B.J. (Billie Joe) Love, age 74, passed from this earth, with family at his side, on Tuesday, Oct. 13. He was with family at his home in Broken Arrow, Okla. From the time of his birth in Ventura, Calif., on June 29, 1946, to his death on Tuesday, he nourished people around him with love, faith and a fabulous sense of humor. He was born to Olen and Mable (Hendrix) Love and was the youngest boy of four with two younger sisters to follow. B.J. attended school both in Elgin and Fletcher, Okla. At the age of 19, he married his sweetheart, Gail (Rinehart) Love, on June 24, 1966. In 1967, he joined the U.S. Navy and served on the USS Hornet, where he was anchored off the coast of Vietnam. While on the Hornet, B.J. participated, with his crew, in the recovery of the Apollo 11 and 12 space capsules. Both capsules were brought on board his ship before being removed to Houston. Because he headed the carpenter shop on the ship, he was asked to make the signs that were over the door of the Mobile Quarantine Facilities (MQF). Apollo 11’s said “Hornet + 3” and the other one said “Three More Like Before.” The signs were returned to him and they are now on display aboard the Hornet, which is now a museum, anchored at Alameda, Calif. He later served on the USS Coral Sea before his time in the Navy was over. Returning home, B.J. was a home builder and general contractor in Lawton, Okla. The family moved to Pagosa Springs, Colo., in 1984. He and his wife, Gail, owned and operated Chris McKinnie’s Cabinet Shop for 15 years, before moving to Broken Arrow, Okla. Later in life, B.J. took up the hobby of restoring classic cars. He won many awards with his vehicles.
Left to honor “Pop” and remember his love are his wife, Gail, of 54 years; his children, Julia Love and B.J. Jr (Robin) Love; four grandchildren: Shawna (Maxey) Lively, Corbin Maxey, Tristen Love and Tinley Love; two great-grandchildren, Madison Lively and Michael Maxey; two brothers, Clifford (Olga) Love and Jim (Carolyn) Love; a sister, Linda (Nick) Garrett; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Charlie Love, and sister Bet Benefield.
B.J.’s celebration of life will be held on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 11 a.m. at St. James United Methodist Church, 5050 E. 111th St., Tulsa, with the Rev. Gary Harber (retired) officiating. Please follow city ordinances regarding face masks. B.J. will be buried at the National Cemetery in Fort Gibson later that afternoon. The family will greet friends from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22, at their home in Broken Arrow.
The Love family would like to extend our gratitude to B.J.’s care team from St. Francis Hospice for their attentiveness and loving care.