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.