William Russell "Bill" Salisbury was born on October 21, 1922 at the farm East of Vici, OK to Joseph "Guy" and Zilpha (Cutsinger) Salisbury. Bill was the 10th child of 16 children. Bill rode the final trail to Heaven on January 17, 2017. Bill grew up in rural Dewey County, graduating from Taloga High School with the Class of 1941. After graduating, Bill moved in with his brother Bob in California where he worked as a cab driver, at an orange packing plant, and eventually at Douglas Aircraft where he helped build B-17 Flying Fortress bombers. In 1943, Bill enlisted in the Navy where he was a fighter plane mechanic on an aircraft carrier. His carrier was headed for mainland Japan when Truman dropped the atomic bomb that led to Japan's surrender. Bill was honorably discharged as a Petty Officer Third Class in April of 1946.
He then worked for Harold Hawk's ranch in Perryton, TX before returning to Oklahoma to attend Oklahoma A&M (Oklahoma State University.) He graduated college with the Class of 1951 with a degree in Agricultural Education. He taught veteran's classes in Stratford, TX where he met the love of his life Nancy Bennett. They were married on August 1, 1953, a union of 63 years. Bill and Nancy then moved to Vici. He began teaching Vo-Ag at Vici Schools in 1957 until his retirement in 1980, after 23 years. He enjoyed taking his FFA classes to stock shows and to work cattle for people in the community. He also doctored farm animals in the community before Vici got a veterinarian. He enjoyed running the clock for the Junior High and High school basketball games, and worked hard at farming and ranching. He took pride in the quality of his cow herd.
In their spare time, Bill and Nancy enjoyed roping, ranch rodeos, playing pitch, going to Vici and Taloga alumni activities, and dancing. As the grandchildren got older, they spent a lot of their time at basketball games, baseball games, and rodeos. He was an Honorary State Farmer, a board member at Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) for 11 years, Vici Rodeo Club, OSU Alumni, and the Vici Coop board for 12 years. He was also honored by the Honor Flight program to be flown to Washington D.C. to see the new WWII veteran's memorial in 2012. Bill and Nancy were members of the First United Methodist Church.
In addition to his parents, Bill was preceded in death by 13 siblings, Wilbur, Pete, Vern, Arf, Katherine, Joe, Bob, Mike, Tude, Ella Maria "Sis", Velma Jean "Tine", Bud, and Stan.
Left to carry on his legacy are his wife Nancy of the home; four children, Ken Salisbury and wife Terri, Phil Salisbury and Kellie, John Salisbury and wife Denise all of Vici, and Lori Messenger and husband Mark of Woodward; Nine grandchildren, Kyle Locke and wife Rachael, Neil Salisbury, Ellen Grunewald, Dax Grunewald, Drew Grunewald, Madelyn Messenger, Jaco Messenger, Natasha Kelso and husband Gary, and Jade Eisenbise; two great grandchildren, August Locke and Cash Kelso; two siblings, John Salisbury and wife Dixie, and Hop Salisbury; as well as sibling in-laws Millie Hacker, Pam Carson and husband Jay, and Hal Bennett and wife Jeanie; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives, students, and friends.
Funeral Services were held on Friday, January 20, 2017 at 10:00 A.M. in the Vici High School Auditorium with Junior Salisbury presiding. Burial will follow at Sunnyside Cemetery.
Memorial Donations in Bill Salisbury's honor may be made to the Vici FFA Program.
Published on January 19, 2017