Obituary of Billy Leach, Jr.
Billy passed away in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 3, 2018 while preparing to do what his passion and talent in life was to do, teach fire rescue and safety. His wealth of knowledge in his beloved field cannot be surpassed.
Even before graduating from Southwestern Randolph High School in Asheboro, NC in 1976, his journey into fire and medical rescue work had begun. Volunteering with local fire departments and agencies wherever he could truly set him “afire.”
He was an avid reader and lifelong learner who loved to share his rescue techniques with anyone who was interested.
Billy’s lifetime achievements in and contributions to fire and rescue work are too numerous to list, but the one dearest to his heart was being the developer and senior presenter of the Big Rig Rescue Program, which he had trademarked. He was co-author of the book BIG RIG RESCUE and penned many published articles.
He traveled extensively instructing the popular Big Rig Rescue Program not only in North Carolina, but also at the FDNY Technical Rescue School, Oklahoma State Fire College and the Firehouse Expo. His instructing prowess led him to locations worldwide including South Africa, Mexico, Canada and Germany.
Other notable accomplishments include Underwater Search & Recovery, Trench Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, Extrication Rescue, and Farmedic.
Prior to suffering a stroke in 2013, Billy was employed with various fire and medical organizations/agencies, the most recent being Central Carolina EMS in Sanford, NC. Currently, he was serving as a member of the Madison-Rockingham Rescue Team.
Billy never allowed the stroke to stop him. Instead, it allowed him more time to travel, and coupled with his strong determination and drive, he continued to share his vast rescue knowledge with others.
Billy’s family wishes to express heartfelt thanks to the crew in Oklahoma for their respectful care and vigilance shown to him at his passing. A huge thank you for the sea of accolades, gestures, thoughts and prayers that have been offered from around the world. Please continue training in his memory and remember what he’d want you to say and do, “We will take it from here.”
Survivors include: Mother - Doris Strider Barrett; Sister – Gina L. Garner and husband, Tony; Nephew – Spencer Garner (Leslie Phipps); Niece – Kayla G. Holcomb and husband, Cameron; Great Nieces – Caiden & Carli Garner, Great Nephew – Jaxlee Garner; All of his fellow “Brotherhood” Family.
Services: Sharing & Reflection Gathering at the Seagrove Fire Dept. 5:30 – 8:30 Thursday 5/10/18
Funeral service will be held on Friday, 5/11/18 at 2:00 pm at the Seagrove Fire Dept. with burial following in the cemetery of Seagrove United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to your local rescue agencies or to Seagrove United Methodist Church, PO Box 2; Seagrove, NC 27341.