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Thomas H. Billingsley

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Date published: 12/22/2013

Thomas H. Billingsley

Thomas H. "Cotton" Billingsley, 90, died Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013.

Cotton was a Fredericksburg native who made his home in Richmond. His professional career spanned over 60 years as vice president of manufacturing with Babcock Phillips, followed by 37 years in real estate with Bowers Nelms and Fonville and Metropolitan Real Estate.

He was consistently recognized for distinguished achievements in new home sales by the Richmond Association of Realtors and the Home Builders Association of Richmond. He received the Sales and Marketing Hall of Fame Award in 2002. A graduate of the University of Richmond, Cotton was an inductee into the university's sports hall of fame for his accomplishments in both football and baseball.

He received the Congressional Veterans Commendation for his service in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He served in four combat amphibious landings at Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima and the Marshall Islands. Cotton returned to Iwo Jima for the 50th anniversary and in 2012 returned to the Pacific islands as the guest of the Greatest Generation Foundation to commemorate the historic battles that took place there.

In recent years, Cotton was a frequent guest speaker at civic organizations, schools and to young recruits at Quantico Marine Corps Base. Above all, Cotton will be remembered as a true American patriot.

He is survived by his wife, Kay Paulett Billingsley; daughters Cynthia Billingsley and her husband, Richard Murray, of St. Louis, Mo., Holly Billingsley and her husband, Lou Abbott, of Richmond and Martha Billingsley Stearns and her husband, Eric Stearns, of Bridgeport, W.Va.; three grandchildren, Gordon, Robert and Elizabeth Stearns; one brother, Sydnor Billingsley of Fredericksburg.

A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 30, at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Ave., Richmond, VA.