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1934 Don 2024

Donald Willis

October 21, 1934 — June 6, 2024

Donald (Don) Raymond Willis, a man of faith, resilience, and boundless generosity, passed away on Thursday, June 6, 2024, at the age of 89 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Born on October 21, 1934, in Bartlett, Kansas, to Glenn Ray and Myrtle Mary Willis, Don's life journey was characterized by a steadfast commitment to his family, community and faith.

Growing up as a farm boy outside of Chetopa, Kansas, Don's early years instilled in him a strong work ethic and a passion for woodworking. As a young man, he developed his craftsmanship by learning about trees, cutting down the tree and milling lumber on his own saw mill. At the age of sixteen he built his own boat. He met the love of his life, Alice Lucinda Withrow during her high school years. Don's gift for woodworking manifested in a heartfelt gesture when he crafted a cedar chest for Alice on her sixteenth birthday, capturing her heart and marking the beginning of a lifelong partnership. Alice's parents told her that she could not get married to Don until she graduated high school. So as soon as she graduated, that is exactly what they did! On June 3, 2024 was their 68th wedding anniversary.

Married on June 3, 1956, Don being 21 and Alice 17, they embarked on a journey together, weaving a tapestry of love, adventure, and service. After leaving the farm, Don pursued a career in carpentry, leading him to Howard, Colorado, where he built log cabins amidst the breathtaking mountain scenery. It was in Colorado where Don developed a love for spaghetti and experienced the warmth of community while living in an Italian village where they made the bread in a brick oven.

From Colorado to Kansas to Oklahoma, Don's career as a carpenter flourished, marked by his dedication to his craft and his unwavering commitment to his family. Settling in Dewey, Oklahoma, Don and Alice found a home at Bluestem Baptist Church with Pastor Ray Kempel, where Don was ordained as a Deacon and shared his passion for mission work. Together, they raised four children, all graduating from Dewey High School, Alicia, Crystal, Rob, and Brent, and instilled in them the values of compassion, service, and faith. Don's faith remained a guiding light, leading him to embark on numerous mission trips to places like Haiti, Cambodia, and New Jersey, and locally where he selflessly served others and shared his talents. The first of many trips to Haiti, he didn't realize he needed to bring tools. The only thing he had to work with was a ruler and hammer provided by a missionary's son. He built churches in Haiti, cabinetry in a new school for orphaned children in Cambodia and many projects for many other churches.

His legacy of service extended beyond carpentry, to his love for greeting others when people came to visit the church where he was attending at the time. He especially loved greeting at the children's church door and did so for many years at Life Church Jenks. He has touched the lives of countless individuals and communities around the world with his skill and more so his warm and welcoming smile.

Don settled in Sapulpa, Oklahoma moving closer to his children, where he built a home filled with love and cherished memories. They lived there around fourteen years, still building cabinetry in his workshop. Despite facing the challenges of Leukemia, Don remained indomitable, exemplifying courage and resilience. He was healed of Leukemia by his faith in God, the prayers of Life Church group, family and others. His smile was always bringing a smile to the face of all that knew him.

Don's remarkable journey came to a close on June 6, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of love, kindness, and faith. He will be deeply missed by his beloved wife, Alice, his 4 children, 10 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, sister Verla Scott, brother Dan Willis and wife Nancy, many nieces, nephews and all who were fortunate enough to know him.

A viewing / visitation will be held 30 prior to the funeral service at Life Church Jenks at 9:30 AM.

A funeral will be held at Life Church Jenks, 890 W 81st St, Tulsa, OK 74132, Friday, June 14, 2024 at 10:00 AM with a burial to follow at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Chetopa, Kansas at 2:00 PM.

Arrangements are entrusted to Schaudt's Glenpool-Bixby Funeral Service. Family and friends are invited to share condolences and fond memories online at, honoring the life and legacy of Don Willis.

Don Willis leaves behind a legacy of love, service, and unwavering faith-a testament to a life lived with purpose and compassion. As we mourn his passing, let us also celebrate the countless lives he touched and the profound impact he made on the world around him. May his memory be a source of comfort and inspiration to all who knew him, and may his spirit continue to shine brightly in the hearts of those he loved.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald Willis, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Upcoming Services

Public Viewing/Visitation

Friday, June 14, 2024

9:30am - 12:30 pm (Central time)

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Celebration of Life

Friday, June 14, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Graveside Service

Friday, June 14, 2024

2:00 - 2:30 pm (Central time)

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