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Columbia Missourian

Prolific bowler Bill Shoe was also a musician, family man

By Chelsea Bengier
November 27, 2012 | 6:45 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Bill Shoe never read a note of music in his life. But what he played by ear became the harmonies his family now lives by.

Whether he was playing guitar at family gatherings or so that his children would go to bed, his music brought people together.

His love of music lead him to his wife, Betty. Mr. Shoe auditioned to play in her father's band.

"He shared his love for music with all of us, and that will be instilled in all of us and on to our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren," his daughter, Shelly Herman, said.

When he was offered to go on tour with Lee Mace's Ozark Opry, he decided to stay home with his family instead. This is one example, his family said, of how Mr. Shoe always put them first. He played his last two songs with his son, who also plays guitar.

Bill Shoe, formerly of Columbia, died Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, at Boone Hospital Center. He was 72.

He was born June 18, 1940, in Clinton, to Carl and Clayta (Keyes) Shoe. He graduated from Smith Cotton High School in Sedalia in 1958.

He married Betty (Templeton) Shoe on March 10, 1961, in LaMonte. In 1962, Mr. Shoe started a job in sales for Kitty Clover Potato Chip Company and in 1979 worked with Frito-Lay until retiring in 1996. He spent 34 years in, as he called it, his "salty snack food sales" career.

"Kids would come to our house for trick-or-treating because he would hand out potato chips," Betty Shoe said.

When his kids were growing up, Mr. Shoe and his father used to take everyone to the bowling alley as a family. Mr. Shoe and his grandson, Matthew, bowled in several tournaments and almost made it to nationals. 

"He bowled for his love of bowling and for being around people," Shelly Herman said.

Mr. Shoe coached the junior bowling league for nine years and will be inducted into the Columbia Bowling Hall of Fame in February.

But Mr. Shoe was known more for his corny sense of humor. His family compared him to Barney Fife of Mayberry.

"He used to say that your sense of humor gets you through life's ups and downs and sometimes you just have to laugh about it," Betty Shoe said. "He always saw a silver lining."

Most importantly, Mr. Shoe was a family man. For their 50th anniversary, Mr. Shoe wanted to spend a day with his family and do something fun. So, they rented a 36-seat passenger bus and took the entire family to the Saint Louis Zoo.

Mr. Shoe also liked to be outside; he often sat on his front porch watching the neighbors and fished at the lake. He took his family on scenic drives to see the leaves change and took his grandkids outside at dusk to look for deer.

"He was the best dad anybody could ever have and he loved us kids unconditionally," Shelly Herman said.

"He's half of me," Betty Shoe said. "We made it through 51 years — he's my best friend."

Visitation for Mr. Shoe will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at Parker Funeral Service. Services will follow at 5 p.m. at the funeral home.

Mr. Shoe is survived by his wife, Betty Shoe of Columbia; a son, Larry Shoe of Braymer; two daughters, Cynthia Harris and Shelly Herman, both of Columbia; three sisters, Marilyn Ward of Prairie Village, Kan., Doris Gilliland of Joplin and Maggie Shoe of Columbia; nine grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations can be made to Braymer Kicking Bear Youth Camp or Columbia Youth Bowling League, both in care of Parker Funeral Service, 22 N. Tenth St.