Olive Ann Willis went to meet her Lord and Savior on June 22, 2020 due to complications of stroke-related dementia. Olive Ann was born in Sikes, LA on November 15, 1936 to Jewel Geneva Abrams and Stanley James Smith, both of Sikes, LA. She was the oldest of their four children, and is survived by her three sisters, Sandra Sue Smith Williamson, Mary Ellen Smith, and Martha Jane Smith Jordan. Olive Ann graduated from Sikes High School in 1954 and went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Northwestern State College in 1957. She later met William Lawrence (Bill) Willis who became her husband on November 25, 1959.They were married 41 years when Bill preceded her in death.
Olive Ann’s career in education lasted 44 years and included service at the local, parish, regional and state levels. From a teacher at Sikes, she was promoted to the Chapter I Reading Supervisor for Winn Parish. Olive Ann spent eight years as the Supervisor of Elementary Education and retired from the Winn Parish School system as the Director of Elementary Programs. Following her retirement, she went to work for Northwestern State University as the Director for LEA-based Academic planning and a recruiter for the Graduate School. She later became a Regional Service Center Director for the Louisiana State Department of Education where she advised eight parishes in central Louisiana. Olive Ann left the State Department in 1996 to become the first woman and 18th Superintendent of Winn Parish Schools.
Olive Ann was honored many times throughout her career. She was awarded Educator of the Year by Northwestern State University and Outstanding Educator by Phi Delta Kappa. She served as President of Delta Kappa Gamma Society, President of the Northwestern Reading Council, President of Classroom Teachers of Winn Parish, and both President and Secretary of the Louisiana School Supervisors.
Olive Ann is a member of the First Baptist Church of Bernice, where she was a member of the Friendship Sunday School class. She is survived by her two children, Lawrence James (Larry) Willis and wife Kaye Francis Berry Willis of Sikes, LA and Laura Ann Willis Flurry and husband Phillip Dean Flurry of Bernice, LA, six grandchildren, Lacey Willis, Laura Elizabeth Willis, Larkin Alivia Flurry, Phillip Camron Flurry, Fallon Annalese Flurry, and Jillian Judy Flurry, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held at First Baptist Church in Bernice on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. followed by funeral services at 11:00 a.m. officiated by Bro. Michael McIntosh. A graveside service will then follow at the Garden of Memories in Winnfield, LA at 3:00p.m, under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home of Ruston.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.kilpatrickfuneralhomes.com.