William was born November 29, 1926 at Sanger, California to Thomas O. and Esther Stinnett Willard. He grew up and attended school there, graduating from Sanger High School, class of 1945. He served in Korea for a time in the US Army.
William began his higher education, earning associates at Reedley College in 1947, Stanford University, and was married to Lauretta Audrey Frank at Reedley, CA on June 28, 1957. He continued his education at the University of Arizona, receiving his PhD in Cultural Anthropology in 1970. His specialty was Medical Anthropology, with an emphasis on the health problems of urban migration. He also studied the cultural effects of nuclear waste management. He taught and was in research there.
In 1976 he accepted a professorship at WSU. At the time of his death, he was completing a biography of Archie Phinney, the first Nez Perce to become director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He was still in his office working on publications until the day of his death and was in several Anthropological Societies.
Mrs. Willard preceded him in death in June of 2005. He is survived by his sons, William T. (Laura Van Houten) Willard of Shoreline, WA and Peter F. Willard of Pullman. He also leaves his grandchildren, Samuel, Audrey and Ethan.
A private graveside service was held at the Moscow Cemetery. A celebration of his life will be held on the Washington State University Campus later in the spring.
Memorial donations may be made to the Anthropology Development Fund via the WSU Anthropology website. http://libarts.wsu.edu/anthro/AwardsandScholarships/IWanttogive.html
Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel, Moscow, and online condolences may be sent to www.shortsfuneralchapel.net.