Gary Willmon

Gary Willmon, 51, of Nacogdoches, was born April 2, 1957, in Lufkin, Texas, the son of Flora Lee (Watts) and Cecil Raymond Willmon. Gary passed away Wednesday, May 21, 2008, following a long battle with Crohn's disease.

Gary's career spanned three decades, during which he won a number of awards. He began working for the Lufkin Daily News in 1975 as a freelancer and joined the sports staff full-time in 1976, and was editor until 1989. He moved to the Free Press in Diboll before returning to the Lufkin Daily News as city editor in 2005.

Gary was a member of the International Church of Nacogdoches. He was a volunteer working in SFA Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship for 33 years, volunteered with the Glory Gang Childrens' Ministry at International Church of Nacogdoches for 9 years, and was a deacon and worship leader in his church. The Willmon International Student Ministry Center at SFA in 2007 was named in honor of Gary and Pattie for their many years of voluntary service.

Survivors include his wife, Pattie Willmon of Nacogdoches; sister, Barbara Roos of Kosciusko, MS; brother, Bill Willmon of Fossill, OR; sisters-in-law, JoAnn Willmon of Lufkin and Diane Willmon of Humble; and many nieces, nephews and "children of his heart".

Gary was preceded in death by his brothers, Don Willmon and Ray Willmon; and his parents, Flora Lee (Watts) and Cecil Raymond Willmon.

Pallbearers will be John Grigsby, David Roos, Eric Willmon, Ronald Willmon, Royce Willmon and Mark Cline.

Services for Gary will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, May 24, 2008, in the Gipson Funeral Home Chapel, with Pastor Dennis D. Land officiating. Interment will follow in the Gann Cemetery.

Friends are invited to visit with the family from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Friday evening at Gipson Funeral Home.

Gipson Funeral Home; Duane E. Hills, director