Born to Papa Jeff and Momma Willie Jones in a place known for its majestic Missouri River, and tree-lined bluffs as Jefferson City, Missouri with seven brothers and one sister, who preceded her in death.
True to the agricultural spunkiness of any Midwesterner, even though she had been a transplant to Waco, Texas for over sixty years, Willa loved her collard greens with neckbones as well as red beans (Pinto) with a helping of corn bread and maybe a scoop of homemade potato salad on the side. Her culinary skills were impeccable. The children would come from miles around -- at various special holidays -- for some good old fashion home cooking of chitlin's, spaghetti, greens, corn bread dressing, ham, turkey, fried chicken, banana pudding and sweet potato pie - hmmm-mm good.
Not only was she skilled at cooking her specialties, but she could play a mean game of Bid Wiz (Whist) and dared you to bid over head, before she would say you reneged. She also loved, "Texas Hold Em." Lotto Games, and not to mention watching twenty bingo cards, while sipping on a Diet Pepper, then shouting out "BINGO." Then again, Willa was always full of zest, and life when it came to her job with the Veterans Administration Hospital where she worked as an LVN, before it was renamed the Doris Miller Medical Center. She was so enthused, she had her two daughters working for the same institution, in various career fields. She retired after a zestful career of 32 years. Willa served with AFGE Local 1822 as Chief Steward serving for a number of years and continued to work as a Chief Steward after her retirement until her health declined..
As The World Turns, Guiding Light and All My Children were her favorite soaps. Willa was preceded in death by her first husband, Bobby Higgs Jr. and John R. Thornton. Speaking of children, Willa leaves to mourn in her loss; seven adult children, Bobby Dean Higgs (Jamie), Dr. Mary Ann Higgs Spicer (Jack), Jeannie Higgs McKinney (Willie), Jacquelyn Higgs Stinnett (Warren), Doris Higgs Tucker (Harvey), Dr. Ronnie Higgs (Julia), Chris Thornton (Jessica) and one adopted granddaughter, Alycia Thornton.
Each of her children bearing off springs nestling a plethora of grandchildren, nieces, nephews, with more greats and grands to bear witness to a loss of a faithful servant, who was never satisfied with mediocrity in education, public service or a citizen's duty to keep pushing the other to higher ground.
It is here and now -- that Willa B. Thornton is resting in the arms of angels, as she moves up a little higher in a peaceful place with grace.
Special thanks to Senior Care Nursing Home, especially Kim, Demetria, Valerie, Patrick, Lg, and Cindy. Also, a special thanks to Interim Hospice Nurses, Nicole and Sarah.
Thanks to Chaplain Kara for all her prayers and kindness toward our Mother.
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