August 17, 1929 ~ October 17, 2022
Wildrose, North Dakota
Resided in: College Station , Texas
Willis Lokken of College Station, Texas, (“Dedaw”, to his grandchildren), passed away peacefully on the morning of October 17, 2022, with family and friends around him. Visitation will be 5:30-6:30 PM on Friday, October 28, at Callaway Jones Funeral Home, Bryan, Texas, followed by Rosary at 6:30 PM. The memorial mass will be held at 10:30 AM on Saturday, October 29, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Bryan, Texas.
Willis was born near Wildrose, North Dakota, the youngest of the nine children of Ole Lokken and Mary Tesnes Lokken. Willis and his brothers and sisters shared many happy stories and a few sad ones of life and times on the farm. The Lokken family was remarkably musically talented, with everyone playing an instrument or singing. It was on the farm that Willis became a good singer, as well as a lover of animals, especially dogs and horses. He attended school in Hamlet, then moved across the state to attend Wahpeton Science (North Dakota State College of Science), earning an Associate’s Degree in Printing. After graduation, he joined the United States Air Force, and was stationed near Waco, Texas, where he became life-long friends with Joe Bittenbinder. It was on a blind date set up by Joe that Willis met his future wife, Polly, Joe’s sister. Polly had traveled on the train from Dickinson, North Dakota, to Texas just to meet Willis. Polly and Willis were married a short time later on June 1, 1953, in Dickinson, and eventually moved together to Waco, Texas.
Willis and Polly raised four children in Waco, and were active in St. Louis Catholic Church and School and the Knights of Columbus. Willis put his baritone singing voice to work in the St. Louis Adult Choir for many years, and he and Polly both served in various other roles at the church. He worked at a local printing and advertising firm, first running printing presses, then moving into estimating, bidding and management. Willis’ life revolved around home, family, and friends; he even came home for lunch, a nap, and “the story” practically every weekday of his working life. He enjoyed simplicity, and he had a way of just getting things done without complaining. In the words of one of his sons-in-law, Willis didn’t need to be right, and he didn’t need to be the center of attention. Without a lot of fanfare, he enjoyed helping anyone with hard work or projects, big or small. He knew how to walk alongside the people in his life.
Willis wasn’t a large guy, but his dedication and devotion to his family were enormous. As a young father, he still wrote letters to his own mom in North Dakota, filling her in on news of the kids. Each of his kids has memories of the particular ways that Dad made them feel loved and noticed in a big family. Willis and Polly stayed connected over the years to adult kids, grandkids, and extended family by just getting in the car and driving over to see them, whether they lived an hour away or three days away. A soccer game, a graduation, or a school play was reason enough to simply be there with family members.
After retiring and spending more than 50 years in Waco, Polly and Willis relocated in 2010 to College Station, Texas, to live near their youngest daughter and her family. Willis and Polly were thrilled to live across the street from their adult granddaughters for several years. Willis didn’t seem to miss a beat, quickly learning his way around a new town, taking care of their yard, and helping with projects any time someone had a need. He stayed busy and physically active his entire life. Married for over 61 years, he faithfully and quietly cared for Polly and took on new roles around the house as her health declined.
Willis was preceded in death by his wife Polly, his parents, sisters, brothers, his good friend and brother-in-law Joe Bittenbinder, other brothers-in-law, several sisters-in-law, and several nephews and nieces.
He is survived by his sister-in-law Mary Vrana Bittenbinder; daughter Sonja (Gary) Hobson, son Mike (Charlie) Lokken, daughter Terry (Steve) Moses, daughter Patty (Barry) Veazey; grandchildren Daniel Hobson, Nicholas Moses, Brian (Jessica) Hobson, Morgan (Courtney) Moses, Molly Veazey (Colby) Bohac, Kimberly Veazey (Michael) Daniel, Alex Lokken, Drew (Claire) Veazey, and Grant Lokken; great-grandchildren Michael, John, Angela, Eva, Paige, Brooks, Brooke, Penelope, and Theodore; many beloved nieces and nephews.
The entire family would like to thank his faithful friends and past caregivers Bre, Emily, Kaylie, Lexi, PJ, Sam, and Tori; Meshia Smith of Anointed Care Home for her kind-heartedness and devotion to our dad; all the staff and dedicated caregivers, past and present, at Anointed Care Home of Bryan.
The family also thanks Encompass and Enhabit Hospice for their years of wonderful care for Dad and for our family, especially Alexa, Amy, Brent, Bruce, Danyale, Dawn, Kay-Lynn, Dr. Mamigonian, Norma, and Yecika.
In lieu of flowers, monetary donations can be made in memory of Willis Lokken to Anointed Private Care Home, ℅ Meshia Smith, PO Box 6266, Bryan, TX 77805; and/or Enhabit Hospice, 3600 State Highway 6 South, Suite 100, College Station, TX, 77845
Arrangements are being coordinated by Callaway Jones Funeral Home in Bryan, Texas.
Express condolences at CallawayJones.com