Memorial Service: 2:00 PM, Sunday, September 29, 2019, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 4530 Acton Hwy, Acton, TX 76049
Billy Jon “Bunky” McConal embarked upon his final “Texas Trek” to heaven September 5, 2019, where he joined his son, Patrick, and his parents, M. G. and Pattie McConal.
A Celebration of Jon’s Life will be held on Sunday, September 29, at 2 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Granbury, 4530 Acton Highway, followed by a reception at the church. In lieu of flowers, Jon’s family suggests donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or Parkinson’s Foundation.
Born July 27, 1937 in Pecos, Jon grew up farming and ranching there and in Glen Rose with his parents and his older brother, Mack. When he was 12, Jon was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, a disease he managed throughout his adventurous life.
Jon graduated from Glen Rose High School in 1955 and attended Sam Houston State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism. In 1984, he received a master’s in journalism from North Texas State University.
An abundance of natural curiosity led Jon to his calling as a reporter and writer and he launched his 40-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1961. He covered various beats until he became a night city editor and then contributing editor, witnessing history along the way. As Jon arrived to cover the funeral of Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963, officials recruited him and a group of other reporters to carry the casket. In 1968, Jon stopped the presses in the middle of the night to enable the Star-Telegram to bring the news of Robert Kennedy’s assassination to readers.
Jon shared his passion for journalism teaching classes at Texas Christian University and Southern Methodist University, and he received 45 national, state, and local awards. He also enjoyed writing free-verse poems, many dedicated to family and friends.
Jon’s childhood instilled in him a love for the wide-open spaces of Texas, which he described as “pasturelands of mesquite trees and fields of tall bluestem grass and milkweeds bonneted in white burst of flowers.” The proud single father of two boys, Patrick and Kevin, Jon shared his love of the great outdoors with them during camping and hiking expeditions.
Jon married Jane Bickley Lundy in 1982, and he wrote that being with her “made watching Texas sunsets even more awesome.” Together, they explored the Southwest and discovered the world. Jon and Jane shared the joys of seeing their five children marry and welcoming 13 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
For the last 20 years of his career, Jon enjoyed what he called “the greatest job in Texas” writing a column three times a week for the Star-Telegram featuring stories of ordinary people he found fascinating. During those years, Jon estimated he traveled 200,000 miles to tell the stories of 10,500 Texas characters. Many of those miles Jon trekked across the state, along with friends and cohorts. Jon’s listening skills and conversational style coaxed stories from people