Tar Heel born and Tar Heel bred, Billy Koonce died on July 5, 2022, at home due to heart-related issues.

A vigil service was held at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home; celebration of life service at Edenton Street United Methodist Church; burial at Oakwood Cemetery; and a reception was held at Carolina Country Club all of Raleigh, N.C.

Billy was born Sept. 16, 1944, to John and Evelyn Koonce in Raleigh. Billy said he had an idyllic childhood growing up in Raleigh. Graduating from Broughton High School in 1962, he spent a year at N.C. State before transferring to Tar Heel heaven at UNC-Chapel Hill and receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1966. After a couple of years working in Raleigh, he headed for New York City, spending the next 35 years working at the World Trade Center (WTC) in various advertising, transportation consulting (NYC taxi driver) and marketing positions. He retired in 2002 after the collapse of the WTC Towers and moved back to Raleigh.

Billy had many good and loving friends from his childhood, school days and his time in NYC. His main avocation was distance running. He would often do 10- and 15-mile workouts, sometimes twice a day, and he completed many marathons over the years, including New York and Boston with an impressive, best time of 2:53. Billy loved running, and it was a part of his identity. A crowning achievement was finishing the Kona, Hawaii Ironman Triathlon in 1984, exceeded only by his marriage in 2016 to Patricia McPhillips of Shelby and Kabul, Afghanistan. He followed with fervor all things Carolina and got particular joy from the last two Carolina-Duke basketball games.

During the past years when Billy was unable to run, he had taken up swimming. The family wishes to thank the staff and patrons of the Pullen Park pool, who provided a friendly and welcoming atmosphere where Billy enjoyed his daily swims.

Billy was preceded in death by his parents.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia; brothers John, (Raymonde and her Irish family) and Leslie (Suzanne); nephew Sean (Lauren); mother-in-law Bernice McPhillips of Shelby; and sisters-in-law Sharol O’Brien (Scott) and Jill Bonjean (Fabrice) of Paris.

Billy was much beloved by all family members and friends who knew him for his kind, loyal and fun-loving nature. He was non -judgmental, friendly, empathetic and caring with a great sense of humor. Billy never knew a stranger and always had a kind word for everyone. He was deeply loved and will be deeply missed.