On Wednesday, January 9, 2019, William Edward Prentice, Jr., a loving husband and kind father of six children, passed away in Bangkok, Thailand.
Also known as “Bill” and “Dad” to his loved ones, William was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was a great man of many contraries. With a love for the earth and nurturing all that grows on it and in it, he graduated from LSU with a degree in International Agriculture. That passion took him to diverse places and a variety of jobs that included cultivating native fruit, building schools, teaching lepers to farm, cattle ranching, and more. He worked for a time with the Peace Corps and the National Council of Churches and later went into business on his own. These many ventures took him for a short time to Jamaica and across South America, particularly Ecuador, for nearly two decades.
With high regard for all people and a deep respect for plants and animals alike, William left an impact everywhere he went and on everyone whom he met. Comfortable speaking English and Spanish, he treated everyone as an equal regardless of background. He was calm and gentle in demeanor but also quite the talker. He could find a friend in anyone. But he was also so easy to talk to about anything. A hard worker, William believed in honesty and giving your best. He loved to get his hands dirty outside planting endless rows of fruit trees, muscadine vines, and vegetable plots and taking care of the fish, the dogs, the chickens, the guineas, the turkeys, the donkeys, the duck, the goat, and the mule. If he’d had it his way, he’d spend his days outside, perhaps riding in his buggy with Kassie, his beloved mule. But he was also perfectly content indoors drinking a good cup of coffee with chicory and reading whatever he could get his hands on.
Yes, while he was a farmer at heart, William was also an avid reader and known to many for his intellectual nature. Well-read and cultured, he was more likely to listen to NPR than music, but he could also turn around and recommend a musical or book of poetry to you. Because of the value he placed on learning, he moved his family from Ecuador back to his home country the U.S. in the hopes of ensuring a better education for his children.
After a few moves across the southern states, William established his life and family in Center, Texas. He started his work in the poultry industry, with stints for Green Acres and later Pilgrims. Later, he made the jump to the water well business with the opening of Pixie Water Wells, a business he started as a joint venture with his sons. Named in honor of his mother Celia, whose starting investment launched the company, Pixie became so associated with William that he was often even called “Mr. Pixie.” A good neighbor to all, William was well known in the Center community and believed in supporting local business and local people.
Above all, William had an insatiable appetite for truth, specifically Bible truth. Throughout his life, he read and investigated the Bible often, but the turning point in his life came when he became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The knowledge he acquired and his subsequent dedication to God brought on changes to the way he thought, spoke and acted and gave him the greatest joy and satisfaction in his life. Because of the sense of purpose it gave him and the powerful effect it had on him, William loved to share Bible truths with everyone. He believed in choosing to be happy and maintained a positive attitude throughout life. If there’s one thing we all remember of him, it’s his wonderful smile.
William was preceded in death by his father, William Edward Prentice, Sr. He is survived by his wife Ines, his six children, Daniel, Paul, Rebeca, William, Hannah, and Stephanie, his mother Celia, his brother David, six grandchildren, Elizabeth, Katherine, Melaina, Ruben, Celia, and Olive, several cousins, nieces and nephews, and a large, extended family in Ecuador.
A visitation will be held from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM on Friday, January 18, 2019 at Mangum Funeral Home.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, January 20, 2019, at the John D. Windham Civic Center in Center at 3 P.M. Flowers can be sent to the Mangum Funeral Home.
The family is being served by Mangum Funeral Home in Center, Texas. To send condolences or to sign an online register, please visit www.mangumfh.net.