Madisonville mourned the loss of a fallen husband, father, and son Thursday. Billy Jack Zachary became just the 79th DPS trooper to die in the line of duty when he was hit by a truck during a traffic stop near Monahans last week.
From across the state and the country, the finest in law enforcement descended upon tiny Madisonville to mourn the greatest of losses.
John Stevens grew up with BJ Zachary. "He always wanted to be a trooper," he said, "and when he finally got into trooper school, that was his niche. He loved it, and one thing I can say is that he passed away doing what he loved"
"We are here because we must be," said Reverend Regan Cooksey. "We are here because we have a solemn duty to honor this good man who served the great state of Texas, but more than that, to honor a good man who loved his wife and loved his daughter."
"I know him well enough to tell you he wouldn't want you to miss the joy of the rest of your lives because of what's happened to him," added Reverend Lanier Stevens.
Zachary was remembered as a shy and humble boy who grew up to be a shy and humble man, one with a great love of sports, a Sam Houston State grad who also loved burnt orange, and someone who in uniform or out, you could always count on.
"He was a guy that everybody loved," John Stevens said. "He'd give you the shirt off his back. The people that were closest to him loved him, and he loved them more than anything."
With the solemn task of bearing the casket falling on the troopers he served with, the honored body of Madison County's son passed before friends and family, including father Lonnie Zachary, his son's Longhorns victorious last night, his Billy Jack, a champion as well.
BJ Zachary was laid to rest at Mount Tabor Cemetary following Thursday afternoon's funeral. He is survived by his wife, Tara, and a three-month old daughter, Zoe.