William Harvey Willis

Obit Picture

There is not enough space on this page to encapsulate the full and dynamic life William “Big Willie” Willis lived. He was a mountain of a man; not necessarily in stature, but in the way he lived his life. He could regale an audience with theatrical accounts of events from childhood, job sites, or the beer joints of his past. He delighted in making people laugh and would give his last penny to help a friend or family member. Big Willie always had valuable advice or knowledge to share, particularly on the topics of chickens, softball, horses and gardening. He was mechanically inclined and loved to tinker, but could also be known to throw a tool or two in the process.

As a young man, Big Willie lived a carefree life and was proud of his country roots. After he became a father, first to his son William “Little Willie”, then later to his daughters Anna and Kristal, he poured himself into their sports and activities. He coached their teams, actively engaged in their activities, and always encouraged them to be the absolute best they could be. He also has been described as “one of the kids”, often partaking in questionable stunts or games, all of which led to great stories to be told.

While Big Willie was not overly expressive with emotions, he had an exceptionally tender heart and cared deeply for his friends and family, particularly his children. Heartfelt, one-on-one conversations and special notes are just a few of the ways he has left his indelible mark on the hearts of his loved ones. After welcoming grandchildren, he delighted in sharing his love of chickens with them, making them smile, and making sure they had a full bag of snacks to leave his house with.

Big Willie held onto life with all he had as he battled cancer for over a decade, all the while imparting words of wisdom to leave behind, finding immense joy in his children and grandchildren’s successes, and leaving behind an incredible legacy for them to build upon in the future. If there is a McDonald’s in Heaven, he is smiling down on us from the drive through right now, with his co-pilot and best pup, Levi, getting a breakfast biscuit for them both.

William Harvey Willis, age 66, of China Spring, went to be with our Heavenly Father May 24, 2023. Big Willie was born December 1, 1956 in Houston, TX. He was the third child of William Hardy Willis and Anna Loraine Dennis. After attending school in Waco, he went to work in the construction industry in various capacities. He built metal buildings for many years with Gatlin Construction and later became self-employed. In 1977, Big Willie and his first wife Melisa welcomed his son and namesake, William, into the world, and in 1987 he proudly welcomed his daughter, Anna Rene. In 1988, Willie met his precious wife, Cindy, to whom he was married for 31 years. Together they welcomed two beautiful daughters: Baby Jessica in 1991 and Kristal Nicole in 1992.

Our beloved Big Willie is preceded in death by father, William Hardy Willis; loving mother, Anna Dennis; stepfather, Alfred Clark Dennis; daughter, Jessica Willis; and many cherished pets- namely his dog Levi.

Willie is survived by his doting wife, Cindy; children, William M. Willis and wife Selena of Valley Mills, Anna Willis of Blum, and Kristal Willis of China Spring; cherished siblings, Evelyn Gatilin and husband Larry, George Willis, Mary Robinson, Jojo Matheson and husband Kenny, and Peggy Ramburger and husband Matt; grandchildren, Jordan Willis, Lane Willis, Ryann Adams, Hailey Warnock, Paisley Warnock and Collyn Willis; as well as an army of nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends, to all of whom he would say, “Alright then, be good. Catch ya on the other side!”

The family would like to extend a very special Thank You to Bluebonnet Hospice.

Graveside Service: 2pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Place of Service: Patrick Cemetery , 1929 Patrick Crossing; Waco, TX 76708

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Condolence Messages

  1. Mary F Bestor

    Wishing peace to the family ❤️❤️
    Fly High Willie and tell all the stories

  2. Willie was a good man and friend. He absolutely knew how to build a Metal House. He built ours over 2O years ago an
    We still have yet to have a leak. Prayers for all the family as I know them all fly high Willie I know you are.

  3. Sherry Bryant

    Prayers & blessings for all the Willis family. God be with you.

  4. Peggy ramburger

    Man this is a hard o e. Willie my brother ! We fought so much and disagreed so much. In our younger days ! Both standing strong in what we thought was right ! But also standing by each other in other ways ! This is really hard ! From the day you decided to go on hospice – you were strong not letting the disease take control! This was your fight and it was gonna end your way ! You were so brave to make that final decision! Each day was a new struggle – walker – riding lawnmowers scooter and finally a walking stick ! You make it work so you could still go outside and visit with people and walk in your chicken yard ! It was your way !!! I can’t say how proud I am of you facing the end head on ! Our place is forever changed ! I will miss you hollering across the fence when I’m outside trying to do something! I will miss seeing you and Zach and candis talking over the fence for hours ! I will forever remember you in our younger days teaching us how to miss the school
    Bus and all your wild vivid stories! You. Give momma and sassy big hugs from me and I will keep your memories in my heart daily !! Love ya forever and always !!! Peggy

  5. Cindy, I am so sorry for your loss. You are in my prayers.

  6. Bluebonnet Health (Hospice) Services Team

    Dear Cindy Willis and Family,

    We are so very sorry for your loss, you all have our warmest and heartfelt sympathy. He will be missed by many. Hold on to all those special memories as we all hope and pray they bring peace and comfort now and in the days ahead.

    God Bless,
    Bluebonnet Health (Hospice) Services Team

  7. Teresa Cassidy

    We at Seniors Complete Insurance are saddened to hear of Willie’s passing. It has been our pleasure to assist him with his insurance needs over the last 11 years. We know he will be greatly missed. Sincerely, Teresa Cassidy & Staff

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