Mon, June 01

Robert E. Willard 1931 - 2011

Robert Edward (Bob) Willard

Robert Edward (Bob) Willard

Robert Edward (Bob) Willard of Cottonwood, Arizona died on Monday October 17 at age 80. He was born in Jerome, Arizona on August 16, 1931 to Donald Brian Willard and Ruth Ann Yates Willard. The family moved to Cottonwood when Bob was two years old. The Willards were a pioneer family in Cottonwood and Sedona. Bob attended K through 12 at Clemenceau School in Cottonwood and went on to Lamoni, Iowa, where he attended Graceland College until his education was interrupted by an automobile accident.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1955 to become a pilot. After his service of five years he returned to Sedona and owned an operated Sedona Hardware with his first wife, Minnie Jane Steele, from another pioneer family. While they had the hardware store he completed his education culminating in a PhD in economics from the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Bob taught college in Nevada, Texas and Georgia before settling in Claremont, California where he taught at California State Polytechnic College in Pomona and owned an Income Tax business. In 1993 he married Dee Rocha Willard, retired and the couple returned to Cottonwood where they remained until his death. Bob and Dee enjoyed extensive traveling, hiking, dancing, duplicate bridge and being with friends.

Bob is survived by his wife, Dee Willard; daughter Cary Renee Willard (Dzung Nguyen) of San Diego, California and their children Christian and Donna; son Robert Brian Willard (Elizabeth) of Newport Beach, California and son Nicolas; and by his step-children David Rocha of Lorton, Virginia and son Matthew; Anita Rocha of Seattle, Washington; Andrea Strobel (Eric) of Cottonwood and children Austin, Brianna, Carina and Dawson; Tony Rocha of Anthem, Arizona and daughter Nicole; and Karl Rocha (Lorraine) of Las Vegas, Nevada. He is also survived by a sister, Meredyth Malone of Phoenix, Arizona.

Bob was predeceased by his first wife, Minnie and his sister Donna Willard Moser.

Donations in Bob’s honor may be made to the Verde Valley Sinfoniette, where he served on the Advisory Board: The Verde Valley Sinfonietta, P.O. Box 4672, Sedona, AZ 86340-4672.

Services will be held at 2:00pm on November 5 at Westcott Funeral Home, 1013 E. Mingus Ave. Cottonwood, Arizona. A reception will follow at the Willard home. For additional information contact Brian Willard at 714-642-6626.

An online guestbook is available at

Information provided by survivors.

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