Billie (Tarbutton) Hulke

April 16, 1942 ~ October 29, 2023 (age 81) 81 Years Old

Billie Hulke Obituary


Billie R. Hulke of Valley Mills, Texas passed away at the age of 81 on Sunday, October 29, 2023. She will be remembered for her life-long journey as a beloved family member and a dedicated educator.

Billie was born in McAllen, Texas on April 16, 1942 to the late Charles Daniel and Lottie Tarbutton. She graduated from Mission High School in 1960.  Billie credits her secondary music training for her love of music and the scholarship she received to continue her study of music on the university level.  She entered Baylor University where her interest in music turned to Spanish under the mentorship of Spanish Professor Andrés Sendón. She graduated in 1965 from Baylor with a B.A. Degree in Spanish and English with teacher certification.  Billie received her M.A. degree in Spanish from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico. (Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education) in 1970.  She also studied at the University of Barcelona, Spain, University of Salamanca, Spain, and summer programs in Mexico and Costa Rica.

Billie and her husband Frank were married in 1963.  Their daughter Kara Lea was born in 1970. Frank, Billie and Kara were a close family and enjoyed 30 years traveling together at Christmas to locations all over Mexico, Europe, the Far East, South and Central America. Not only did their travel experiences offer opportunities to enjoy many world wonders, but they enjoyed the hospitality and friendliness of newfound friends they made on each journey.  In their later years, Frank and Billie treasured their time with family and friends at their country home in the Bosque County.

As a lifelong educator, Billie began her secondary teaching career in 1966 at Richfield High School, and she later taught Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Literature at Midway High School and Midway High School. In 2003, she began teaching at Baylor University where she earned the position of Senior Lecturer of Spanish.  

Billie was an endorsed consultant for the College Board and trained Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Literature teachers at week-long institutes all over the United States, and she was a member Texas Foreign Language Association, Southwest Conference on Language Teaching, Northeast Conference on Language Teaching, American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, and The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. She was elected to serve in leadership capacities and made professional presentations for conferences at these organizations, and she received numerous state and national recognitions for her service to education and scholarly presentations at professional conferences.  She was recognized as an outstanding teacher at Richfield High School, Teacher of the Year at Midway High School, and a recipient of the KWTX Golden Apple Award, Texas Foreign Language Association Teacher of the Year, Honorary Membership Award, and TFLA Best of Texas Presentation Award, Baylor University School of Education University Memorable Teacher Award, College Board Special Recognition  Award for Outstanding Teaching and Participation in the Advanced Placement Program. The Baylor Division of Spanish and Portuguese nominated Billie for the Outstanding Senior Lecturer Award, and she and she was nominated for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages for Wilga Rivers Award for Leadership in Foreign Languages on the Postsecondary Level. After a long and successful teaching career, Billie retired from Baylor University in June 2020.  Billie considered her most rewarding memories in education were the many years and opportunities of teaching promising, delightful students and working and learning alongside talented professors and teachers.

Billie was preceded in death by her daughter, Kara Lea, in 2012 and her father Dan Tarbutton in 2022.

Billie is survived by her husband, Franklin D. Hulke; sisters Peggy Young  (Danny), and Rebecca Tyler (Jim), and many nieces and nephews.

As per Billie’s request, friends and family may choose to make donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, or the Bosque Animal Rescue Kennels in Clifton, Texas. 

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