I love social media. I really do. What a great way to keep up and stay in touch with everyone who circumnavigates in and outside of my family circle. I see babies, first day of school pictures, vacations and adventures galore and I celebrate (like) them all. But with the good and great comes the bitter, tragic and sad because we do share it all on social media…and I mourn with you all then too. It’s social. It’s media. I celebrate it all…except, you know when it hits too close to home.

Our dear Uncle Bill passed away this last Sunday night.

I found out on Facebook.

It’s okay.

Actually, no, it’s not.

But I get it because it’s part of the social that is social media.

A family friend posted on our cousin’s wall expressing her sorrow, love and condolences, as we often do when someone we know and admire and love dies and from there it took off as others shared their own thoughts, sorrow and love…all before family can take the time to make sure that all of the family knows. So while on my break at work Sunday night, I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed and discover that our dear Uncle Bill had died that night.


I love social media but Sunday night I hated social media.

It’s really crappy when you get really bad, sad news that way.

It happens.

It absolutely, positively sucks.

But if I was to learn anything from the man I have always called Uncle Bill it was to focus on what is important right here, right now…family…our family…his family.

His daughter Kimra shared:

the world lost another unsung hero. Our father Billy Yowell, lost his long battle with PLS and Parkinson’s disease. He was a great father who was always present in in his daughters’ lives. Never missing an event, he cheered loudest with each success and cried the hardest at each failure. He was a hard worker who believed that if you worked hard all things were possible. Quoting my cousin Mark “Bill was a giant of a man in my life. He seemed to define how a man should be masculine and strong but never too strong to show humor and especially love”.

So true. So very true.

Monday morning, after work, I sat down with Daniel and shared with him that Grandmom’s brother, Uncle Bill had died. The first thing he said was that his cousin, Amy, one of Bill’s daughters, and her husband, Randy, would need a hug from him because they must be very sad.

Oh Daniel!

Trying to understand, together Daniel and I talked about Uncle Bill and the kind of man he was. We talked about his patience, his kindness to everyone, his fairness and his amazing sense of humor.

I think that I want to be just like him.

You are, son! You are a giant just like our Uncle Bill.

Billy Ray Yowell
Nov. 14,1940 – Aug. 30, 2015
Billy will be deeply missed by those who were blessed to know him. He was born in Blytheville, Arkansas and raised in the Bay Area. He entered the U.S Air Force after high school. While stationed in San Diego, he met Carol Johnson and married in 1961. After his military service, he continued his career with the Ford Motor Corporation. Billy is survived by his wife Carol; daughters – Kimra, Tamra, and Amy; grandchildren – Drew, Tim, and Tracy; and sister Dorothy Brown.


2 thoughts on “giants

  1. Laura, I am so very sorry for your loss. Your heartfelt tribute to Uncle Bill brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing man Uncle Bill was. May your entire family be comforted at this time. Hugs to all of you.

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