DUNEDIN — Like a lot of construction workers, Billy Bob Beattie cashed his check at the bank on Fridays. If the scraggly Fu Manchu mustache didn't stand out, tellers might remember his unusual requests.
If the bank didn't have lollipops for customers, he would ask for one, along with one of those gold "Sacka-wicha-wicha" dollars. Mr. Beattie used Sacagawea dollar coins to uncover scratchoff lottery tickets.
When the tickets proved worthless, he tossed them out the window. Tossed the coin, too.
Money meant little to Mr. Beattie, who, according to friends, came from a wealthy family; he gave away thousands in "loans" that were never repaid.
Mr. Beattie died April 14 from mouth cancer. He was 62.
"If he had 10 bucks in his pocket and you needed five, he would give you five bucks," said Kevin Kearney, a carpentry contractor.
They met in a bar in the mid 1980s. Another man was challenging Kearney to fight, and he was about to oblige.
Just then, an older man approached Kearney and spoke softly to him in a scratchy drawl. "He said, 'Hey, he's not worth the time. Come over here and have a beer with me.' " said Kearney, 44.
Once they were seated, the stranger asked, "Do you like to fish?"
For the next 20 years, the men worked as framing carpenters together, building custom homes. Kearney knew his friend had left a chapter of his life in Kentucky and another in Vietnam, neither of which he talked about much.
William Henry "Billy Bob" Beattie II grew up in Kentucky. He said he had owned a bar and restaurant before divorcing and moving to Florida. He frequented Chadwick's, a bar in Clearwater.
"I remember this Southern gentleman," said Charlene Beattie, who was tending bar at Chadwick's. "Kids would come in, and quarters would come out of his pockets. Ladies came in, and chairs would be pulled back."
They married in 1982. He went fishing; she started a business making beef jerky for dogs.
Mr. Beattie loved a cold Busch and liked to throw a party on the spur of the moment. He once went to a McDonald's and ordered 50 hamburgers, 50 cheeseburgers and 20 orders of fries for a crowd at the house.
Mr. Beattie wasn't always happy-go-lucky and got in a few fights over the years, Kearney said. Sometimes he would threaten, "Don't make me get my gun," even though he didn't own one.
Mr. Beattie's wife placed an obituary written as if Mr. Beattie had spoken the words.
"I had a good life and celebrated all of it," the obituary reads.
Andrew Meacham can be reached at (727) 892-2248 or email@example.com.