By Alfreda Bowden Clark, writer, Lake Effect
With Clear Lake serving as a tranquil backdrop, Billy Pete and his family moved to Bunche Manor in 1959. His father, Willie B. Pete Sr., graduated from Jones High School c/o 1934 and FAMU c/o 1938. Billy’s mother, Hazel Pete, was a graduate of Jones’ High School c/o 1938.
After graduating from Jones High, Billy attended Hampton University for undergrad. He worked for the NSA for 27 years on mainframe computers, then on to PCs from 1983 onward and lived in DC and south Florida.
He returned to home in 1998 to assist his mother with the upkeep of the family property until her passing in 2015.
Today, Billy is one of the busiest retirees around! He helped to organize Friends of Distinction (FOD) in 1999, created to support Jones’ High students. They donate money for scholarships and for the band’s trips when they played at Carnegie Hall and marched in DC. FOD hosts numerous social events. They head to the Winter Music Festival in South Carolina annually, just recently returned from a cruise in December and have plans to head to DC this year.
Billy is also an avid bowler and participates in four local leagues. League life includes travel as well to cities like Myrtle Beach and Biloxi. He also loves to cook and prepares for gatherings, events, funerals and tailgating. The news is starting to spread about his renowned string beans and collard greens!
Most importantly, he shared that his son Brandon, also a graduate of Hampton University, is his best production. Brandon and his wife and children live in Virginia and Billy visits often.
Although he doesn’t have a specific philosophy, he does believe that you should enjoy life as you are going through life and don’t wait until you retire.
We are seeking stories from residents to share the history and legacy of West Lakes in a memorable coffee table book. If you are interested in participating please contact West Lakes Partnership at 407-955-4243 or info@ westlakespartnership.org ■