the tests of life and turn them into testaments.
People found him as they were victims, and he invested in them to become victors.
William Thomas Guy found and appreciated the fact that we are all leaves of a family tree and dedicated his life and many skills to tend to all the leaves he encountered.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Jackie Guy; his son, Christopher Guy; son-in-law, Jeremy Dalton; nephew, Garrett Garner; uncle, Charles Ballard; and two aunts, Tommie Ballard and Pat Schultz.
Billy is survived by his loving wife of nearly 33 years, Rita Guy of Norman; his father, Virgil Guy of Bedford, TX; two sons, Jamin Guy and wife Rachel of Nashville, TN, and Ryan McDonald of Oklahoma City, OK; daughter, Carrie Dalton of Norman, OK; sister, Virginia ‘Ginger’ Garner and husband Mark of Bedford, TX; brother, Bruce Guy and wife Lori of Houston, TX; grandchildren, Noah and Jackson Guy, Owen and Camille Dalton, Harper and Maddox McDonald, and the daughter of Bill’s late son, Chris Guy, Sunny Morris. Bill is also survived by a host of brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
The family and friends of William Thomas Guy intend to continue to add chapters to the epic that is Billy’s life and respectfully request any donations or gifts be made to Parents Helping Parents at PO Box 20574, OKC, OK 731256 or online at www.parentshelpingparents.info