Willis Arthur Lawrence

Willis Arthur Lawrence
Beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle, and friend. Willis, an Upland resident passed away on May 8th at 12:31 PM at the age of 92. He was born in Pomona on January 9, 1921, to Catherine and Arthur Lawrence. He grew up in Pomona and graduated from Pomona High School in 1940. Immediately before and after World War II, Willis worked for Lockheed Aircraft. He served in the Navy during the war, primarily aboard a Liberty Ship in the Pacific Theater as a member of the Armed Guard. After the war he returned to Pomona and continued his employment with Lockheed for a few years. In 1947 he contacted a minor illness and went to a clinic in Pomona where he met and fell in love with his nurse, Anna Mae Sheakley, who had recently moved west from Pennsylvania. One year later he and Mae (Masie) were married. They settled in Pomona where Willis (in 1950) began his thirty year career with General Telephone (GTE). He and Mae were blessed with four wonderful children (Bob, Bill, Dave, Lynda). Willis was a scout leader and sports- minded father. Summer vacations took the family all over the western United States in their family vacation trailer visiting National Parks, the beach, and the mountains. For the past thirty years, much of the family have had an annual fishing retreat at a beautiful old cabin in Mammoth Lakes, California, where many wonderful fishing and hiking memories were made. In 1980, Willis retired from General Telephone, and he began restoring his original family owned 1931 Model "A" Ford. After a couple short years of painstaking work, the car was on the road again; he and Mae joined Model "A" clubs in Pomona and Ontario and enjoyed many tours through the countryside. The highlight was in 1998 (the same year that they celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary) when Willis and Mae joined 26 other couples and cars for a month long tour. They all shipped their cars overseas and toured Western Europe. All of the club members had served in WW II, so were treated quite regally as they drove from village to village. Willis was also a member of the Independent Telephone Pioneers and served on its Board of Directors. Their emphasis was on volunteering in the local communities. He chose to work with the Braille Institute where he repaired recorders for many years. After Mae retired from her nursing career, the two of them began travelling extensively. They visited or cruised to Australia, New Zealand, the British Isles, Western Europe, Alaska and throughout the continental United States. Willis was an avid fisherman and especially enjoyed trips to Alaska, Mexico, and Costa Rica with his son-in-law, Pat, who is on the staff of the Western Outdoor News. He was also a member of the Claremont Club where he played racquetball well into his eighties. Willis was an active member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Upland. Willis was preceded in death by his parents (Catherine and Charles) and all five of his siblings (Guy, John, Lucille, Frances, and Frank). He is survived by Mae (his wife of nearly 65 years) and their four children: Bob (Diane) of Lompoc Bill (Jeff) of Newport BeachDavid (Peggy) of UplandLynda (Patrick) of CarlsbadNine grandchildren (John, Jodi, Matt, Bret, Brian, Bradley, Brandon, Megan, and Lauren) Seven great grandchildren (Zackary, Parker, Cole, Doran, Bode, Trent, Tanner) A Service and Celebration of Love will be held at Todd Memorial Chapel (570 N. Garey Ave. Pomona 91767) at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday May 15, 2013. The entonement will be held at the Pomona Valley Memorial Mausoleum. Memorial gifts may be given to the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Foundation, 1798 N. Garey Ave. Pomona, Ca 91767 or VNA Hospice at 150 West First Street, Claremont, Ca Suite 270 91711 or The Braille Institute of America, 741 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, Ca, 90024-9988

Funeral Home

Todd Memorial Chapel - Pomona Chapel
570 North Garey Avenue Pomona, CA 91767
(909) 622-1217

Published in Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on May 12, 2013