William Burney “Bo” Bilbo Sr., 81, of Brandon, died Feb. 22, 2021, at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jackson after a long-fought battle with cancer.
Visitation will be noon Monday at Magnolia United Methodist Church until services at 2. Burial will be in Magnolia Cemetery. The Rev. John Hugh Tate of Jackson will officiate alongside Rev. Danny Speed. Stringer Family Funeral Services will oversee the arrangements, which are open to all family and friends. A further celebration of Bo’s life will be held at 5 p.m. March 27 at Bo’s favorite place, Tico’s Steakhouse in Jackson. All friends, family, and members of The Round Table are invited to attend.
Bo was born Aug. 8, 1939, in Magnolia, the son of the late William Abel Bilbo and Linda Brumfield Bilbo of Magnolia. He was a lifelong member of The United Methodist Church.
In his early years, he excelled in all sports, and was chosen for McComb’s 1955 Babe Ruth League All-Star Team, among many other athletic distinctions. Having grown up on his family’s dairy farm, he spent many weekends showing his prize-winning calves at various county fairs and competitions, and helping his father at their store, Magnolia Feed and Seed. Bo was a proud Boy Scout, having achieved the rank of Life Scout.
Bo graduated from Magnolia High School in 1957, where he lettered in football, baseball, basketball and track, and was a skilled quarterback, pitcher and guard. He was elected to Student Council all four years, being elected President his senior year. He was a member of the 4-H Club all four years, where he served as an officer. Bo was voted Class Favorite as a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior. As a junior, he was voted Cutest Boy and selected for Boys State, and as a senior, he was voted Mr. Magnolia High School and Best Personality.
Following his graduation from MHS, Bo attended Southeastern Louisiana University on scholarships to play both football and baseball before transferring to Louisiana State University on a baseball scholarship as a pitcher. At LSU, he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order fraternity, where he served as pledge master, won three Charity Bowls and formed lifelong friendships. Bo loved his KA brothers, remaining active in reunions in Baton Rouge each year — events he cherished and looked forward to, especially in his later years.
Bo graduated from LSU and entered the insurance business, where his success won him numerous awards and trips, both domestic and abroad. In 1999, Bo began his career with the U.S. Senate, serving as Field Representative for both Trent Lott and Roger Wicker until his retirement on March 1, 2019. He considered both senators great friends and loved his work family like his own.
His children and grandchildren were his greatest accomplishment. He enjoyed many fishing trips with his boys, many beach trips with his girls and never missed a reason to celebrate any occasion with family and friends. He was an excellent cook and loved to be in the kitchen. He loved playing golf throughout his lifetime, visiting prestigious golf courses around the country, playing many local tournaments annually with best friends, and hitting a hole-in-one at his home course, Fernwood Country Club. In his later years, his grandchildren gave him so many reasons to smile — he adored them and frequently shared their photos with everyone he knew.
Bo was one in a million and a true Southern gentleman with an infectious smile, telegenic personality, and fun-loving spirit that instantly drew others to him. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him. He loved his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and he is now healed, dancing and celebrating on streets of gold with loved ones gone before him. What a glorious day!
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Survivors include his sister, Ann Bilbo Wiltshire; three sons, William Burney Bilbo Jr. (Laine), Robert Gaston Bilbo (Kynn), and David Anderson “Andy” Bilbo; two daughters, Ann Regan Bilbo Barlow (Jeremy), and Catherine Elizabeth “Beth” Bilbo Clingan (Kyle); 10 grandchildren, Christopher, Nicholas and Broden Bilbo, Carlisle and Reese Bilbo, LeLe and Bo Barlow, and Walt, Ann Catherine and Margaret Clingan; and one great-granddaughter, three nieces, a great-niece, great-nephews, and many other great friends and family who loved him dearly.
Pallbearers are Daniel Alldredge, Wade Deer, Walter Denny, Greg Goza, Craig Haskins, Bill Maxey, Gene McCarlie, Bobby Thompson, and Philip “Flip” Weinberg. Honorary Pallbearers include Jeremy Barlow, Kyle Clingan, George Goza, Thomas “Tico” Hoffman, Jack Rivers, and Don Sims.