One of our longtime loyal members and a freedom-loving American if ever there
was one -- Dick Wells of Montana -- contacted us in the early stages of grief at
the parting of an old hunting and shooting buddy of many years. Mr. Wells'
request was simple: "Will you set up a memorial fund program and give me
some space to honor my dear friend in our community?" What seemed to be in
his heart was twofold: to share his love of his friend and say his goodbyes
publicly, and to offer a donation to our organization in his friend's good name.
He also wondered if we might send a warm note by snail mail to Mr. Watters'
family, as well.
Following are Dick Wells' letter, a few pictures
that hold fond memories, and our letter to Mr. Watters' family.
Instructions on contributing to the KeepAndBearArms.com
Memorial Fund and submitting your personal farewell to your
loved on are also contained below.
From Dick Wells, in Remembrance of Billy M.
After nearly 30 years' association, my close friend, confidant and hunting
partner went to his reward. I miss him greatly. His attributes were as many and
noble as any man who has walked this earth, short of Jesus. I often thought:
"If I couldn't be me, I'd want most to be like him."
He was an "Odd Fellow," frequently, without hesitation; he would
drop his own affairs to go to the aid of someone in need. I've known him to lend
a helping hand to people he'd only just met. I saw him give money to strangers
who lost their home & possessions to fire.
There's a church in my hometown that had its beginnings because my friend, a
sawmill operator, sawed the donated logs into lumber to construct the church's
I saw him damaged by others, and I marveled when he simply shrugged off the
pain. Never once did I hear him say anything bitter to, or about anyone.
We shared some really primitive camps at times on our hunting & fishing
trips. On one trip, in Alaska's Gulkana Basin for moose and caribou, we were
stuck in a makeshift cabin for three days of a seven-day hunt due to rain &
low over-cast. If my friend hadn't been there, we would have really been
miserable; but his good nature and gentle spirit kept us all in good humor. He
was 64 years old at the time and he didn't let that stop him from doing his
share of the work packing a moose the eight miles back to camp!
Billy left the world a better place for those who enjoyed the high privilege
of calling him friend. I can think of no more fitting tribute to my dear hunting
partner, and fellow gun owner, than to initiate the KeepAndBearArms.com Memorial
Fund with my gift in the name of Billy M. Watters, of Thompson Falls, Montana.
Happy Trails old friend...
of Billy and Dick's Adventures
Click on the images to see the
Above: Billy M. Watters in the mountains that will always know his name.
Above: Billy on the left, Dick on the right after a moose hunt.
Above: Billy with the two moose he and Dick scored in 1977 in Alaska.
Above: Billy on the left, Dick on the right, after a successful caribou hunt.
Above: Billy packing his caribou out, as he always did.
Our Letter to Mr. Watters' Family, sent with
a nice printed copy of Mr. Wells' letter:
The Watters Family
P.O. Box 32992
Phoenix, AZ 85064-2992
May 21, 2001
Dear Friends in the Watters Family,
A close friend of Billy's, Dick Wells, contacted our organization in hopes we
might implement a memorial fund and provide him some space on our website to
show his love for Billy. Attached you will find the letter he asked us to share
with our members and site visitors. Our work involves the defense of the right
to keep and bear arms, and it seems Billy exercised his right in a most
honorable way, leaving a legacy of good in his wake. It is therefore our
pleasure to accommodate Mr. Wells' request, and we have done so.
Having just seen my grandmother pass on to the hereafter, perhaps I know what
you might be feeling. From my time on the phone with Dick Wells, I gather that
Billy and my grandmother were the same age. As I was never successful at
convincing my grandmother to pick up a firearm and have some fun, I'm trusting
that Billy will take care of that for me. I'm sure the shooting ranges are top
notch where they are now, and I'm betting the ammo is cheaper, too. (Anyone
who says we can't shoot after graduating from life is going to a different place
than I am going!)
I would like to take a quick moment to thank you for all the good things
Billy brought into our world, all the lives he touched, and the many blessings
he left behind. I believe Dick Wells when he tells me we lost a good man in
Billy, and I send warm and genuine wishes of graceful, easy healing for each
person in your family as you realize that though you cannot hug and hold him any
longer, he's shining bright inside your hearts and surely still whistling his
Back in '87, my only blood brother left our world prematurely. As I went
through my grieving process, I came to terms with the fact that what felt like a
loss would morph into a gentle acceptance of what is. During that process, I
wrote the following poem. If anyone out your way is in need of comfort, please
feel free to share my letter, and this poem -- and give 'em a bear hug for us
over here, would ya?
I die, don't mourn for me,
For I'll be among the best.
Be happy and enjoy your life
And know that I've passed my life's test.
I die, don't cry for me,
Unless the tears are of bliss.
Know that I'll enter your dreams each night
And give you Eternal Kiss.
attend my memorial service
And linger in the space just above
To bestow upon each individual
A feeling of undying love.
that I am free,
And please feel your peace when I die.
In life I was but a caterpillar.
In death, I'm a butterfly.
Contributing to the
KeepAndBearArms.com Memorial Fund
really just as simple as making a donation by clicking here:
and filling out the information, then selecting the KABA
Memorial Fund as the desired direction of funds.
Submitting to the KeepAndBearArms.com
To provide your
desired letter, poem, pictures or other tributes to your
departed loved one, please email pertinent information to MemorialFund@KeepAndBearArms.com.