Willard was born on his parent's farm near Lawrenceburg, Mo. He graduated from Metz High School and shortly after entered the military where he proudly served his country during World War II in the Southwest Pacific with the 41st Infantry and 501st Port Battalion. On his return, he married Marjorie and built his first home in Dighton, Kan., while working for Phillips Petroleum. In 1960, he returned to the farm life he loved near Lawrenceburg where he made many friends. He was a dairy farmer and handyman.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Marjorie Fitzpatrick Brown; three sons, Dudley Brown and Debbie of Ozark, Mo., Larry Brown and Cindy of Everton, Mo., and Kevin Brown and Mary of Miller, Mo.; three daughters, La Reva Newcomer and Jim of Springfield, Sue Wade and Scotty of Lee's Summit, Mo., and Carolyn Slavens and Kenny of Springfield. Willard loved and bragged to everyone about his 12 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Among his survivors are two sisters, Winnie Sue Stevenin of La Cygne, Kan., Wilma Compton of Spring Hill, Kan.; and a brother, John Henry and wife Norma of Richland, Mo. Preceding Willard in death were his parents John R. Brown and Lireva (Brown) Pinkman; a brother, Ernest "Bud" Brown; a son, Paul David; and a special grandson, Jeremy Brown. Special friends who will miss him include caregivers Carla Smith, Phyllis Toney and man's best friend, "Peanuts."
Funeral services were held at the Lawrenceburg United Methodist Church in Lawrenceburg, Mo., on Friday, Oct. 7, 2006. Burial with military rites was conducted at Dunkle Cemetery near Lawrenceburg. Willard was committed to the preservation of the historic Dunkle Cemetery where many of his friends and family members are buried. He served as past cemetery association board member and continued to attend annual association meetings as long as his health allowed. Memorial gifts may be made to the Dunkle Cemetery Association at P.O. Box 16, Halltown, MO 65664.