Willis, William Blake Sr.
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84, of Scottsdale, passed away on Sunday, December 8.The son of the late William Thomas and Oleta Willis, he was born in Paducah, Texas on July 7, 1929, but had been a resident of Arizona for most of his life and considered himself a native. He graduated from Phoenix Union High School in 1947 and married his high school sweetheart, Anna Mae Ware. He attended Arizona State College on a baseball scholarship and played semi-pro baseball in the Texas Leagues and graduated in 1951. He was then signed by the New York Giants, but the Korean War had other plans for him, so he enlisted in the Navy in 1951 where he played baseball and was stationed on Guam. He later attended the University of Arizona College of Law and graduated with a Doctor of Juris Prudence in 1963. He worked for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office before starting his own private law practice. Blake, as he was known by his friends and family, truly loved the game of baseball and spent many years coaching and teaching kids about the art of the game in South Scottsdale Little League, American Legion, and as a high school coach. He also loved fishing and his morning coffee with friends at Einstein's Bagels.Blake is survived by his two children, William Blake Willis, Jr (Danitza), of Tucson; Lisa Foster (Doug), of Tucson, and his two grandchildren, Reid and Larkyn Foster. He is also survived by his brother, Renouf C. "Renny" Willis of Scottsdale. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to Win The Fight WTF! Cancer Foundation. Memorial Services will be held on Friday, December 20 at First Baptist Church of Scottsdale at 11:00. Military Burial will be held at 2:30 at National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona. Arrangements entrusted to Messinger Indian School Mortuary.
7601 E. Indian School Road Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Published in The Arizona Republic on Dec. 15, 2013