William Hayes Thigpen, affectionately known as "Billy" by family and friends, was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina on October 10, 1938. He entered eternal peace on February 26, 2023, at the home of his caretaker, after a 20-month battle with cancer.
The son of Amanda and Charles Thigpen, Billy grew up in Fayetteville and attended Cumberland County Schools. He graduated in 1957 from E.E. Smith Sr. High School and began his college studies at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in the fall of that year Some of his fondest memories were of activities he engaged in as an "Aggie." Friendships begun in college would go with hi throughout his life and bring comfort and joy.
After graduating in 1963, Billy joined the United States Navy and would serve for four years. His favorite duty station was the Naval Air Station Midway Island, where he trained to become a Navy pilot. After his Naval commitment, Billy pursued teaching opportunities in Virginia, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Always a hard worker, he returned to Fayetteville to help his parents on their farm in the Grays Creek community. He enjoyed growing and selling fruits and vegetables. If time allowed, the would join the uncles, Fred, Babe, and Joe at the pond located on his property. Farming was replaced by property management as he got older
Billy loved God and did not hesitate to tell anyone that he was "saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Spirit." Growing up in a Christian home, as a child he attended St. Luke AME Church and Evans Metropolitan AME Church. Later in life he became an ordained minister and could be seen with his Bible in one hand and a tambourine in the other hand.
Billy was preceded in death by his parents, sister Ms. Minnie McKinnie, and niece Jacqueline Williams. His memory will always be cherished by his caretakers, Ms. Teresa Harris, and Lillie Fisher (cousin); nieces Janice Esters and Sheila Williams; nephew Johnny Williams Jr.; several cousins and a host of other relatives and friends.