Virgil Ward “Butch” Willis, 82, a lifelong resident of Graham, Texas, went home to his Lord and Savior surrounded by those he loved and who loved him on Thursday, April 25, 2019. A celebration of Butch’s well-loved life will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 11:00 am at Morrison Funeral Home, Graham, Texas with burial to follow at Pioneer Cemetery. No one loved a good memory or story more than Butch. Please join us to share yours at the visitation on Friday, April 26, 2019 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Morrison Funeral Home.
Butch Willis was born July 6, 1936 at his grandparent’s home on the Rocky Mound Road in Graham, Texas to Wayne and Mildred Ward Willis. He graduated from Graham High School, spent time working in the oilfield and then enlisted in the United States Army. After his military service, he attended Texas Tech University later graduating from North Texas State University. In June of 1964, Butch met Carol Mayo and they were married in Graham on December 26, 1964. They were blessed with two children- Linda Gail and Randy and then later he became “Dude” to 5 grandchildren who adored him. Dude always found a way to make you feel loved from the twinkle in his eye to the soft spot in his heart. He was proud dad and grandfather who always made life an adventure from riding a go-kart to feeding cattle to checking leases to playing sports.. It didn’t matter what you did with Dude, it was always fun and you never went hungry.
In his early years, Butch loved horses, roping, cars, tinkering and about any escapade he could find. He worked in the oil patch, learning the business from the ground up before he went to the army. After college graduation, Butch made his way to General Dynamics as an engineering writer for the F1-11 fighter bomber technical manuals. Butch felt the pull to return home and some of his best memories were spent with his dad as well as his wife and children raising cattle, horses, pigs, sheep and even a few goats through the years. He often said “sheep before the shepherd” to his children to always emphasize the importance of taking care of others before yourself, even animals. It didn’t matter to Butch your social station or economic status, he treated every person with respect and was generous to a fault. He returned home to work in the oil and gas industry as the owner of Willis Operating Company and continued his farming and ranching with W & W Cattle Company.
Butch was a member of First Baptist Church of Graham. He spent many years working and helping with the Young County Livestock Association as well as 4-H and FFA. He loved what his kids and grandkids loved and spent many hours at sporting events, stock shows, band, choir and many more. Dude loved golf, being outside and finding the adventures in everyday life. Butch had a passion for learning and there wasn’t much he couldn’t fix. He had a calmness and demeanor that just let you know that things would be okay. He loved being outside and doing things with his family. Butch was a collector of “junk”, gadgets, equipment, animals and people. He had a wonderful sense of humor and gift for storytelling that started with a twinkle in his eye and contagious laugh. “Dude” loved people and he never met a stranger. He left some very big boots to fill and his legacy will live on through his adoring family.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Carol; his daughter, LindaGail Walker and husband Kevin of Plainview, Texas; Randy Willis and wife Shelby of Poolville, Texas; sister, Wanda Ward and husband David of Graham, Texas; brother, Gene Willis and wife Betty Gale of Ravenna, Texas; Grandchildren-Brock Willis Walker and Brant Michael Walker of Lubbock, Texas; Rylee, Roree and Rance Willis of Poolville, Texas as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. Also the family would like to thank Dianne Amburn, Andy Salazar, Reshell Garcia, Beverly Bormuthas well as all of the staff at Graham Regional Hospice.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Wayne and Mildred Willis and a sister, Kay Willis Copeland.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church Benevolence Fund, 620 Fourth Street, Graham, Texas 76450.