Elmer Edward Willman, Sr., of Lonoke, AR passed away peacefully Sunday morning, May 27, 2018. At 96, Elmer met his Savior while surrounded by his children and grandchildren.
One of five children, he was born November 16, 1921 and married his high school sweetheart, Zana Bell High on December 12, 1943.
Loved and respected by his community, Elmer was a United States Army Airforce Veteran. He spent many years as a flight instructor in Oklahoma and served his country during WWII as a Crew Chief for the P-51 Mustang. Colonel Heath “Bo” Bottomly, who piloted the plane once said that Elmer was the best crew chief he ever worked with and refused to transfer locations unless the Airforce sent Elmer with him.
After the war, he returned to Lonoke and settled into the comfortable life of a cotton farmer. A life-long member of Caney Creek Baptist Church, he served as a Deacon and Sunday School Superintendent. He also served on the School Board for Lonoke Public Schools.
Everything Elmer did was in service to something or someone else: his country, his church, his community, and his family. He did it all with humility and gratitude. He took pride in his family. Never one to brag, he rarely spoke of his own accomplishments. When asked, his greatest accomplishments were his family and his land.
Elmer was preceded in death by his parents, William and Amelia Willman; his beloved wife, Zana Bell (High) Willman; one brother Lloyd Willman; and three sisters Helen Willman, Ethel Baker and Gladys Holmes all of Lonoke, AR.
He is survived by his daughters: Judy (George) Bailey of Lonoke, Joyce (Michael) Selig of North Little Rock, and Susan Anderson of North Carolina; and one son Elmer Willman, Jr., of Lonoke. Elmer will be remembered by his nine grandchildren: Shelley (Larry) Clark, Dale (Amanda) Colclasure, Stacy (Donnie) Crain, Jennifer (Kevin) Ryker, Ryan (Kristen) Anderson, Sally (Greg) Dugger, Matt (Coleen) Anderson, Amber (Jeremy) May, and Emily (Adam) Sloan, and eighteen great-grandchildren.
While Elmer will be missed, his family chooses to celebrate the life he led and invites you to join them for Visitation at Boyd Funeral Home in Lonoke, AR on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 5:00-7:00 P.M., or for the Memorial Service at Caney Creek Baptist Church in Lonoke, AR at 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, May 31, a graveside service will follow at Lonoke Cemetery.
Elmer never let a family member leave his house without a hug and a statement to “Be Sweet.” Many of us would laugh and promise to try. It took years for the reality to set in that he was reminding us that attitude and behavior was a choice. He knew we would struggle and experience the ups and downs of life. He knew that he couldn’t protect us from everything as much as he might want to. He was advising us to choose the high road and choose kindness. He spent his life imparting to us the best life lesson he knew. Donations made to Lonoke Cemetery, P.O. Box 761, Lonoke, AR 72086. Online guestbook, www.boydfuneralhome.net.
Be Sweet, Elmer