On Tuesday, October 19, 2021, Billy (Bill) Martin Rapp, father, educator, tennis player, referee, good friend and so much more, passed away at age 90.
Bill was born March 15, 1931 in Coffeyville, Kansas.
He was raised in Las Vegas, NM and was a 3 sport letterman - football, basketball, and tennis at Vegas High School. He was a state champion in tennis, graduating in 1949.
He then attended Hardin Simmons University on a football scholarship, then transferred to New Mexico Highlands University. He graduated from college with a masters in Education.
He married his high school sweetheart, Betty, on June 25, 1950, and was married 54 years. Bill many times stated it was the best decision he ever made.
After graduating from NM Highlands, he accepted a job coaching and teaching in Roswell, and spent 39 years in education—30 years at Washington Avenue as Elementary principal. Even after Bill retired from Washington Avenue, he volunteered at the school as a tutor helping the students continue to learn.
Bill had 57 years officiating football and basketball, retiring when he was 83. He was the last of the infamous Rapp, Knapp, Moore, Core football officiating crew from Roswell.
He was inducted into the NM Officials Association Hall of Fame in 2016.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents Martin and Gladys Rapp, brother Ralph Richard, sister Donna Elliott and wife Betty.
He is survived by his daughter Kathy and her husband Craig Wells of Lubbock, Ricky and wife Linda of Roswell, David Rapp of Denver, Karen Rapp of Artesia and special family friend Chad Fletcher of Denver.
Grandchildren Melanie and Andy Cates, Amy and Jeffrey Thompson, Christy and Brian Sanders, Stephanie and Justin Stephens, Tim and Brooke Rapp, Dustin Rapp, Chelsea and Brian Wink.
He also had 13 Great grandchildren: Jacob and Abbey Cates, JRyan, Micah and Joshua Thompson, Gracie and Ben Sanders, Isaac Wink, Jaydon, Kaylee and MJ Stephens, Ava and Colin Rapp.
One of Bills passions was to attend his grandchildren’s and great grandchildren’s sporting events. He always had some wisdom to give the grandchildren, as well as what he thought about the refereeing. These events were the love of his life.
Bill was well known in the tennis community by playing doubles every morning no matter the weather until 2018. He participated each year in the Senior Olympics.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Gateway Church International at 10:00 AM, Monday, October 25, 2021. His son Rick Rapp will officiate. Burial will follow at South Park Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Andy Cates, Justin Stephens, Tim Rapp, Dustin Rapp, Jacob Cates, Jaydon Stephens. Honorary pallbearers will be the remaining grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in honor of Bill Rapp to First Methodist Church for the Cowboy Bell scholarship, 200 North Pennsylvania or Gateway Christian School, 1900 North Sycamore.