Helen and Donald Billick


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Helen § Donald § Donald’s Children § Post War

Helen Pauline Billick

Helen Pauline Billick (1918-2006) was born Monday, March 25, 1918, in Toledo, Ohio, the seventh child of Louis and Tekla. There is little to no information about Helen’s early years. She does appear in the freshman class photos of DeVilbiss High School in 1934 and again with the sophomore class in 1935. The 1940 U.S. Census indicates she completed three years of secondary education.[1]

1934 High School Photo

In that same Census, Helen’s occupation is listed as “Book binder.” Note that older brother, John, and older sister, Anna, both were listed as “binders” in the 1930 Census. She was living with her parents and brothers Paul and Donald.

On August 26, 1944, Helen married Alexander Osowik, probably in St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Rossford, Ohio. Two years older than Helen, Alex was still in active service in the U.S. Army at the time of their marriage. Their first son, John, was born in December of 1946.

In April of 1947, the Osowiks moved into the house on Haddington Road where Helen lived the rest of her life.[2]

Helen’s second son, Dennis, was born on July 27, 1953 and the third son, Thomas, on May 20, 1955. Tragically, John died suddenly on November 2, 1962 from a congenital brain hemorrhage.

Helen worked for a time at the Sheraton Hotel, Westgate, retiring in 1985.

Helen passed away on Friday, October 20, 2006 at age 88; she was the last surviving child of Louis and Tekla Billick,

Donald Michael Billick

Donald Michael Billick (1920-1994) was born Wednesday, March 19, 1920, in Toledo, Ohio,[3] the eighth and last child of Louis and Tekla. With his birth, all eight of the Billick children were living at home with Tekla and Louis, the eldest was son, Walter, age 17.

By the time of the 1930 Census, seven of the eight children were still at home. Michael, Anna, and John (all in their 20’s) were working, and Peter, Paul, Helen and Donald were all in school. It must have been quite a busy home.

Donald, circa 1942-43

By the 1940 Census, much had changed. Paul, Helen and Donald were living with Tekla and Louis but they were all working. Don is listed as a clerk in a grocery store and the document indicates he completed just one year of high school.

Donald enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 6, 1942, signing up at Patterson Field.[4] Enlistment records indicate he had completed high school and had work experience as a post office clerk. Donald was a B-24 pilot and earned numerous honors including the Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Combat Certificate of Valor all of which recognize heroism or meritorious achievements in combat operations. After the War, Donald served as a test pilot with the Air Technical Services Command (ATSC) at Wright-Patterson and flew in the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49. He was released on January 9, 1950.

Donald married Mildred Ruth Bode (1922-2015), a Monroe County, Ohio, native, in 1945. They set up home in Dayton. They had five children: Donald (Michael), Jr. (1946), Barbara Elaine (1948), Donna (1950), Brian (1954) and Gary. The family moved to California, first to Palos Verdes and then to Redlands.


Donald M. Billick, Jr. (1946- ), also called Michael, attended secondary school in Redlands, California and played flute in the Junior HS band. After graduation from Redlands High School in 1965, Don Jr. received a B.S. degree from the University of California, Riverside. In January 1969 he married Sandra J. Baldwin, and that same month received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force, having completed Officer Candidate School at Lackland AFB. Don was assigned to navigator training at Mather AFB in CA. As a Lt. Col in the, U.S.A.F. and served two tours of duty in Vietnam.

Barbara Elaine Billick Wiltshire (1948- ). Born October 24, 1948. During her years at Redlands HS years Barbara was musically inclined, played tennis (sometimes as a doubles partner with her younger sister, Donna), and was a class officer. Barbara was a television newscaster for ABC News affiliate in Colorado and Utah from 1975-1985 and covered four national conventions.

Donna Ruth Billick (1950- ). An established Southern California artist.

Brian Billick (1954- ). Brian was an outstanding athlete in football and basketball at Redland High School. He played three years at Brigham Young University and was an honorable mention All-American in 1976. He was drafted by SF Forty-Niners in 1977 but never played in the NFL. Brian was offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Viking and then spent nine years as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens (1999-2007), winning the Superbowl XXXV (2000).

Gary Billick (1955- ). Piano recital in 1969. Played in jazz band in 1975.

Post War

Following the War, Donald reenlisted on April 16, 1951. He served as a test pilot[5] and retired on January 28, 1965. After his retirement from the Air Force, Donald was a senior contracting officer for Douglas Aircraft Company and Director of Tiger Charter Corp., in Midland Texas.

Donald passed away from a heart attack on Monday, February 28, 1994 at age 73.

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[1] 1940 U.S. Census, Lucas County, Adams Twp, Ohio; sheet 4A, line 20; April 19, 1940.
[2] This date is based on a note in a diary entry of brother, Michael.
[3] The 1930 U.S. Census, incorrectly lists his birthplace as Poland.
[4] Recall that the Air Force did not become a separate branch of the military until September of 1947. Patterson was a separate facility until it was merged with Wright Field to become Wright-Patterson AFB in 1948.
[5] I recall Donald talking about an encounter with famous pilot, Chuck Yeager, describing his uncanny ability to “feel” the peculiar quirks of an aircraft in test flights. They might well have crossed paths while Gen. Yeager was stationed at Wright Field immediately after the War, around 1945-47.
{last update: 13-Jun-2021}