William Roy Willette Jr., 68, peacefully went home to be with the Lord on July 21, 2017 in Deer Park, Texas surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Houston, Texas to Bill and Damie (Estess) Willette on October 17, 1948. He graduated from Deer Park High School in 1967 before joining the U.S. Army.
Roy proudly served as a medic in Korea during the Vietnam War, during which time he received the National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and the U.S. Army Marksmanship Qualification Badge as a Sharpshooter (Rifle M-14). He later served his city as a Deer Park Volunteer Fire Fighter and Paramedic for many years and continued his passion for firefighting during his employment and later retirement from Solvay.
Roy will be remembered as a character in every sense of the word. You’d rarely catch him without his rebel flag hat on his head, which earned him the nick name “Rebel Roy.” You could often see him riding his scooter in his neighborhood, flag waving in the back, his beloved dog, Buddy, (always wearing a bandana so he looked cool) in his arms. He had an awesome sense of humor and had a joke for you every time you saw him or talked to him. He kept his favorites on little note pads he made from junk mail and staples in front of him at his kitchen work table—where every item had a particular place and needed to stay in that place when not being used. Roy was a great story teller too, and often told about his time at Solvay, in the army, and his firefighting days to his family, friends, and neighbors, especially Joey and Patricia Vestal and Liz Guyer.
He loved to cook gumbo (homemade roux of course) and red-eye gravy and rice (aw-haw) and enjoyed many years with friends on a cooking team. Roy’s passion for reading and etymology could be heard in every conversation, as his vocabulary was sophisticated and impressive. Piles of dictionaries and challenging crossword puzzle books were always in their “correct” spot on his kitchen work table.
The juxtaposition (he’d like that word) came when he’d switch into talking like Foghorn Leghorn right in the middle of one of those sophisticated conversations. That was him—it made everything even funnier. He was so silly and sweet, always trying to make others happy. Roy was definitely a giver and enjoyed supporting many charities that helped animals and people. He loved his children very much and was a good father. He shared his passion for music, mostly blues and jazz, with his son and never said good bye to his girls without giving them a “low one” instead of a high five.
Roy is preceded in death by his parents William Roy Willette Sr. and Damie Estess; aunt Lois Audry Davidson; and sister Marianne Rapp Murad.
He is survived by his loving children William Roy Willette III “Tre” and wife Jenny of Magnolia, Monica Frederick and husband Davy of Deer Park, and Michelle Humphries of Pasadena; grandchildren Reyna and Will Willette, Cameron and Caden Frederick, and Landon Maness; devoted mother Dorothy Willette of La Porte; brothers Michael Ray Willette of Livingston, James Roy Sanders and wife Eva of Trinity, Mike Sanders of Trinity, Joe Sanders and wife Dorothy Ann of Cleburne, and Glenn Sanders and wife Sherry of Cleburne; cousins Peggy Papageorgiou of Houston, Robert Owens of La Porte, and Larry Owens of Portland, OR; several nephews and a niece.
Memorial Services will be held at 11 am on Saturday, July 29th in the Chapel of Deer Park Funeral Directors with Pastor Jon Redmond officiating. Interment will take place at the Houston National Cemetery with Military Funeral Honors privately at a later date.
The family asks that you always “wear your seatbelt and watch for intersections”. Roy never said goodbye without saying those words. He would love that.