Larry Dean Willard passed away on February 24, 2021, at the age of 78. To honor his wishes, he will be cremated, and his remains will be laid to rest in Olney, Texas with his parents, Billie and Edgar Willard, and grandparents, Doc and Mary Willard.
Larry grew up in Roswell, N.M. His father, Edgar Willard, was a public schools administrator and his mother, Billie Willard, was a librarian.
Larry was born August 18, 1942, as the first son to Edgar and Billie Willard of Olney. He was a graduate of Roswell High School in 1960 and received his Business Administration degree from Eastern New Mexico University in Portals, N.M.
He went on to complete graduate school programs in banking and commercial lending at the University of Colorado and the University of Oklahoma.
Larry started his banking career in Portals while in college. He then moved to several cities in New Mexico, Kansas, Texas and Colorado, furthering his banking career. He ended his successful career with Wells Fargo Bank during the first part of 2000 in Albuquerque, N.M. While in Albuquerque, Willard was a former president of the UNM Board of Regents and chaired Albuquerque Economic Development and the Kirtland Partnership Committee. He also served on the boards of Downtown Action Committee, Kirtland AFB Retention Task Force, Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, Economic Forum of Albuquerque, Albuquerque Community Foundation, United Way of Central New Mexico, New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation, Boy Scouts, Governor’s Business Advisory Council, New Mexico Bankers Association, UNM Hospital Board of Trustees, UNM’s Anderson School of Management, Albuquerque Academy and Special Olympics New Mexico.
Willard endowed a number of Albuquerque libraries, including the Willard Reading Room at the University of New Mexico Zimmerman Library and the Gerald and Betty Ford Library at the Bosque School.
Larry Willard was described by friends as a visionary, mentor, philanthropist, an education and literacy advocate, an agent for change and a tireless civic leader.
After retiring from Wells Fargo, he continued his career with Hilltop Holdings in Denver, Co. and Dallas, Texas until 2009.
Larry chose to retire in Midland, Texas and Albuquerque for several years before settling at Manor Park’s Cottages for the final two years of his life.
He is lovingly remembered by his family including life partner, Andrea Willard; son, Mark; granddaughters, Katy and Hayle; son, Les (Susan); grandson, Zackery; granddaughter, Alexandrea; daughter, Risa (Clint); granddaughter, Madeline; grandson, Scout; son, Deke (Michelle); granddaughters, Dustyn and Taylin; and grandson, Tevin & Tylor; brothers, Fred and Ron Willard, and their families; several great-grandchildren and other family members and friends.