Obituary of James Wendell Wills
James “Jim” Wendell Wills, Sr. was born September 15, 1939, in Eagle Lake, Texas, to Henry S. Wills and Ruby (Tyler) Wills, and passed from this life on December 26, 2023, at the age of 84.
Jim attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Afterward, he enlisted into The United States Air Force and was member of the Eighth Air Force, which was one of two active duty numbered forces in the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command. Jim worked for the Tactical Air Command serving as an aeronautical draftsman working on missiles and gyroscopes. He was stationed in Lakenheath, England, a city just outside of London, for three years with additional tours in Tripoli North Africa.
Jim’s career with the Air Force led him to Houston, Texas, where he began a new chapter of his life with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He contributed to many of the Project Gemini Missions, and in 1969, Jim was part of the Apollo 11 missions for his contributions with the Lunar Space Module.
Later in life Jim moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma where he was an active member of the community, including The Knights of Columbus. He was an avid fan of The University of Oklahoma Sooners. For many years, he and his wife Faye held season tickets to the OU football games. He was also involved with many clubs and fraternal societies. His involvement with the Freemasons was very near and dear to his heart. Jim’s commitment with the Masons was extensive and led him to become a member of the Scottish Rite and continued onward to hold the highest level in the organization with his service as Grand Master Mason. He was involved with the Shriners International organization, Elks Lodge, American Legion and served on many boards, including banks and universities.
As a young man Jim won an Elvis Presley look-a-like contest and had all the ladies swooning over him. He enjoyed jokes and making other people laugh with his intelligent dry humor. When he was not out socializing, you could always catch Jim at home working on crossword puzzles while watching classic western television shows, such as Gun Smoke, Bat Masterson, The Rifleman, and many others. He was very funny with his dry humor and riddles. He loved vanilla ice cream, pecan pie, and his favorite song was Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”
Jim is preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Verda Faye (Hogan) Wills; and his sister, Carol Horn. He is survived by his sisters, Betty O’Reilly and Marjorie Webb; and his children and their spouses, Charlotte Clark-Kinsman & James (Jim) Kinsman, Lisa Tharp-Kent & William (Bill) Kent, Juli Wills, and James & Karen Wills, Jr.; and 7 grandchildren, Ronald Clark & Megan Clark, James Clark, William Clark, M. Kaitlyn Tharp, R. Carson Tharp, J.C. Reid Tharp and Rowan Wills.
Jim will lie in state from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 10th at the Ninde Brookside Funeral Home. His funeral will be held at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, January 11th at the Memorial Park Cemetery Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to be made in Jim’s honor to the Shriners Hospital for Children at https://lovetotherescue.org and/or the Scottish Rite Hospital for Children at https://scottishriteforchildren.org
Ninde Funeral & Cremation | (918) 742-5556 | www.ninde.com