Billie Erdman Barsch was born September 16, 1939, in Brady, Texas. He was the first in his family to attend college, and met Sharalyn Ballew at Hardin-Simmons University. They were married the year after he graduated, on August 16, 1964. The happiest years of his life were spent teaching English to high school students beginning in Tatum, New Mexico, where he first found his calling, before he and Sherry moved (at her insistence) to Kermit, Texas, where he taught English and coached tennis and theater. Over the years, Bill's students have continued to resonate with the vibrant passion for life and determination that he imparted to them, inviting him back as a commencement speaker in lieu of somebody 'famous,' welcoming him at their class reunions as recently as last September, and friending him on Facebook.
Bill chose to end his love affair with teaching a few years after his daughter was born, believing strongly that Sherry, who was also a gifted teacher, should be able to stay home with their children. In 1975, Bill began his career in school administration, attaining the necessary degrees and moving from a high school principalship in Coleman, Texas, to Director of Special Services back in Kermit, then on to Levelland, where he worked as the Deputy Superintendent for 11 years, finally retiring in 1999 after spending the final three years of his career as the Levelland Superintendent of Schools.
Bill did not love his administrative roles as he had loved teaching students, but as many can attest, his devotion to administering school services in such a way that best served children and families-even when it meant upsetting the status quo-was unparalleled. Happily, he returned to teaching college students at South Plains College for several years after his retirement.
Throughout his secular career, Bill was also devoted to his church community, serving as a deacon in the First Baptist Churches of Kermit, Coleman, and Levelland, providing his expertise in personnel to the thoughtful hiring of pastors and staff, singing in the choir, performing dramatic readings for church productions, reading scripture for services (with flair!), and teaching a men's Sunday school class every week for many years, a post he only recently, begrudgingly, relinquished at the demands of poor health. He was a teacher to the end.
Bill Barsch was a man of deep principle, deep questions, and a hidden heart.
He passed in his sleep at home on the morning of January 12, 2022. He is deeply loved and celebrated by his wife of 58 years, Sherry, his son, Kyle, and wife, Kelly, and their two children, Eileen and Evan, of Houston, and his daughter, Stephanie David, who is currently residing in Kauai. A private family memorial will be held at Garden of Memories in Sweetwater, Texas.
Memorials may be made to the senior adult ministry of First Baptist Church, Levelland. A scholarship devoted to the education of future teachers will be established in his name at South Plains College, Levelland.