Jul 292011

Ira Lamar Willis, 83, passed through the veil on Saturday, July 23, 2011, with his family at his side. He was at home on the ranch where he had lived for 64 years. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 30, at the Snowflake Main Street Chapel, with a visitation beginning at 9 a.m. There will also be time to visit with the Willis family from 6 to 8 o’clock tonight at the Owens Livingston Mortuary Snowflake Heritage Chapel. Interment will be in the R.V. “Mike” Ramsay Cemetery in Snowflake following the funeral services.

He was born on the Willis homestead in Snowflake to Vern and Pearl Willis on Nov. 30, 1927.

He was a rancher and farmer all of his life. He and his dad farmed the homestead and acquired the T-Bar Ranch when Ira was 7 years old, and Concho Flat Ranch when he was 19 years old. Ira was involved with the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, the Navajo County Farm Bureau and spent countless hours on the Snowflake Irrigation District Governing Board. In March 2011 he was inducted into the Arizona Rancher-Farmer Hall of Fame. Ira loved good horses, good cattle and most of all he loved his family.

Survivors include his wife, Rita Fletcher Willis; daughters, Roma Lee (Phil) Hiatt, Lea (the late Greg) Egnor, Melanee (Ben) Rearden and Jackie (Lloyd) Parker, and a son Lamar (Robin) Willis; Kent (Kim) Fletcher, Richard (Donna) Fletcher and Janet (Kyle) Duran; 27 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Swanee; son, Reaves; and great-grandson, Jackson.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association Litigation Fund, 1401 N. 24th St., Suite 4, Phoenix, Ariz. 85008.

Owens Livingston Mortuary of Snowflake was in charge of the arrangements.