Willie James McDaniel, well known as "Tator" passed from this life on Thursday, March 30, 2023, at Murfreesboro Nursing Center. The last farewell will be shared with family and friends at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 8, 2023, at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church with Rev. Richard Dixon, the eulogist, and Rev. BD Williamson, officiant. Public visitation will be from 1 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 7, 2023, at Williams Funeral Home. The interment will be at Pleasant Grove Cemetery.
“Tator” was born to Eddie Lee McDaniel and Odessa Woodbury McDaniel in Okolona, Arkansas on March 25, 1951, by a midwife. Willie was raised by his loving grandparents Willie Lee and Geneva McDaniel who loved him as their son. He accepted Christ and united with Pleasant Grove Baptist Church at an early age. Willie was a 1969 graduate of Okolona High School. Upon graduation, he worked at a sawmill in Murfreesboro, as well as other jobs. Willie enjoyed yard work; mowing and weed eating for others.
He was unique in his own way. He was also known for scrap ironing to Arkadelphia, Nashville, and Texarkana. Willie loved watching westerns and calling the small children “Bou-lee Bou-lee”. His favorite thing to do was go to Oaklawn for the horse races. When he became seriously ill, doctors shared with him that he was not going to be able to go to the “Track”. Willie’s response to the doctor was ” You telling me I can’t go to the horse races no more?”
Above all, Tator will be remembered for his independent spirit and his outgoing personality. He was preceded in death by his parents, Eddie Lee McDaniel and Odessa Woodbury; his grandparents, Willie Lee and Geneva McDaniel, and a brother, Billy Ray McDaniel.
Willie leaves two sisters, Brenda (Clarence) Marshall of St. Lake City, UT, and Wilhelmina McDaniel of Los Angeles, CA; two brothers, Kenneth (Brenda) McDaniel of Delight, AR, and Henry Lee McDaniel of Okolona, AR. He also leaves an uncle, Johnny Ray (Shirley) McDaniel of Okolona, AR, and an aunt, Barbara Ann Steward of CA; as well as, nieces, nephews, cousins, special friends, Jim Wingfield, Kevin Price, Darwin Hendrix, Calvin Gentry, and numerous other friends. Willie was special to D.A.O. community. Everybody loved Tator.
Pallbearers will be Kendall McDaniel, Channing McDaniel, Cam McDaniel, Derrick Beard, Remond Thomas and Corey Hunter. Honorable to mention are Bobby Wayne Dixon, John C McDaniel, Gregory McDaniel, Jason McDaniel, Calvin Ray Lee, and Johnny Ray McDaniel.