By Willis                                            H.C.R. No. 179
       74R11494 T
                              HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
    1-1        WHEREAS, The passing of former Representative Phillip
    1-2  LaFrance Willis on 27 January 1995, at the age of 76, has brought a
    1-3  great loss to the people of Texas and to the many relatives and
    1-4  friends of this World War II hero; and
    1-5        WHEREAS, A native Texan, he was born in Kaufman, County, on 2
    1-6  August 1918, the son of Alvin Samuel Willis, a school teacher, and
    1-7  Eliza Jane Phillips, whose family were early 19th Century settlers
    1-8  in Kaufman County; and
    1-9        WHEREAS, Upon graduation from the University of North Texas,
   1-10  this young Texan entered the USAF Cadet Training School at Randolph
   1-11  Field in October, 1940, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant at Brooks
   1-12  Field Class 41F in August, 1941, and was assigned to the USAF,
   1-13  Bellows Field, Hawaii; and
   1-14        WHEREAS, Phil was to have married his sweetheart Marilyn
   1-15  Stubblefield, of San Antonio, Texas, in Hawaii, Christmas, 1941,
   1-16  but on December 7th, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and nearby
   1-17  air bases, prompting Mr. Willis to help defend his base; and
   1-18        WHEREAS, He then flew one of the two planes from Bellows
   1-19  Field that became airborne that day; however, his plane was
   1-20  destroyed during the second attack; and
   1-21        WHEREAS, He was then assigned as ranking officer to a Beach
   1-22  Patrol near Pearl Harbor, and on daybreak, 8 December, 1941, Phil
   1-23  Willis captured the United States' first Japanese prisoner of war
   1-24  in World War II, Naval Lieutenant Kazuo Sakamaki, the surviving
    2-1  member of a two-man Japanese suicide submarine caught on a reef;
    2-2  and
    2-3        WHEREAS, Phil Willis immediately volunteered and became a
    2-4  four-engine B-17 Bomber pilot and in June, 1942, during the Battle
    2-5  of Midway, he and his crew were credited with sinking a large
    2-6  Japanese troop ship, thereby earning the Silver Star for Gallantry
    2-7  in Action; and
    2-8        WHEREAS, Throughout his military service, Mr. Willis went on
    2-9  to receive a plethora of medals and decorations including the
   2-10  Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster,
   2-11  the Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster, the World War
   2-12  II Victory Medal, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Bronze
   2-13  Star, the Air Force Combat Readiness Medal, the Joint Service
   2-14  Achievement Medal, and the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal, along
   2-15  with eight theater and service medals; and
   2-16        WHEREAS, Returning to the United States, he married Marilyn
   2-17  on 30 August 1943, and the couple were blessed with two beautiful
   2-18  daughters, Linda Willis Pipes and Rosemary Wills Roach, and four
   2-19  grandchildren; and
   2-20        WHEREAS, By the time he was retired for combat disabilities
   2-21  from the USAF, he had risen to the rank of major; he was later
   2-22  elected, along with his brother, Doyle Willis also a decorated WWII
   2-23  veteran, to the Texas Legislature, where both brothers share the
   2-24  distinction of being the only siblings to have served two
   2-25  consecutive terms together in the Texas House of Representatives;
   2-26  and
   2-27        WHEREAS, As a member of the Texas Legislature, Mr. Willis
    3-1  served with honor and distinction, chairing the Committee on
    3-2  Constitutional Amendments and sponsoring several important pieces
    3-3  of legislation dealing with agriculture, veterans, education and
    3-4  senior citizens; and
    3-5        WHEREAS, Upon his retirement from legislative service,
    3-6  Mr. Willis settled his family in San Antonio and became President
    3-7  and CEO of Phil Willis, Company, a Real Estate Brokerage Company,
    3-8  and he was also a Builder and Developer; and
    3-9        WHEREAS, Driven by his strong sense of community spirit,
   3-10  Mr. Willis served his friends and neighbors in Bexar County as a
   3-11  member of the San Antonio Zoning and Planning Commission; the San
   3-12  Antonio Board of Realtors; and in 1952, was named the San Antonio
   3-13  Junior Chamber of Commerce's Outstanding Young Man; and
   3-14        WHEREAS, The 1960s saw the Phil Willis family move to Dallas,
   3-15  where Mr. Willis established himself as a real estate broker,
   3-16  specializing in farm and ranch land, and served on the Dallas Board
   3-17  of Realtors and the Texas Association of Realtors; and
   3-18        WHEREAS, Phil Willis, a member of the Christian Church,
   3-19  Kaufman, Texas, was also a valued civic leader with memberships in
   3-20  the Bloomfield Masonic Lodge No. 112, Kaufman, Texas, the Scottish
   3-21  Rite and Hella Temple, Dallas, Texas, a former member of Alzafar
   3-22  Shrine and the Mounted Sons of the Desert, San Antonio, Texas; the
   3-23  Sons of Confederate War Veterans; the Sons of the Republic of
   3-24  Texas; was a close friend of United States Speaker Sam Rayburn; and
   3-25  presided as Precinct Election Judge in the Democratic Party.
   3-26  People said Phil Willis was "A democrat without prefixes, suffixes
   3-27  or apologies," and
    4-1        WHEREAS, Phil was also a member of various veterans
    4-2  organizations, including the American Legion Post #0165, Kaufman,
    4-3  Texas, a Life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #6796,
    4-4  Dallas, Texas; Life member and served as President of the North
    4-5  Texas Chapter 4 of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association; The
    4-6  Greater Dallas Veterans Council, The Retired Officers Association,
    4-7  The Greater Dallas Retired Officers Association; The 31st Bomb
    4-8  Squadron (H), the 11th Bomb Group (H), the 5th Bomb Group (H)
    4-9  Association, Inc., and the Military Order of the World Wars
   4-10        WHEREAS, Throughout his life, Phillip LaFrance Willis earned
   4-11  the respect and of all who were knew him; a man of great character,
   4-12  determination, and courage, his memory will live on for years to
   4-13  come through the lasting legacy of achievement he leaves behind;
   4-14  now, therefore, be it
   4-15        RESOLVED, That the 74th Legislature of the State of Texas
   4-16  hereby pay tribute to the life and service of the Honorable Phillip
   4-17  LaFrance Willis, and extend deepest sympathy to his wife of 51
   4-18  years, Marilyn Willis, and extend deepest sympathy to his children,
   4-19  Linda Willis Pipes and Rosemary Willis Roach, and extend deepest
   4-20  condolences to his brother and our esteemed colleague, the
   4-21  Honorable Doyle Willis; and be it further
   4-22        RESOLVED, That an official copy of this resolution be
   4-23  prepared for the members of his family and that when the Texas
   4-24  House of Representatives adjourns this day, it do so in memory of a
   4-25  former esteemed colleague, Phillip LaFrance Willis.