Norman Bailey Willey, long-time resident of Uvalde, Texas, passed away in San Antonio on July 5, 2018.
N.B. (or as he frequently called himself, Napoleon Bonaparte/None Better) was born on November 16, 1919 to Henry Lee and Alva Butler Willey in Texla, Texas. He was the youngest of 14 children, growing up at the end of a little dirt road in the piney woods of east Texas. He was raised by a single mother, after his father died when he was six, who insisted that he get a college education. N.B. arrived at Texas A&M College at the age of 16, working throughout his time there to pay his way through both a bachelor's degree, class of 1940, and master's degree in Animal Husbandry.
In the summer of 1939, N.B. met Ethel Mae McCormick, when she was chaperoning a group of 4-H Clubers at the annual 4-H Roundup, held at Texas A&M College. N.B. waited tables in the mess hall that summer, where their romance began. N.B. and Ethel married June 22, 1942, in spite of WWII.
N.B. served in the U.S. Navy during World War II aboard the USS Howard DMS and the USS John Rodgers DD. N.B. reached the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy. He also served during the Korean War aboard the USS The Sullivans DD. He later retired from the U.S. Navy Reserves as a Captain.
N.B. spent the majority of his civilian life in Uvalde, where he and Ethel raised their daughter, Carolyn. He spent the better part of three decades with the Farm Credit Bureau, working with farmers and ranchers in the Uvalde area.
After 56 years of marriage, Ethel Mae passed away in 1998. N.B. later married long-time friend, Elvera Krivan, with whom he enjoyed 15 years of travel and companionship, before her passing in 2015.
N.B. was preceded in death by his parents, Henry Lee and Alva Butler Willey; first wife, Ethel Mae McCormick Willey; second wife, Elvera Krivan Willey; and all of his siblings.
N.B. is survived by daughter, Carolyn Willey Millsap and husband Bade of Bulverde, Texas; granddaughter Brandi Millsap Gomez and husband Steven of San Antonio, Texas; grandson Scott Millsap of Universal City, Texas; great grandchildren, Zachery Wygocki, Zoey Millsap, David Gomez, and Cristina Gomez; and many nieces and nephews.
N.B. saw great changes in the world across his lifetime. The world is a better place because he was here. He will be greatly missed, but we are at peace that he is once again reunited with Ethel Mae, his memories are restored, with stories to share (and he had some wonderful ones), surrounded by loved ones.
The family wishes to express their heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Franklin Park at TPC Parkway in San Antonio, whose loving and compassionate care allowed N.B. to spend his last years in comfort and health. The family is also grateful to Heart to Heart Hospice for their services in his final days.
A memorial service will be held at 10am on Monday, August 6th, at Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary in Uvalde, Texas. A reception and celebration of life will follow at the Family Center at the mortuary.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to the Alzheimer's Association of San Antonio, 10223 McAllister Fwy #100, San Antonio, Texas 78216, https://www.alz.org/sanantonio; or Heart to Heart Hospice, 1000 Central Parkway N #110, San Antonio, Texas 78232, http://hearttohearthospice.com/.
We miss you, Gawpa, but your spirit lives on through your stories and your legacy. Hug Granny tight for us all, and we love you!!
Brandi, Steven, David, and Cristina GomezSan Antonio, TX
We are sorry for your loss. Our prayers are with each of you.
Judge Bill and Katie MitchellUvalde, TX