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Billy Houston Combest
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Birth: Mar. 8, 1931
Grayson County
Texas, USA
Death: Jan. 31, 2012
Collin County
Texas, USA

Billy H. Combest

PRINCETON - Billy H. Combest, 80-year-old Princeton resident, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 in Allen. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Faith Baptist Church in Princeton with Stan Fike officiating.

Burial will follow at Ridgeview Memorial Park in Allen.

Surviving is his wife, Freda Combest; daughters, Debra Boyd and Susan Pruett, both of Princeton; four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from 6-8 p.m. Friday at Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Home in Allen.
Published in The Herald Democrat on February 2, 2012

Added 07/15/2012

The Rev. Billy H. Combest, who served 26 years as a Dallas police officer and detective, became a Baptist minister in retirement so he could continue to serve the department as a chaplain.

He was a detective on Nov. 24, 1963, when he had a brush with history. Mr. Combest was one of the officers who formed a human corridor for the transfer of the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Lee Harvey Oswald had just passed Mr. Combest when the prisoner was shot by Jack Ruby.

Mr. Combest later told the Warren Commission he tried to get a dying declaration from Oswald, realizing he had been mortally wounded. Oswald gave no response. The detective also helped remove Oswald's handcuffs before he was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Combest, 80, died Jan. 31 of a brain tumor at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen.

Services were Saturday at Faith Baptist Church in Princeton, where he was a member. He was buried in Ridgeview Memorial Park in Allen.

Mr. Combest was born in Anna and graduated from high school in Sherman.

He served in the Navy during the Korean War and was working in a lumberyard in Redwood, Calif., when he met his wife to be, Freda Carbaugh. They eloped to Reno, Nev., two months later, in June 1954.

Mr. Combest joined the Dallas Police Department in 1955 and was promoted to detective in October 1961. He didn't have much to say about the history he had witnessed in 1963, beyond his testimony before the Warren Commission.

"Billy didn't talk about it much," Mrs. Combest said. "People called him from different places to get a story, but he … didn't talk about it."

Mr. Combest began studying to become a minister before he retired in 1981 so that he could become a police chaplain, his wife said.

He presided over many weddings and funerals during his 28 years as a chaplain — mostly for police officers and their families. But by October, pain associated with the cancer no longer allowed him to continue, his wife said. His last ceremony was for one of his granddaughters' wedding.

"We made a pact," Mrs. Combest said. "I said, ‘Billy, I think it's time for you. You're too sick. You can't handle their needs right now.'"

Mr. Combest's civic contributions included having served on the Princeton City Council for about the past 10 years. He was Princeton's mayor pro tem at the time of his death, his wife said.

He was an active Mason with groups in Dallas, Sherman and Princeton.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Combest is survived by two daughters, Debra Boyd and Susan Pruett, both of Princeton; two sisters, Peggy Minihan of Wylie and Edith Barnett of Princeton; four grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Information from Richard Hollis
Family links: 
  Edgar Combest (1888 - 1974)
  Edna Johnson Combest (1897 - 1987)
  Alton Jesse Combest (1913 - 1971)*
  Edith Octavia Combest Barnett (1915 - ____)*
  Lois Lucille Combest Barnett (1917 - 1965)*
  T V Combest Stroud (1922 - 2010)*
  Weldon Selby Combest (1924 - 2003)*
  Edgar Lee Combest (1928 - 2011)*
  Billy Houston Combest (1931 - 2012)
*Calculated relationship
Ridgeview Memorial Park
Collin County
Texas, USA
Created by: C. L. Hines
Record added: Feb 02, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 84376466
Billy Houston Combest
Added by: Richard Hollis
Billy Houston Combest
Added by: Jim Thorpe
Billy Houston Combest
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Nichole Cisnero
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