Sondra Kay Willis passed away on February 19, 2020. We will celebrate her life of 73 years at 11:30 am on Saturday, February 22, 2020, at Lake Ridge Chapel and Memorial Designers. Friends are invited to share memories and expressions of sympathy for the family to cherish in the area below the obituary.
Sondra was born on November 10, 1946 in Enid, OK, as the youngest child of Orval and Elsie Spradley. The good Lord paved the way for Sondra and her older brother, Larry, to become Texan as fast as He could when the family relocated to Houston. Her early years in South Texas were eclipsed by the even better ones to come when her family moved to Abilene. As the smart, pretty, new girl from the big city, Sondra formed fast friendships that endured a lifetime. At Abilene High, she was a scholar, cheerleader, vocalist, and even as a sophomore, she was voted homecoming queen. Abilene is where she met and fell in love with the man who would later become her husband and lifelong partner, Ted Willis. Although she was accepted to Julliard, after graduating from Abilene High School in 1963, Sondra went off to TCU where she was active in her Tri Delta sorority and singing in a band. She went on to earn a Master in Education from Texas Tech and valued the pursuit of knowledge for the duration of her life. On January 21, 1967, Sondra married Ted. While he was launching his illustrious career in the Texas Governor’s Office, she launched her own in the classroom teaching English literature. Together, she and Ted had three children: Wendy, Tiffany, and Cory. For them, she was the quintessential homeroom mom, baseball bleacher screamer, and Girl Scout troop leader. A devoted wife and mother, she maintained stability for their family as Ted’s career in public service took them to cities across Texas. Her erudite love of literature, the arts, and travel was a perfect compliment to Ted’s more “meat & potatoes” sensibilities. She was the fancy to his plain and simple approach to life and he remained her greatest admirer until he took his last breath just three years ago. Upon the birth of their first and only grandson, Truman Creighton, Ted and Sondra relocated to Lubbock. Soon after they moved to West Texas, their only granddaughter, Harper Leigh was born. Ted and Sondra remained permanent, active fixtures in the lives of these two children. Sondra’s heroic and selfless love is evidenced by her endless devotion to Ted, whose long-term illness cast a shadow on their marriage for twenty years. However, as a couple, they did not allow sickness to define their existence. Even when Sondra was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, her quiet suffering was an example of perseverance to all. Following Ted’s death in 2017, Sondra was saturated in the love and kindness of her many friends, notably the Abilene gang, her book club ladies, her Bible study sisters, and her art class buddies. She was able to enjoy travel including an epic vacation to France where she was moved to tears by the sight of the Mona Lisa and filled with joy by the lavender fields of Provence. Her untimely and sudden passing has left a void in the lives of many, but her legacy of love and grace endures.
Survivors include her children, Wendy and husband Dr. Nevan Baldwin of Middleburg, VA, Cory and wife Leigh Ann Willis of Dallas, TX and Tiffany Willis of Lubbock, TX; grandchildren, Truman Roberts and Harper Leigh Roberts; a brother, Larry and wife Treva Spradley; and a sister-in-law, Karen Willis.