Horace Marvin Willard September 27, 1920 – July 21, 2016

"Great soul winner finishes the race and is finally home with Jesus"

The graveside service will be held on Saturday, July 30th, 2016, at 11:00 A.M., at Gavilan Hills Cemetery in Gilroy, officiated by Dr. Don Phillips. A reception will follow. A Celebration of Life will be held at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, tentatively scheduled for August 27th, 2016, at 10:00 A.M.
 Horace Marvin Willard went peacefully home to the Lord, surrounded by family and friends on July 21st, 2016.
 Known as the “Layman who bragged on Jesus”, Horace Marvin Willard left a legacy of love to everyone who met him. Horace was a mentor and friend and touched thousands of lives all over California and the world.
 He came from humble beginnings in Marlow, OK where he helped work his family farm picking cotton, tending to livestock, milking cows, and various tasks associated with farming.
 Horace was the son of Martha (Maddie) Rogers and James Arthur Willard. He was the last living sibling of six brothers, two sisters; Tillman, Herman, Getty, Jess, Grace, Bill and Don.
 Moving to California at the age of 19, Horace met Mildred (Millie) Blankenship and later married her on March 22, 1941. They were married for 63 years, nine months and nine days, as he often shared with much pride.
 After arriving in California, he worked various jobs including silver mining, sheep herding, truck driving and building barracks for soldiers in World War II, which led him to a successful career in building homes as a contractor. While his profession was building homes (he built over 2000 in the Gilroy area), it was at the age of 29 Horace made the life-altering decision to become a Christian. After leading his first person to Christ in 1953, Horace soon realized he had a gift for teaching people the simplicity of sharing the gospel and became passionate about teaching people how to pray to accept Jesus in their hearts and has since led thousands of people to Christ.
 His life was a wonderful testimony of faith in action as he also had the joy of helping build First Baptist Church of Gilroy and later working closely with Saddleback’s telephone ministry, prison ministry, and missions. His book, “The Layman Who Brags on Jesus” published in 2000 tells his life story. In addition to his book, he has been filmed in recent years sharing his love for Christ.
 Leader, role model, loving father, grandfather, great- grandfather and most of all best friend and mentor to all those he came in contact with.
 Besides his passion for evangelism, Horace enjoyed water skiing, fishing, hunting, snorkeling in Hawaii, and traveling to much of the world.
 Horace was predeceased by his wife, Mildred (Millie, Nana) in 2004.
 He is survived by his loving companion, Grace Bench from Park Terrace of Rancho Santa Margarita, his two sons, Larry and Gary, their spouses, Shirley, Brenda, Karin, Robert and Xiuyan, his grandchildren; Taryn and Brett; Jon, Natalie and Matthew; Ronnie, Nicole, Markus and Christopher his great-grandchildren: Mykennah, Colton, Luke and Grace, Trevor, Chloe, Gavin and Jackson, Austin and Elijah. He was also survived by the thousands of people he considered as his spiritual family.
 Up until Horace’s final moments, he was still “bragging on Jesus”. He would often say, “You know youcan lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Well, you can give him some salt and you can sure make him thirsty! I’d just brag on Jesus and make people thirsty for God”.
 In our hearts, this amazing man we know as Horace, Dad, Papa, best friend and mentor will always be with us. In his memory, boldly share the love of Jesus Christ with someone today and tell them Horace sent you.

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