Graveside services for Wanda Loyce (Thomas) Willis, 88, of Chickasha, will be at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 31,2021 at the Fairlawn Cemeteries in Comanche, Oklahoma with Jimmy Ferguson officiating. There will be a viewing at Ferguson Funeral Home in Chickasha on Monday the 30th from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.
Wanda Loyce (Thomas) Willis, and her twin sister, Mary Joyce, were born November 25, 1932 in Lorenzo, Texas to Francis Marion Thomas and Annis Leah (Harris) Thomas. Wanda earned her wings and departed for Heaven on Wednesday, August 25th at her home with her family by her side.
She attended Hastings Public School until the ninth grade and graduated from Comanche High School in 1951. Shortly after graduating, she married her high school sweetheart, John Robert (Bobby Jack) Willis on Friday, July 13th, 1951 in Duncan, Oklahoma.
She highly valued education and at the age of 40, she began college at Southwestern University in Weatherford, Oklahoma where she received her basics. After the family moved to Wyoming, she attended the University of Utah pursuing a degree in nursing. God had other plans for her and she graduated from East Central University in 1980 receiving her bachelor’s degree in business administration and elementary education. Then in 1982, she attended the University of Sciences and Arts in Chickasha and received a degree in special education and in 1987, she attended the University of Oklahoma where she obtained a certification in learning disabilities and mentality handicap. Wanda was a member of Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in education recognizing scholarship and excellence.
While attending college, she worked at Valley View Hospital in Ada.From 1983 to 1986, she taught 5th grade and a music class for grades 5-8 at Friend School. From 1987 until 1989, she taught elementary TMR at Apache Public Schools. After retiring, she worked as a substitute teacher in the Chickasha area.
Wanda had very fond childhood memories of growing up in a family who was very musical. She started playing piano for church in the eighth grade. She often recounted stories of her singing solos and playing the piano with her sisters and father, who played the guitar and fiddle, at church revivals. Wanda accepted Christ as her savior at the age of 12. After she was married, she was a member of various church choirs throughout the state due to her husband being transferred.
She was a member of the Sweet Adeline’s International, Moore chapter since 1987 and very proud of the fact that she and her daughter, Dana, were members of the 500-member choir-The Singing Churchwomen of Oklahoma. As a result of their involvement with the group, Bobby, Wanda and Dana visited various churches in Oklahoma. Wanda also traveled to Brazil,
Hungary, and Romania on mission trips enlightening thousands of people with her Heavenly music.
In October 2001, her greatest accomplishment as a teacher was the Lord speaking to her to serve as a music instructor in Malawi, South Africa weeks after September 11th. She was truly blessed by this experience.
When she was not substituting, Wanda and Bobby traveled to England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Alaska. Many winter months were spent in their travel trailer in South Texas along the Rio Grande River as “winter Texans.”
Wanda was preceded in death by the love of her life, her husband John Robert (Bobby Jack) Willis; her brother, Billy Linden; her sisters, Joyce Combs (twin), Mildred Simon, Frances Hart; and her parents.
Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Dana and Chuck Watterson of Ardmore; sons and daughters-in-law, James and Lynn Willis of Chickasha and Chris and Conny Willis of Piedmont; granddaughter, BreAnna Watterson of Ardmore and grandsons and spouses, Dr. Dustin and Nicole Watterson of Oklahoma City, Josh and Rebecca Willis of Piedmont, Tim and Christine Willis of Oklahoma City, Brandon and Lacey Willis of Chickasha and Phillip Willis of Chickasha; three great-granddaughters, Madison, Mayce and Taylor; three great-grandsons, Weston, Jacob and Carson; one niece and three nephews and a host of other friends and family. She dearly loved and was extremely proud of her family.
The Willis family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to Dr. Hess, Lifeline Hospice providers that aided her for an extended amount of time and most special and heartfelt thanks to Wanda’s dedicated caregivers.
Wanda will be deeply missed by her family and many friends and the fond memories will forever be cherished.
Services are under the direction of Ferguson Funeral Home.