PASADENA, Texas (FOX 26) - Houston legend Bill Bailey was laid to rest Wednesday.
Hundreds packed a church in Pasadena to pay their final respects or as some of Bailey's friends put it, they came to see the cowboy take his final ride.
As the church bell chimed, friends and family filed into First Baptist Church of Pasadena to remember a Houston great.
You may not know his face, but if you’ve ever attended the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo chances are you’ve heard his commanding voice.
Bailey, the longtime livestock show and rodeo announcer, passed away Thursday of lung disease after being the voice of the rodeo for decades until retiring last year.
"We were in the Astrodome and I was one of the barrel racing contestants and Bill Bailey’s voice,” smiles his friend and colleague Sharon Camarillo. "It was such a thrill".
"He always would say ‘Open the gate and let me have 'em one more time.' That was always his favorite saying and we’ll always remember that,” adds Bailey’s friend and former HLSR Board Chairman Jack Lyons.
Bailey was born Milton Odom Stanley and became Bill Bailey back in the 1960s when he launched his super successful radio DJ career.
Then he made a big leap, being elected as Harris County Precinct 8 Constable from 1982 to 2011.
Members of local law enforcement packed his funeral to say goodbye to a man who is said to have lived life treating others as he wanted to be treated.
"I’ve traveled internationally with he and his wife Janis. I remember the phone calls he would make to me and say has anybody called you today to tell you they love you,” says Camarillo.
Bailey started Rodeo Houston's barbecue contest way back in 1973. He leaves behind his wife of 40 years, 3 daughters and a number of grandchildren.
Loved ones say our loss is heaven’s gain.
“But I miss his phone calls so much. No one’s ever going to do it like Bill Bailey,” says Lyons.