Donald Lawrence Willyard passed away on February 28, 2019. Mr. Willyard was born in Barry County, MO on September 21, 1935. His parents, Lawrence and Velma (Stever) Willyard, were farmers and owners of a General Merchandise at Viola, MO. He is survived by his loving wife, Sharon, sons, Jeff (Anita) Willyard, Lee’s Summit, MO; Craig (Amy) Willyard, Greenwood, MO; and Derek (Debbie) Willyard, Saint Albans, MO; Sisters, Colleen Aufdembrink, Lee’s Summit, MO and Dorothy Shell, Benicia, CA; Brother, Bob (Bobbie) Willyard, Lone Jack, MO; Three grandchildren, Vanessa & Lance, Lee’s Summit, MO, & Cole, Saint Albans, MO. He was preceded in death by one brother, Shirley Willyard, of Golden, MO.
Mr. Willyard attended rural schools, graduating from Blue Eye H.S. (Mo.) in 1953. He served in the United States Marine Corps, in 1954-57. He attended Southwest Missouri State University in 1957 – 59 and transferred to Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) at Rolla in 1960, graduating with a B.S. (1962) and M.S. (1965) in Electrical Engineering. During college he earned membership on the Dean’s Honor List, Outstanding Electrical Engineering – Senior Award, and Honor Society memberships in Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, and Phi Kappa Phi.
After three years as Instructor of Electrical Engineering at his alma mater, his professional career included various engineering, manufacturing, and management positions, with companies in Dallas, TX, Kansas City, MO, and Albuquerque and Los Alamos, NM. He retired in 2000. He was a Registered Professional Engineer, and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEEE). He served his profession in several positions, including General Chairman of the IEEE Electronics Components Conference; Editorial Board – IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing; Author and Guest Editor of other professional publications. In 1988, he was elected to the Academy of Electrical Engineering at the University of Missouri – Rolla, later serving as President of this organization. In 1991, Mr. Willyard was chosen for a one-year IEEE-Congressional Fellowship and served as a Legislative Aide and Science Advisor to Congressman Steve Schiff (NM) on the U.S. House of Representatives, Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
Mr. Willyard’s many service organization activities included Jaycees, Kiwanis, YMCA Board of Directors, Boy Scout – Institutional Representative, Parks and Recreation Board, Zoning Adjustments Board, Tax Increment Financing Board, Youth Soccer Coach, Junior – Basketball Coach, and Board Member and President of three Home Owner Associations. He served as Moderator and Deacon at Oakwood Baptist Church, Kansas City. Mr. Willyard was also interested and active in politics, elected to the Lee’s Summit (MO) City Council – three terms, and mayorpro tem, two terms. He was elected Prairie Township Committeeman – two terms, and served as President of the Lee’s Summit Republican Club and as Chairman of the Jackson County (Mo) Club. He also was elected as a delegate to the Missouri State Republican Convention three times, and to the Texas State Republican Convention in 2004. In 1984, Mr. Willyard was a delegate to the National GOP Convention in Dallas, TX.
After his retirement and relocation to the Texas Hill Country in 2000, he continued his public service on various local committees, including board member and president of Spring Branch Fire & Rescue, and Commissioner, Emergency Services District #4, Comal County, TX. Throughout his life, Mr. Willyard maintained a love for the outdoors, and particularly his experiences and heritage of growing up in the rural Missouri Ozarks.
Visitation will be at Langsford Funeral Home in Lee’s Summit, MO, on March 5, 2019 from 12:00 until 2:00 pm. Graveside Service followed by interment at Lee’s Summit Historical Cemetery.