Willard A. McFarland was a “Big Man” in my eyes, although small in his own.
On July 25, he went home peacefully to be with the Lord after 93 blessed years of life.
He was a man of strong principles and a loving heart, a man committed to his wife, family, friends, and the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a hard worker and led a simple and joyful life. He was a Great Grand-Dad!
Willard was born in Nevisdale, Whitley County, Ky., on Oct. 15, 1918, to Edward W. McFarland and Elizabeth Grubb-McFarland. He was the baby, with two older brothers, Pascal and Tom, and two older sisters, Marie and Maxie, who have all preceded him in death.
The family lived in and around southern Kentucky and northeast Tennessee from Valley Creek, Pruden, Eagen, Rockhold and Clarifield. He and his family worked in the coal mines of King Mountain, Jellico, and Blue Diamond, and the L&N Railroad.
Attending various grammar schools, Willard was a good student and had a sharp mind until his death. He graduated from Eagen’s High School and then from Jellico in 1935.
He started work in an electrical shop, where he started at 50 cents an hour when he married the love of his life, Pauline Evans. They enjoyed 55 faithful and happy years together. They had one son, Willard Gerald, of whom he was very proud of.
He also worked at Y-12 until early retirement.
Willard and Pauline enjoyed many good years in Eagen amidst the challenges. They worked hard, honored God and attended church as a family. Willard was a pitcher and spent leisure time playing baseball. He played through the ’30s, ’40s, and 1950-51 for Stearns, Eagen, and Middlesboro, where they won two state titles while Pauline played on Eagen’s women’s softball too.
His excellent work ethics and skill opened a job for him as an electrician at Union Carbide in the early ’50s where he received recognition on a number of occasions for a job well done at Y-12.
Willard and Pauline liked to travel when possible and particularly enjoyed God’s wonderful creation. A simple picnic, a walk by the stream, or a drive to see all the fall colors were pleasurable.
Willard retired over 25 years later and cared for Pauline with Parkinson’s disease at home for a number of years before her passing in 1995. He thanked God for his wonderful wife, mother, and grandmother.
Willard then gave more of his time to his relationship with God, his local church, and church family at Woodland Park Baptist. He appreciated all of those that have served as pastors and dear friends through the years. Willard really liked traveling with the seniors on day trips to various places, being instrumental in remodeling, fixing things, supporting, praying, visiting the sick regularly, teaching his Sunday school class, going out with the R.O.M.E.O club to eat (Retired. Old. Men. Eating. Out.) and the ladies came too , and spending many hours weekly with his great friend and sweetheart of his golden age, Sybil Wallace. She filled his later years with joy.
His “favorite” (only) granddaughter, Kim, loves him dearly. She and her husband have been pastoring in northeast Nevada for 15 years. Granddad has always been an encouragement and inspiration to her. They always had a special bond.
For about 40 years, he has called her faithfully to give support and love, sometimes wisdom, direction, or correction. He drove miles and even across the nation in his 80s to visit her family and to show his support. He even sent money when she needed it. Taught her to be responsible, be faithful, forgive, get rid of those credit cards, study hard, and serve the Lord, and for that she will be forever grateful. (Thank you so much, GrandPap! I love you always!)
He built his house upon the rock. (Luke 6:47-48) He is a rock worth recognizing and remembering!
Willard was preceded in death by his parents; siblings; his wife, Pauline; his son, Willard Gerald; and many of his friends and other family members.
He is survived by his granddaughter, Kimberly Lynn; grandson-in-law, John Prewitt; great-grandchildren, Johnna Lynn (Mike) Dorning, Laura Ann (Nick) Pacheco, Joy Beth Prewitt, and Austin Neil Prewitt; great-great-grandchildren, (Johnna and Mike’s) Brody, Jemma and Maddox; sister-in-law, Betty Justice of Farragut; niece, Shirley Rice and her family of Lafollette, Anna Lou Wheeling of Knoxville, Bobby Jack McFarland of Texas; and a number of other nieces, nephews, cousins, and many good friends.
In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation to Woodland Park Baptist Church, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, or charitable organization of your choice.
The family will receive friends Monday, July 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Weatherford Mortuary. The funeral will follow at 7 p.m. with Pastor John Prewitt of the Great Adventure Harvest Church of Spring Creek, Nev., and Pastor Tim Kimsey of Woodland Park Baptist Church officiating.
A graveside service will be held on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Oak Ridge Memorial Park in the Garden of the Last Supper.
An online guest book can be signed at www.weatherfordmortuary.com.