By Tyler Thorsen
For years the joke around most of Billy's younger friends and minions was that we always called him "Dad". Though he never had any kids of his own, Billy had many sons and daughters that loved him like a father, yours truly included. The joke between Captain David Rowsey and I was that when Billy passed that I would get his collection of 51M mirrolures and Rowsey would get his cherished Corky collection. I'd say "Dad always liked me best!".
So one year after his passing and just after what would have been his 72nd birthday, Joy Sandifer was kind enough to let Friends of Padre Board Members, Jeff Wolda, Troy Adler, and I take his ashes back to what he called "Home" - the Padre Island National Seashore.
We met up in the parking lot at 6:15am on Friday June 14th. Jeff and I had Billy on board with us with Troy Adler following behind. Several years ago on a trip down the beach, Billy showed Troy the exact spot he wanted his ashes to be. Troy asked if he wanted them spread on the wind or buried? Billy thought about it and said "If you toss them in the wind and my "ear" itches ( only he didn't say ear) but my hand is fifteen feet that way, how am I going to scratch it?" So he decided he wanted them put into a hole but not buried.
We laughed and told Billy stories and fished for his beloved surf trout on the way down to our secret undisclosed location. The trout fishing was good and the weather and water was beautiful.
Once we reached our location, Jeff wanted to do something to honor Billy and that was to toss the lure which he had used to catch the biggest trout he has ever caught on the Padre Island National Seashore. Billy was there and said "Call it 30" but it was just 29.999 so that's what Jeff called it.
We gathered Billy's ashes and the items he asked that we place with his remains including a rattlesnake rattle, to connect him to the beings that live on the ground and feathers to connect him with those that can fly and two spear points found on the island.
Our final destination up on the top of the dune.
Billy picked a wonderful resting place. The view from the surf to the bay is incredible. Billy asked that we not do any prayers or words but to get it done and walk away. We almost did that but each of us were fighting back tears saying goodbye.
And now Captain Billy Sandifer is home. We miss you, Dad!
Captain Billy Sandifer 6/11/1947 - 3/31/2018 "Life's a hoot. Get you some of it!"