Larry J. Willis


Larry Joe Willis was born to O.D. and Mildred (Martin) Willis on August 18, 1946 in Hobart, Oklahoma. He passed on May 20, 2019 at the age of 72. Larry attended Hobart Public Schools, graduating in 1964 before attending SWSC, where he graduated with a degree in math education in 1968.

Larry began his long career in education in Springfield, Colorado, where he taught and coached for one year at Springfield High School. On June 1, 1969 Larry married the love of this life, Paula Laufer, before being drafted into the United States Army, serving his country as a Medical Records Clerk until his honorable discharge in 1971. Larry earned his Master of Science in Education in 1972 and taught in Hinton, Erick, and Stratford, Oklahoma before returning to Hobart in 1983. Upon his return Larry took a break from teaching and purchased the Mainfair, a women's clothing store. Not being able to stay away long, Larry returned to the classroom in 1993, teaching first in Cache and Duke, then teaching math at Hobart Middle School, finally moving on to Caddo Kiowa Technology Center until his retirement in 2011.

Larry was a patient and dedicated educator. He took his role as a steward for the future generations very seriously, wearing a tie to work every day and calling his students by their formal names. He had a special skill for teaching his students on their level, so that they were truly able to learn and progress. He was an "old school" disciplinarian and earned the respect of his students, colleagues, and administration.

Larry and Paula moved to Norman, Oklahoma in 2013 to be near family. Being the extroverted person that he was, Larry jumped right into the Norman community, quickly becoming known for his generosity and willingness to lend a helping hand. He made friends everywhere he went, and he remembered everyone he met. He had a way of making people feel important and special.

Larry's greatest passions in life were golf and his grandchildren. He never missed a performance or competition, going so far as to watch his grandson, Connor, perform in "Fun Home" seven times. He could always be counted on to pick the local grandkids up from school and take them for "shaker milks" at Braum's. He was a member of the Hole in One club and never missed an opportunity to hit the links, using his two-way chipper at any opportunity, especially when playing with Rob. Larry loved going to the theater, singing in the Men's Choir at the First Christian Church, and sneaking ice cream when Paula wasn't looking.

Larry was preceded in death by his parents, brother Ronnie Willis, and Shadow, his white German Shepherd. He is survived by his loving wife Paula, who put up with him for 12 days shy of 50 years; sons Greg Willis and wife Tish of Norman, Darren Willis and wife Danielle of Valdosta, Georgia, and Rob Willis and wife Lori of Moore; grandchildren Connor, Sutton, Megan, Lauren, Cade, and Cole; brothers Kirk Willis and wife Tamie of Edmond, Oklahoma, Keith Willis and wife Robyn of Edmond, and Bill Willis and wife Chris of Ridgecrest, California; a host of nieces and nephews; and his loyal dog Boomer.

Contributions in Larry's memory may be made to the Sooner Theater ( or to First Christian Church, Norman (

Larry's family has entrusted his care to Tribute Memorial Care in Norman (708 24th Ave NW). His family will be present to receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday, May 23rd from 6:00-8:00 pm. A celebration of Larry's life will be held at First Christian Church, Norman (220 S. Webster) on Friday, May 24th at 11:00 am.

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Published on May 22, 2019
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4 posts

Dave Crozier
May 23, 2019
Larry, your circle of friends is truly endless. The memory of your humor, your honest sincerity and friendship are a gift to my life. Along with your family and friends, I truly mourn you leaving us.
May your putts roll true on the new greens you walk.
Lorna Thompson Sanders
May 23, 2019
Larry was such a sweet man, he delivered flowers to our Skilled nursing facility and always made the ladies smile. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to you all.
Sherri Morgan McKay
May 23, 2019
He was truly an influence in my life. My deepest sympathy.
Dwight and Sally Stafford
May 22, 2019
We enjoined Larry and Paula so much on the choir trip to Croatia. He was so genuine and kind. He will be missed.