Joseph William “Bill” Honeycutt, Jr. joined his heavenly Father on the evening of Saturday, June 26, 2021, with loving family at his side. That big, generous heart had worn out. Bill was born in Tulsa, Okla., on Oct. 29, 1930, to Joseph William Honeycutt, Sr., and Thelma Leo (Trimble) Honeycutt. His parents and two sisters, Betty Jo Honeycutt, and Jewell “Judy” Lee (Honeycutt) Skeen precede him in death.
Bill grew up doing odd jobs for his dad at the family-owned Chevrolet dealership, sparking his extraordinary drive and work ethic. He was also an Eagle Scout which helped fuel his love for the outdoors. Bill attended Cabool Schools where he graduated in 1948. He excelled in athletics, playing basketball and football. It was during his senior year when he started dating a beautiful little junior gal named Patsy June Unger. After graduation, he attended Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield and graduated in 1952 with a business degree.
After the passing of his father, Bill became owner of Honeycutt Chevrolet in 1954 when he was just 24 years old. He enlisted in the Naval Reserves but was never called to duty. Bill was an active member of his beloved church, First Baptist of Cabool. He also participated in Cabool’s first Jaycee Organization and served as a Cabool Schools board member.
Bill and Pat married June 28, 1950, and to this union, two children were born: Michael William and Sherryl Ann. Their marriage was a match made in heaven. Bill often joked about being the “Supreme Ruler” of the household, but everyone knew Pat was the boss. In fact, it is debatable whether Pat’s home cooking is the real reason for his achievements. Bill and Pat enjoyed traveling all over the country, always with family and friends in tow. They especially loved to explore the beauty of our nation’s national parks. With Christ as the center of their lives, Bill and Pat enjoyed 70 wonderful years of love and laughter.
In 1967, Bill was approached by Mid-America Dairymen to provide hauling services. He made an agreement to supply 10 milk trucks, which would haul from dairies located in the Ozarks of Southern Missouri. This opportunity laid the foundation for what is now the nation’s largest dairy logistics group consisting of Western Dairy Transport (WDT) and WD Logistics (WDL). WDT and WDL now have locations across the country and serve customers in 48 states and Mexico. Bill’s strong values and work ethic shine through his business ventures where handshakes meant you would keep your word and taking care of people is top priority. This heritage has been a driving factor for 50+ years of operations in an ever-changing industry. Bill loved the daily challenges of hauling dairy products and even in his final days wanted to be updated on the current state of the industry. An incredible visionary, Bill was able to anticipate industry changes years before they occurred but still credited much of his success to great customers (most of whom became lifelong friends) and the hard work of past and present employees.
When he wasn’t talking about hauling milk, his focus in life was preserving the land and improving wildlife habitats. Bill was an avid hunter and true conservationist. He and a special crew of close friends were pioneers in managing properties for wildlife, and through this process mentored many first-time hunters. Bill graciously allowed access to most anyone who asked permission to hunt. Over the years this open approach helped build lasting business and personal relationships. Much like the heritage in the trucking company, the hunting camp tradition carries on today through many different seasons and in multiple states. Bill loved farming, timber management, and the crew that helped him accomplish it. If the maroon truck wasn’t keeping the road hot in Southwest Missouri, he was doing the same in Pollock, S.D., with a very close group of friends and partners. Bill spent several decades growing and managing a pheasant hunting operation for the enjoyment of family, friends, employees and business associates. The Dakotas were his second home, and he dearly loved the people there.
Bill was a loving, humble man giving generously of what he had to others (anonymously, if he had a choice) all the while, giving all glory to God for his many blessings. He was always willing to help those in need, whether it be as a result of tough times or just to give someone a little assistance with fulfilling their life goals and dreams. Bill wanted the people around him to have the opportunity to experience things he enjoyed, which included St. Louis Cardinals baseball. He would often raffle Cards tickets to employees and recently joked that if the Cardinals did not turn things around, we would soon have to pay folks to take the tickets.
Bill loved his family and was so proud of each one of them. He is survived by his dedicated and loving wife Patsy, son Mike (Marta, deceased), daughter Sherry, grandsons Brent (Nichole) and Drew (Sarah), and great-grandsons Briley William, Griffin Tanner and Cooper Joseph. These boys were the light of his life. His nieces and their families, as well as his cousins were all so special to him. He loved having family gatherings and held them with great importance.
Bill’s influence reaches far and wide. He will be greatly missed by his family, and countless others who considered him a mentor or father figure. Bill was one of a kind. Because of his kindness and impeccable character, Bill’s legacy will continue through his loved ones and all who were graced with his presence.
Visitation will be held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 6, 2021, with funeral services following at 5:30 pm at the Western Dairy Transport, 913 Shelton Drive in Cabool, Mo., with Benjamin Leonard officiating.
Pallbearers will be Brent Honeycutt, Drew Honeycutt, James Johnson, Jim Overall, Robert Reid and Travis Williams. Honorary pallbearers will be Jerry Bos, Bobby Brill, Jim Dixon, Gary Hanman, Troy Hanson, Carl Honeycutt, George Mayfield, Phil Mosca, Keith Murfield, Dave Rohr and Merlin Ryckman. Private family graveside services will be held at the Honeycutt Family Cemetery under the direction of Elliott-Gentry-Carder Funeral Home of Cabool, Mo. Online condolences may be made at www.egcfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Cabool First Baptist Church or to the Cabool Senior Center, c/o the funeral home.