Willis “Bill” L. Harlan


Funeral services for Willis “Bill” L. Harlan, Plano, TX (formerly of Lawrence, KS) will be held at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, July 9, 2015, at Warren-McElwain Mortuary. His burial honoring his military service and celebrating his life will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence, KS. The family will greet friends at noon, one hour prior to the service.

Our devoted husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather passed away Friday, June 26, 2015, in Plano, TX at the age of 97. Bill was born March 24, 1918, in Cambridge, KS, the son of William M. and Esther B. (Brown). He married Velma A. Cobb on December 22, 1943, in Glendale, California. They shared 71 years together. Surviving to honor his memory are his beloved wife Velma, and their three children, Gary S. Harlan of Denver, CO, Marsha B. Johnson of McKinney, TX and W. Michael Harlan of Plano, TX, and their families including five grandchildren, two great grandsons, cousins, nieces and nephews. His sister, Phyllis McEldowney, preceded him in death.

Bill graduated in 1941 with a B.S. in Business from the University of Kansas. While at KU, he was a member of the Concert and Marching Band. He later graduated from the U.S. Navy program from Northwestern University. He was commissioned ensign to the US Navy in 1942. During World War II, he served as Lieutenant Commander and navigator of the USS A0-SS Cimarron and also APA Log Grafton until 1945. After his military service, he had a forty-year career in sales and management with the Cook Paint & Varnish Company from which he retired in 1978. He showed his fervent passion for the Lord through his daily devotions. His tremendous love for music was demonstrated though his piano, organ, trumpet and barbershop genre accomplishments. He had a life long interest in the KU sports programs.

He was a member of the Lawrence Acacia #9 Masonic Lodge, ATO Fraternity, Lawrence Lions Club, Past President of the Optimist Club and Past President of SBEBSQSA, Springfield, MO; He was also a member of the Asbury Methodist Church in Wichita.

The family suggests memorials in his name to the Billy Graham Foundation, National Alzheimer’s Association or the American Red Cross. Donations may be sent in care of the Warren-McElwain Mortuary.

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