|Willard "Sonny" James Smith Jr.|
Willard James “Sonny” Smith Jr. was born on November 19, 1946 to Willard James Sr. and Wilma (Canady) Smith in Picher, Oklahoma. He departed life on this earth June 3, 2017 at his home in Pryor at the age of 70 years, 6 months and 15 days.
Sonny grew up and attended school in Picher, Oklahoma and graduated from Picher High School in 1965. After high school he was drafted in to the United States Army and served two years. Upon returning home from the Army he enrolled in college and in 1972 he graduated from Missouri Southern State University with a bachelor’s degree. In 1973 he joined the United States Air Force and served until 1977. He later went to work in Missouri as a teacher and coach for Mt. View Public Schools. On June 17, 1988 he married Debra Hughes and the couple made their home in West Plains, Missouri and lived there until coming to Pryor in 2008. Shortly after coming to Pryor he went to work for Pryor Public Schools as a teacher and coach at Lincoln Elementary. Sonny loved his job and all of his students that he taught and coached. He was a wonderful teacher and friend and his students loved him.
Sonny loved sports, especially Oklahoma University. He loved studying United States history and listening to music and had an extensive collection of all of his favorites artists. He also enjoyed to fish until he caught a 9 pound bass and decided to stop fishing. More than anything, his family was most important to him. He loved his kids and his grandkids. He treated Debra’s boys as if they were his own. He was a great guy and a friend to all who knew him. He will be deeply missed by all who loved him.
He is survived by his wife Debra, of the home; his children, Kim Buffalo, Brian J. Smith and Laurie Borland and husband Aaron all of Missouri; the mother of his children, Belinda Smith; other children, James C. Hunt of Joplin, Joseph Whister and wife Levana of Tyler, Texas, and Sheldon Hunt of Joplin; one sister Sandy McMinn of Neosho, Missouri; two brothers, Cleo Smith and Jimmy Smith both of Wyandotte; grandchildren Alyvia Hunt, Natalie Hunt, Ethan Buffalo, George Medina, Ashley Smith, Lauren Smith, Kenzie Smith, Lindsay Borland, Addison Borland and one great grandchild Allison Bottoroff.
He is preceded in death by his parents Willard James Sr. and Wilma, one sister Alice and one granddaughter Katelyn Smith.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Lincoln Elementary Physical Education Department in memory of Coach Smith. Please send via mail to 1635 South Elliot St. Pryor, OK 74361.
Funeral Services will be held Thursday June 8th at 2pm at the Stephens-Key Funeral & Cremation Care in Pryor Oklahoma.